Best DVD drive for backing up scratched dvds?

I have the NEC 3540. It’s notoriously bad for backing up scratched media. I’m trying to backup all my movies in case they get messed up. I’m having a hard time doing it though cause a lot of them have scratches.

I heard Lite-On makes the best drives for copying scratched media. I’m not looking for another burner, just a dvd drive for backing up. Is there a model # that can be recommended based only on that? I would also hope that there’s a modified firmware available for it to disable riplock


Are you looking for a DVD-ROM or a DVD-RW?

Traditionally I liked LiteOn for many things. It is rumoured to be the best reader, it is cheap and as a drive, it does what you tell it to do (it won’t be like "what you ask from me to do is illegal & therefore I don’t do it. If it can do it, it will do it). And there is no moaning about people moddifying their firmwares like it is with NEC.

I’ve owned the last 2 DVD-ROM drives from Lite On (167T & 16P9S). I don’t have any complains from either of them. The second is better for disc quality scanning. Speed-wise they both read at only 8x for recorded SL media, but there are modified firmwares available to unlock at whatever speed pleases you. In practice, they can read quality-burned SL media at 16x and DL at 12x without problems.

Oh BTW, there is no rip lock in Lite-On drives. The official firmware understands when you want to rip & rips full speed and when you watch a movie, it slows down. You patch the firmware only to increase the recorder media reading speed. (the site is overloaded half of the times)

I like my Liteon 1635S burner best for this. It seems to cope far better than any of my other opticals.
Being a burner it’s also a very good quality scanner, something that a DVD-ROM will never do properly.

I agree. LiteOn burners are the best able to cope with scratched discs.

Ok. So the Lite-On 16P9S gets the vote?

why would it read better because it also burns?

A DVD-ROM cannot do disk quality scanning properly which many of us feel is important. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t read as well as a burner.

I guess for a DVD-ROM then the 16P9S is a very good choice. However, I’d go for the burner so I could do accurate scanning and also it’ll burn some media better than the NEC and vice versa. Gives you more flexibility.

I would have to go along with what TimC said. An NEC burner for burning media and Lite-On burner for ripping and scanning make a good combination.
With this combination, you also have the Lite-On for burning media the NEC doesn’t support so well.

what’s the difference between scanning and reading?


Scanning is when a burner reads the disc for PIE and PIF errors. Liteon, BenQ and Plextor drives support this. Other drives can accomplish this but they are inconsistent or have problems with comparison or reading PIE.

Reading is generally considered to be the process of actually reading the disc and copying the data. In the past, BenQ drives were considered the best readers of damaged media. Lately I have found that my AOpen will read some discs that the BenQ has problems with. Often these are not scratches but CRC errors. It is really hard to make a generalized statement about the best reader. I have 10 different burners and 4 different ROM drives and I am always surprised at which drive will finally be able to read a problem disc.

I would make your purchase based on the features and quality of the burner. The more drives you have, the better chances you will be able to read a problem disc. Adding a drive just because you hope it will be a better reader will leave you wanting. Buying something because it adds to your burning ability will get you something for your money. If you want to scan, you should get a Liteon.