Beyond the Fanboy

Okay, I’ve spent days going over the different reviews on cdfreaks and other sites, and four hours in this forum alone reading about the different burners, and still I haven’t been able to come to any conclusions about which DVD writer is best for me. Too often I hear people saying things like “BenQ is the best optical drive on the market today,” “I love my NEC,” and the ever enthusiastic but supremely unhelpful “Lite-on all the way! W007!” I’ve heard about problems with NEC drives and cheap media and firmware, promblems with BenQs dieing in the tower, and Lite-Ons just being praised for no specific reason I can find. If anyone can give me an unbiased opinion of these models as they relate to my drive-writing needs, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Models to chose from:

[li]BenQ DW1640
[/li][li]Lite-On SOHW-1693S
[/li][li]NEC ND-3540
[/li][li]Samsung TS-H552U

Here is what I need it to do:
Copy Protection Circumvention: I need my drive to be able to get around copy protection. It doesn’t need to be able to do it all on its own, but if there are protections that require hardware capabilities to circumvent, I want those capabilities. I will be backing up (by writing the image to HD, then mounting/direct burning. I’ll have one DVD burner and no ROM) PC games and DVD movies, as well as some PS2 titles.

Region Flexibility: I have access to a pilot who frequently has access to DVDs from around the world. I also have relatives who live in Europe (I live in North America). As a result, I have DVDs from China, Russia, France, and elsewhere. I need to be able to switch regions frequently. If this ability comes via a hacked firmware, I have no problems with voiding my warranty, so long as there is extensive documentation on the backup/flashing process for the drive and good hacked firmware.

*Note: The first two points are the most important considerations I have.

DVD+RW 4X Compatibility: I’d like good compatibility with media. Hong Kong is the best place to get cheap media so far as I’m concerned. However, I will move to costlier, local options if necessary.

NOT DIE: I won’t be doing a lot of burning, so I expect it to last for at least three years. I don’t care if its “outdated” long before this time, and I will probably use it for much longer than this if it lasts (7+ years). Of course when it comes to copy protection I don’t expect the drive to still be viable.

Things I’m not as concerned about:
Speed: It can take all day to write the darn disk if it wants. So long as it doesn’t completely tie up my computer, makes a good burn, and fall in line with my first two points.

Again, any help would be appreciated. Thank you all,


Comp specs:
CPU Type: AMD Athlon XP, 2166 MHz (13 x 167) 2700+
Motherboard Name: AOpen MK77M-8XN
OS: Windows XP Pro
RAM: 479MB (Integrated Video/Audio)

Somehow I imagined a boy with a 14-inch fan on his head.

Is there something wrong with my post? I’m sure I gave all the relevent information. Does someone want to point out what I did wrong?

Welcome to CDF:

No you did nothing wrong. Just some of Kenshins’ humor.

Most discussions on CDFreaks optical forums are related to speed and quality. I personally am not interested in copy protection and region codes. The drives you listed are all very recent models of 16x speed DVD burners. You didn’t mention compatibility with some 16x DVD media.

About copy protections, look for related information on CDFreaks reviews and scattered forum threads here and there. I can’t remember anything even if I read somewhere. About region codes, probably has everything for you. Hong Kong probably has some good DVD+RW 4x disks so that won’t be a big problem. Virtually all DVD writers have years of lifetimes (or MTBFs) and you don’t seem to be going to write like 100 or more DVD disks at 16x everyday.

Start from the reviews.

Can’t take more than an hour if you selectively read what you need.

I have a peculiar sense of nonsense. :iagree:

The latest and greatest seems to be the BenQ 1640. It is the best reviewed burner that I have seen (see links below). I just bought one to go with my old NEC 3500 (which I love) and am very happy with it. I think all the burners you mention will do what you ask, however, they will all need a decryptor to circumvent copy protection, I suggest Anydvd for that or DvdDecryptor.
From cdfreaks review: To sum it all up, this is the best we could say: “An unpolished diamond, the drive performs excellent in almost every area and offers features that really puts it ahead of the competition” We will probably never find a perfect drive, but this drive is among the better if not the best drive we have reviewed and we hand out our “Editors Choice” award to it.

Thanks for the welcome rolling56, and the replies ricoman and Kenshin :slight_smile: I read the review for the BenQ 1640 again, and it says it is a two sheep burner. How does its ability to correct EFM encoding of regular bit patterns compare to the Lite-on 1693s? Also, between the BenQ 1640 and the Lite-On 1630s, which one is easier to flash to RPC1?

i. Lite-On CD-RW/DVD-RW drives has always been good when it comes to dealing with copy protected discs. But BenQ will also handle this, maybe not as good as Litey’s.
Regarding “how to correct EFM encoding” there isn’t a problem for these drives because you can enable "amplify weak sectors” option in CloneCD. This is a software trick to make most writers able to backup most Safedisc protected games with weak sectors.

ii. Firmware flashing is not rocket science, rpc1 firmware is flashed in same manner as any other.