Any tips for buying DVD writer and media?

Hi everyone.

I’m curretly looking for my first DVD-RW drive. Whilst looking on ebuyer i can see approx 30 drives, all 16x & dual-layer for between £35-£45. I know it’s good to have a choice, but i’m a little overwhelmed by the amount on the market. :confused:

Price isn’t that important, i just wondered which brand/model is the most reliable and not produce too many coasters. If a few people could give me a little ‘guidance’ it would be appreciated! :slight_smile:

When copying a dvd film to use in a dvd player, which is best + or -? I take it they both have individual pro’s and con’s. If anyone knows a website or link that could give me more information i would be eternally grateful. (Any advice/warnings on brands of media also appreciated :wink: )

This thread is for you.

I’d say the best writers for general purpose burning are the NEC 3500, Pioneer 108 and LG 4160.

If you are exclusively burning movies then the BENQ DW-1620 with a bunch of +R media is more appropriate because the drive has native bitsetting support. (For best compatibility, +R with bitsetting is the media and burning method of choice.)

See Also: Explanation of bitsetting

As to good media, finding this stuff is a black art. If it is from Taiyo Yuden or Mitsubishi then it is good. If it says Made in Japan or Made in Singapore, it is good. If it says Made in Taiwan, well, life is a box of chocolates. :stuck_out_tongue: There is tonnes of reading about this in the media forum.

And when asking about media, make sure you specify the country where you live, because the availability of good media changes from nation to nation.


If i’m reading it right, you’ve got the NEC. NEC also come highly recommended in the poll (46%) so i’ll probably get one of theirs.

Not sure what bitsetting is, but i’ll have a look and see if i can get my head round it.

As for the media, i live in the UK

Thanks again

As to the votes in that poll, there are plenty of ballot stuffers so the totals don’t mean much. I suggest you actually read the comments as opposed to going by the vote totals because you will get a much better picture as to the advantages and disadvantages of each drive.

Knowing about bitsetting is very important if you want to make or back up movies, so it’s good that you are trying to understand it.

There is no way to bitset on a NEC 3500 without breaking your warranty, so that’s one reason to go for the BENQ.

I am about to order the NEC 3500. The thing that swayed me over the Benq DW-1620 was the fact the NEC did DL at 4x, compaired with 2.4x of Benq. (Spec wise, am i right in thinking that apart from DL speeds, these two drives are the same spec?)

I understand the bitsetting stuff, just 2 questions…

  1. Where do i get the hacked firmware for the NEC drive? (Bitsetting & riplock)
  2. With the firmwares installed is bitsetting simple to apply?

yes using binflash tool

if you want some decent media you cant go far wrong with these [fujis](

Thanks for the post. I managed to find a link to the dangerous brothers site, which also has hacked firmware for the 3500 as an exe file. I take it i only need one firmware, because they all do the same job?

As for the media, i’ve been reading some drives can burn faster than the media lets them. Can i do this on the 3500? Do i need another firmware? Can the fuji’s be burnt faster than 8x?

Forgive all the questions, but i’m new to all this


you can get very good results at 16X with thouse 8X fuji`s check out this thread in particular this post

From firmware B7P9 on the Benq 1620 supports 4x speed with DVDR+ DL media. Maybe you could take that in consideration too.


The speeds look good. Last question… i promise! :slight_smile:

Do i have to install her firmware to get upto 16x?



i think you can still get 16X with stock f/w, but for me modded f/w is best. do you have a drive that can test for pie/pif`s? then you could compare your results with the stock f/w.

Complete newbie… no idea what pie/pif’s means.

I’ve got Nero 6 (inc CD-DVD speed) but I don’t really understand what all those graphs mean. Are they created when you write a DVD?

pie/pifs = parity inner errors/parity inner failiers, the nec 3500 cant test these yet you`ll need a liteon, plextor or benq dvd burner for this. but you can do the speed transfer rate test and error checks using your 3500 and nero cd/dvd speed. if you use decent media and get a nice curve with transfer rate test and the disc plays ok then you should be ok.

you can read up on cd/dvdspeed here