I read a post where a guy expressed frustration that he had bought a drive which ‘did not support diagnostic scanning’ (it was an NEC), and now that he knew more about drives (from the forum), he will never buy an error-checking-incapable drive again.
That sounded like good advice. I have learned to read the PI/PIF charts being graciously posted here, and now know a good burn when I see it.
When someone says an NEC “does not support error checking”, does that mean it doesn’t come with error checking software, or does this mean you actually can only check the damn disk using a completely different (and supporting drive)? I think the answer is the latter, because come to think of it, my recollection is that many people are scanning their 3520A burns with a BenQ, but I (originally?) thought that was just because the BenQ was supposed to be a better reader.
Which drives come with error checking software? (I think Plextor 716A does, but considering one poster who had taken his 716A apart and said it was of the crappiest quality he’d ‘ever’ seen in a DVD recordable, and the stories of strange noises coming out of these drives, I think I’m gonna pass, despite the tempting overburning software!)
Are there (free) error checking softwares available?
I’m not an expert on Nero CD Speed, but it seems to not do any PI/PIF error checking. However it does seem to check the ‘ease’ with which a drive can read a disk. I know what the top (green) arcing line means (the speed of the drive over time), but I have never been able to figure out what the bottom (yellow, straighter) line means, due to bad labeling of the chart (didn’t their math teacher tell them that if a number’s not labeled, it doesn’t mean anything?). And of course, CD Speed is supported by all drives (including NEC).
I am confused over this “1 sheep”/“2 sheep” thing. I searched the archives, and this was the best discussion I could find on the subject, but it seemed to raise as many questions as it answered. Seems to be an ability to defeat a certain copy prevention scheme, affecting mostly backing up games? I want to be able to rip my audio CD’s to my computer. Others will want to be able to back up their DVD movies. If some of these error-checkable drives are better than others in that arena, I think it should be noted.
I might as well state that I am looking for 8x DVD+RW capability and 16x DVD+R capability (although some 12x writers seem to be as fast as 16x, depending on CAV/CLV,P-CAV, which I am not an expert on). DL speed is not important to me but should be mentioned in passing for other readers.
I also would like a drive which can READ WELL, as in being able to read older CD-R’s, crappy burns from other drives, and burned disks in general which may be fading (I don’t trust at all the “100 year lifespan” claims of disk mfr’s). After all, if you can’t read your data, what’s the use? I know some have multiple drives, but I want to AVOID that, please . The NEC 3520A seems from most accounts to be a bad “reader”, while many have touted BenQ’s reading ability.
Also, having a drive which is as quiet as possible is important to me.
I guess the last issue is overburning and custom firmwares (like to remove riplock, bitset [some bitset out-of-box], etc), which is somewhat important to me, but will probably be more important to lurkers/researchers. To me, having high quality burns in the first place is probably more important.
I know there have been a lot of “3520A or 716A?” and “Which burner should I buy?” type threads lately (which have been helpful to me), but I wanted to start a thread for only those drives which support PI/PIF checking, if I am on the right track. And since “what is the best burner?” questions are always answered by, “It depends on what you want to do”, the answers here will be a sharing of knowledge and features to let readers make up their own minds.
I know this is a lot (answer whatever you can), but those drives capable of 90+ minute CD-R burning (and how that is done), please list it. Also if the drive can’t get up to 48x CD-R burns, that’s worthy of note, too. Share whatever else you feel is important, too, of course.
Here are the drives I have been able to figure out (I think).
PI/PIF checking/diagnostic scanning support:
-BenQ 1620A - overspeed quality: great. standard speed writing: good to great. reading: great. (right?) Not a “2 sheep writer”. Apparently +R and +RW bitsetting out of box? No custom firmware yet, but that would only be to remove the (I think 10x?) riplock. Gaining notoriety and seems to be emerging as a winner to those who want good read and write quality with error checking capability and value.
-Plextor 716A. Reported crap build quality & QC/reliability/noise problems. Awesome software complement. Almost twice the cost of other comparable burners. Mixed results on scans. Decent modded firmware support. 8x+RW.
-LG 4163. Overspeed burning: okay. standard speed writing: great. “2 sheep writer”. bitsetting: +R, but not +RW. Riplock: yes, I think. No custom firmware, I think. Supports DVD-RAM (unimportant to most, very important to a few). Main drawback appears to be lack of error-checking capability.
-NEC (all… including 3500A, 3520A, and upcoming 3530A[?]).
3500A: “The” classic 16x burner (4x +RW), low-cost OEM, great burns, tons of firmwares, quiet, but no error checking. Now hard to impossible to find.
3520A: off to a rough start. Main advantage is 8x +RW. Actively-developing modded and even greatly-improved writing strategy firmware (thanks Dee-27 and Liggy, et al!), but still unproven, not a clear choice with many sketchy scan posts. Burns well at rated and underspeeds less than 16x, but whether it is really a 16x burner even with rated media still seems debatable. Bad factory firmware media code support.
3530A: not released yet, AFAIK. Some info on it in the archives, but looks like still no PI/PIF error checking capability.
Not sure where Pioneer falls into this, or if they are falling behind in the whole arena. Ditto on Lite-On, who does seem to be falling behind just from not seeing much discussion on them lately. Pretty noisy drives anyway in my experience.