Best Choice for only DVD drive?

I’m trying to choose a new DVD writer for my brother’s PC. He’s had an NEC 3520A which was replaced by a 4550A, both of which developed reading problems after about 11 months. It’s inconvenient more than anything, because I get a refund of the price I paid, so I can buy a new drive for him and have some cash left over :cool:

Anyway, his desktop case only has room for one optical drive so I’m looking for a drive that meets the following criteria, in priority order:

  1. Excellent reader (CD and DVD)
  2. Produces good burns (CD and DVD)
  3. Bitsetting
  4. Region Free
  5. Riplock

I’m aware that 3-5 will require hacked firmware, so the question is only whether such firmware is available for a certain drive. I only rate Region Free below Bitsetting because I know he can use something like AnyDVD if necessary.

I’m considering external options as well as internal, as I’m thinking that the NEC drives might have developed problems due to heat, so perhaps an external drive will last longer. Obviously, if he gets an external drive, he’ll still have room in the case for another drive but he wouldn’t want to buy that now, but if in the future (outside the warranty period) the external drive starts having problems reading, he’ll have the option to get a read-only drive.

Speed isn’t really important, as his PC is only really up to burning at 8x anyway, although I guess that might change with an external drive.

I’ve seen the external LG GSA-E20N which looks very interesting because it provides a video input for the PC, which I think my brother would find useful. I’d need to order him a USB2 card as well, because his PC only has USB1 ports, but that’s only an extra fiver or so. Nonetheless, if this drive doesn’t meet 1) and 2) then it’s of no use.

Other options I’m considering are the Pioneer 111 or the Samsung SAM-S182D. I’ve ruled out the Liteon 165H6S/Sony DWG120ABC as I’ve read it’s a poor CD burner.

So what do you think? Is there another drive that I’ve missed that would fit the bill? Also, if I go the external route, are there certain chipset’s on USB2 cards I should go for/avoid? The PC is a HP Vectra VL400 which has an Intel based motherboard but I can’t recall the exact chipset.

[B]1)[/B] LiteOn, Samsung. (Pioneer, LG, NEC are less good.)
[B]2)[/B] LG, Pioneer, Samsung, LiteOn. (Good CD burns only: NEC.)
[B]3)[/B] LiteOn, Samsung, LG. (Firmware mod required: Pioneer, NEC…)
[B]4)[/B] LiteOn. (Firmware mod required: LG, Pioneer, Samsung, NEC…)
[B]5)[/B] LiteOn. (Drives from other manufacturers may require firmware mods.)

This list may be incomplete or inaccurate and reflects my personal opinion only.

If you want an all-in-one drive, I would recommend the LiteOn LH-(18/20)A1(P/H) series. The burning quality is ok, but it has almost everything, from bitsetting and quality scans to a learning mode.

Benq 1640, 1650, or 1655.

Agreed, but not worth recommending anymore due to the fact they are almost impossible to find except on Ebay, making it a gamble.

Thanks for the list. As long as it can burn discs that work in CD and DVD players OK, I’m sure my brother will be happy.

My first optical drive was a SCSI Liteon CD writer (still got it lying around somewhere) and I loved it. Always read/ripped anything I gave it.

Thanks for the suggestion scoobiedoobie.

Thanks for the warning kentb53. I don’t really buy electronics off ebay anyway, unless it’s something hard to find that I need or a mega bargain. Makes me laugh to see people paying MORE for something than they could get it for from a proper online company with a full warranty :rolleyes:

I got a 34" Sony Trinitron HD NTSC CRT TV for £80 recently. I had to take a friend to pick it up fairly locally and it nearly killed us both getting into my first floor flat (well, I gave up in exhaustion before we even got to the stairs and had to pay a bloke from the corner shop £20 to do my carrying, being the weak and feeble geek that I am), but it looks great and I’m well chuffed with it. :bigsmile:

BenQs are old hats and very overrated (IMO).
It’s not always an excellent reader and requires hacked firmware for RPC1. :slight_smile:

Well what is the most important requirement for a DVD [I][B]writer[/B][/I]?

I don’t think it’s reading ability or RPC1 ability either… otherwise you may aswell purchase the best reader if you want those abilities as priority.

As [B]doveman[/B] requires one drive only, and his prioritys are reading rather than writing ability, Samsung is an alternative to the overrated (IMO) Lite-ONs (both are mediatek chipset based)

This is rather old (Intel 815) box so a BenQ drive or a Litey SHM-165x6 would be an excellent choice. [DW1650, DW1655 are still available, btw, the best 16x burners ever built. :bigsmile:]

When choosing external route I would suggest Litey SHM-165P6[B]SX[/B] or equal.
Be happy if you get good 12x burns with add-on PCI-USB2 card.

Where in US? ZZF, Frys, OOS.

To be fair, kg_evilboy was replying in a thread where I’d asked for recommendations for a drive that’s a very good reader and good writer.

I do need the drive to be a good writer. It’s just that burning at 8x is fine and I’m not bothered if it doesn’t burn discs that produce the very best scans, as long as they work in DVD players OK.

What is it about the Samsung that makes you think it fits the bill better than the LITEON?

Pioneer 111 with the Buffalo firmware. Of my 10 drives, the Pioneer does the best job on the widest variety of quality media.

Pioneer 111 with the Buffalo firmware. Of my 10 drives, the Pioneer does the best job on the widest variety of quality media.

As a reader, Samsung drive SH-S182D is very good, possibly better than Lite-ON in this respect. As for writing performance, it seems to be acceptable, much like Lite-ON in that aspect (If you are using consumer drive results to evaluate writing quality at least).

Something you may have to consider is wether modern 18x/20x writers will write with the same quality at 8x as they would at the speeds they are more likely to be optimized for with 16x media.

Can I ask why you recommend that LITEON drive rather than the LH-(18/20)A1(P/H) series that kg_evilboy suggests. I know that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the faster speeds but they’re the same price and the LH-18A1P has some extra features, such as SmartWrite

Hmm, I just realised I said in my first post that I’d ruled out the 165H6S due to it being a poor CD burner (only going by comments elsewhere on this forum). Does anyone agree/disagree with this and would the LH18A1P be any different?

Thanks for expanding on your recommendation. I take your point about 18x/20x writers burning at 8x, but I imagine that could also apply to 16x writers as well.

The refund’s come through for the broken NEC now, so I’ve got to make a decision pretty soon. The pressure, the pressure…

Are you talking about writing AND reading?

I note in this thread:

there are some comments (#34 in particular) suggesting that the Liteon 165P6S can be rather picky about media when burning. I’ve also read that the LH-(18/20)A1P series are very noisy.

I think I’ll look into the Samsung a bit more, although I may come back to the 165P6S if I can determine what media it likes (although I’m having trouble locating a supplier with any stock). My brother’s not particularly knowledgeable about media and often just buys packs of discs from the market, which he never really had any problems with on the NEC. I do try and encourage him to buy discs from somewhere reputable like SVP and I’m sure he’d listen to me if he found he was wasting money buying discs that don’t work very well on the 165P6S

Well, all the recent LiteOns have a learning mode (HyperTuning, Online HyperTuning) so this may be what you’re looking for. :slight_smile:

Just found this thread, which suggests the Samsung has some PSU issues and might need a capacitor fitting, which would rule this out for my brother.

I should mention that the writer will have to share the secondary IDE with a hard drive (unless I go with an external drive) in case that matters.