This has baffled me ever since A1 appeared end 2006 , especially the apparent discrepancy between individual drives and even scans on the same drive. On the forum, I see examples of both types of 8X scans, those starting with abnormal error counts and those consistent with 4X scans. Things seem to have improved with A4 (and also newer A1) drives, but the issue is still apparent, even if to a lesser extent.
When I got my current 18A1H in January 2007 (after having dismissed two “raucous” 18A1P’s ), I was initially pretty happy with it being quieter and smoother than those first two units. Over time however I still found it to be an unrefined drive, although this is something very difficult to pin down. At times it’s been very noisy and resonant, in recent months however it seems to be quieter again. Just for the record, I don’t think I’ve burned more than 50 DVD and done more than 100 scans with it, although it’s been flashed and crossflashed dozens of times, had its suspension stiffened with washers (removed again) and lens cleaned a couple of times. My initial satisfaction with the drive was paired also with some nice 8X speed scans it returned on the first burns, but very soon (and that’s in a matter of weeks) disappointment set in with bad 8X scans and poor mechanical refinement.
That’s a bit of background. What I’ve done now is take out some of those very first burns (which have been sat in the original spindle all this time) and re-scanned them in the same configuration (8X speed, firmware and CDSpeed version). Now what can make a brand new drive return those perfect 8X scans and make it lose that ability very soon afterwards ? My EEPROM backup dates from the time of the “good” scans and has been restored on several occasions, but never giving back the drive its clean 8X scanning ability. This is so frustrating .
Scans coming up (original scan first, re-scan second):