Regarding the “hardware technicians”, I’m referring to articles/tests performed by reputed professionals over here who analyze hardware for some of our magazines (i.e. PC Today, Computer HOY, etc.), and a couple of PC Clinic technicians at PC CITY (Dixons Group).
The units tested were original BTC’s, Memups, EMPREX’s (like mine), Gigabyte, and a couple of other OEM versions. They were basically tested against the LG-4040B DVD±RW unit (which also supports DVD-RAM 3x burning).
The units were tested basically for DVD recording, but the 40x CDR recording feature of the units were also analyzed.
From what I recall, the following issues were praised:
a) The unit’s silence.
b) Its price.
c) Easy-to-locate firmware upgrades.
d) Packaging and bundled software/DVD+RW.
The issues that were negatively criticized:
a) Very, very picky regarding the type of DVD media that is 100% compatible ()
b) Quite picky with cheaper CDR media ()
c) Superlink misbehaves sometimes (on cheaper media only), sometimes using 2 different strategies (on NERO) ()
d) Other DVD±RW units don’t even require a media compatibility list. They’ll simply default to 1x/2x on certified 4x media if it’s not included in the firmware’s database and burn slower but correctly (some sort of safe-mode). I am perfectly aware, though, that the media used in Asia can differ quite a lot from what we end up receiving here in Europe. Perhaps using cheap Kung-Fu DVD+R and Bruce-Lee DVD-R and Jackie-Chan CDR media made in Hong Kong this drive is just excellent. Who knows?
() Compatibility not only with regard to proper 1x, 2x or 4x detection and burning, but also with regard to the legibility on stand-alone DVD units and DVD-ROM units of supposed-to-be 100% correctly-burned DVDs.
() On most cheaper media, it is quite normal for the burner to slow down after about 60%/70% of completion, but in the case of the BTC, when this occurs, you can physically see where this has occured on the CD because the laser ofter turns off and on, or at least one can see darker and lighter shades on the media, so btc1959 does have a point. BTW, I’ve experienced this too.
() The two possible strategies are:
a) RAM buffer drops to 50%, stays there, and the recorder simply fills and empties the unit’s 2MB buffer repeatedly until the burning process is through. The burning process is continuous and doesn’t stop.
b) RAM buffer and memory buffer drop, once the RAM buffer is zero, the memory buffer stays at 20-30%, the unit stops, and the RAM buffer is filled again, and the recording continues.
Well… sometimes the strategy is decided on the fly by the drive, usually based on the media type, file type, etc. but I believe it isn’t performed 100% correctly.
Oh, BTW, I have noticed a slight occasional problem… when writing the lead-out on CDR (even on good media), the process takes forever. The only cure is hitting the eject button and Nero then informs that the burn has been successful. The burnt media is 100% legible, but it sometimes doesn’t receive the “halt” or “finished” instruction via software.
I am quite aware that laser intensity is firmware regulated. I moderate a hardware/firmware forum (though more motherboard-specific). I might have been too harsh in another thread when I mentioned that perhaps the firmware needed to be redone from scratch. Perhaps Superlink isn’t the most appropriate buffer-underrun prevention scheme for this drive’s hardware… maybe licensing Ricoh’s Justlink might solve a lot of problems; I simply don’t know.
Is the DRW1008IM’s firmware based on the DRW1004IM’s? Has it been made from scratch? (the latter option isn’t very typical nor cost-efficient in industry). If the latter applies, though, it might be worth adapting it to the 1004’s (with minor castration here and there, of course, so we don’t get to “overclock” it to 8x ) and perhaps come up with a totally new firmware kernel for the 1004.
When using very expensive and very good media, these problems simply disappear. But why would someone buy an inexpensive writer with BTC’s excellent reputation, if he’d then have to spend a lot of money on expensive media?
This is just like the dilemma when buying a new car. Gasoline or Diesel? Considering the same yearly mileage (or amount of media one plans to burn), a gasoline car (BTC) is cheaper, but the fuel more expensive in the long run (expensive media + coasters). A diesel car instead (LG, Plextor, etc.) is a lot more expensive, but cheaper in the long run (any media and very few coasters).
I just want to add that I’m keeping my BTC burner, and giving BTC my full support and loyalty, even if currently not too satisfied with the unit as of now. What’s helping me stick to BTC is people like Marco who is voluntarily helping all of us, and not getting paid for this extra work (are you? )
I want to help make this burner as good as the most expensive model. That’s what this forum is all about, that’s what Marco’s here for, and that’s why we’re all participating here.
Thanks again, Marco.