Burner selection - am I missing anything?

vbimport

#1

Hi all. I’m a n00b posting here, but I’ve been a silent reader in the past. Based on the activity in this forum I purchased my BenQ DW1640 (now BSRB) back in 2005 and I love it.

It’s come up that some family members plus myself are thinking about new drives. I’ve read several reviews, done some searches, and tried to read the proper threads here but I’m always worried that something slips through the cracks or that I don’t fully understand something I read.

My common writable media: TYG03, MCC02RG20, MKMsomething +DLs, TY or TDK CD-Rs

Possibly: YUDENT02 or T03

My uses:

  • general reading - installing software, playing pressed and burned DVDs, AVI playback, playing purchased games w/SecuROM
  • ripping DVD and DAE
  • general burning - downloads, backups, etc…
  • archival burning - precious, irreplaceable photo/video content gets burned to TYG03 and MCC02RG20, scanned and stored separately.
  • scanning - all of the archives are scanned with CD-DVD Speed PI/PIF, printed and taped to the back of the jewel case

Future use?:

  • burning photo content DVDs for clients

Things I like:

  • devices that work like they should
  • excellent burn results with my media
  • scan capability, 1ECC would be nice
  • trustworthiness and ability to read damaged discs
  • multi-speed operation - not spinning at full speed to playback a compressed AVI video for instance
  • “supported” devices - firmware updates instead of just EOLing and selling a new drive in 3 months
  • no riplock
  • support for software and tweaks - bitsetting, sheep rating, scanning, hard-coding max spin speed (if it moves to a HTPC in its next life), overburn
  • leaning towards SATA but it isn’t required
  • leaning towards Litescribe if there are no downsides
  • I don’t need the latest/fastest/greatest/newest but it should be current
  • I want it to last

Things I don’t need:

  • ability to burn well to cheap crap media - this is nice to have and would benefit others more than me - I only use good media. I would not give up scanning, for example, to be able to burn good Princos.

I don’t make a hobby out of this soft of thing and only intend to have one burner in my main PC at a time. I do, however, value the input of those that are really “into” this.

I’ve been looking at

  • Samsung SH-S203x
  • LiteOn LH-20A1x
  • BenQ DW1800 (but I have nowhere to buy it)
  • Pioneer 115 or 212
  • keep the DW1640 (that doesn’t help family, and I’ve had some issues burning DL and have read posts where people say the 1640 is too ancient and a drive upgrade might be required for good results)

The Lite-On seems a good choice for some things (1ECC etc…) but there are complaints of loud operation. The Samsung gets the best review here (editor’s choice) but there’s currently a thread where there is loud complaining about DL burn quality and an expectation that there will never be a firmware update issued before the drive is obsolete.

Because I’m not as active as some, I worry that I’ve missed 1ECC vs. 8ECC vs. no scanning issues, or a critical MKM DL burning issue or something I would regret down the road. Most vendors near me that have exactly the drives I want have more restrictive return policies so I’m not just going to try-and-return. I want to nail this the first time.

I welcome any and all input from the experts.
Thanks,


#2

If you want to scan that narrows it down to LiteOns and Samsung drives(out of your choices). Neither scan CDs well, but the Samsung 203B will burn CDs very well(LiteOns will not generally). LiteOns scan DVDs with jitter, Samsung 203B does not. Both LiteOns and current Samsungs are excellent readers. I’d take any of my LiteOns DVD burning quality wise over my 203B. As far as DL burning quite a few people swear by LiteOns for DL burning, personally I’ve mainly used my Pioneer so I can’t really say conclusively for either drive. If scanning weren’t a factor I’d say go with a Pioneer. The new NEC drives aren’t widely available yet and their scanning abilities don’t appear to be as good on DVDs(should scan CDs ok though), but they might suit you better if available. Oh and the Benq 1800 is a rebadged LiteOn if you didn’t know.


#3

@ Surly,

Welcome to the Forum.

My two cents of suggestions – Keep your BenQ DW-1640 and use it as your Disk Quality Scanning Device and purchase a Pioneer DVR-115D and Cross Flash it to a DVR-A15-J.

Regards,
bjkg


#4

[QUOTE=bjkg;2021956]@ Surly,

Welcome to the Forum.

My two cents of suggestions – Keep your BenQ DW-1640 and use it as your Disk Quality Scanning Device and purchase a Pioneer DVR-115D and Cross Flash it to a DVR-A15-J.

Regards,
bjkg[/QUOTE]
He did say he’d like to have only one drive installed though.
If it’s just about having it in the computer you could always put one of them in an external enclosure though.


#5

@chaosoffar2k: Wow, that news kind of stinks. I understand that choosing a burner is choosing a compromise but it seems like no one makes a ‘no regrets’ drive at the moment. I looked at the mini-review of the Lite-On

http://www.cdfreaks.com/reviews/Lite-On-LH-20A1S-DVD-Burner-Mini-Review/CD-R_RW-Writing-performance.html

…and I only see excellent CD burning results. The way you’ve phrased the CD writing performance turns me off of LiteOn but it seems to be a better fit in most of the other ways. Do you have any links or material I should look at other than the mini-review that you used to form your opinion? By the way, your type of summary is an excellent example of why I posted - thank you.

Also, what’s your basis for the Pioneer recommendation? Is it better at everything I want other than scanning? My dad, for instance, may never care about scanning (he doesn’t even know what it means right now) so would a Pioneer truly be better for him in this case? He admittedly uses more questionable media unintentionally while trying to pick out good media at big box stores. (ie. he’ll buy Maxell but not realize that he’s picked up something that isn’t Maxell inside, or he’ll mix up “Maxell” and “Memorex”). I’m trying to steer him to TY.

@all:
I’ll admit to everyone that I know squat about re-badging and cross-flashing (I know what they are, but I know none of the details of specific models). What do I get from DVR-A15-J crossflashing? Google says PureRead and PowerRead, but someone else says that the 115 doesn’t have the hardware to actually perform those functions… (?)

Generally, I’d rather pick one drive that suits my needs instead of keeping the 1640 installed but the recommendation is welcomed and a Pioneer may be the way to go.

Thanks so far,


#6

Scanning aside, LG and Samsung make excellent “no regrets” drives IMO. I’m also very happy with my Pioneer 115D since, like my Samsungs, it’s very good on a wide range of media, not just top-notch stuff like TY and Verbatim. :wink:


#7

@ Surly,

Using Media Code Speed Edit (http://club.cdfreaks.com/f87/mediacodespeededit-support-pioneer-dvd-writers-153213) to patch the DVR-A15-J Firmware with Increase read Speed/RPC-1 (Region Free)/Enable BitSetting patches and using DVRFlash v2.5 (http://club.cdfreaks.com/f87/dvrflash-2-5-released-240942) to patch DVR-A15-J Firmware to DVR-115D enables LabelFlash and DVR-RAM Read/Write.

Having two DVD Burners installed in one computer doesn’t pose any configuration problems. As a matter of fact I have a BenQ DW-1640 and a Pioneer DVR-115D (CrossFlashed to DVR-A15-J) currently installed in one of computers.

Unfortunately there isn’t ONE DVD Burner that meets your Scanning and Burning Quality criteria. The BenQ DW-1640 is one of the better Disk Quality Scanners available. It cost you absolutely nothing to keep your BenQ DW-1640 installed in your computer and use it as your Disk Quality Scanner. The Pioneer DVR-115D CrossFlashed to DVR-A15-J is one of the better DVD Burners available burning the particular DVD Media you have mentioned in your #1 posting in this thread.

As previously stated having two DVD Burners installed in one computer doesn’t pose any configuration problems. Keeping your BenQ DW-1640 installed as your Disk Quality Scanner and installing another DVD Burner similar the Pioneer DVR-115D in my opinion is the way to go and meets your Disk Quality Scanning and Quality Media Burning requirements.

Regards,
bjkg


#8

[QUOTE=Surly;2021970]@chaosoffar2k: Wow, that news kind of stinks. I understand that choosing a burner is choosing a compromise but it seems like no one makes a ‘no regrets’ drive at the moment. I looked at the mini-review of the Lite-On

http://www.cdfreaks.com/reviews/Lite-On-LH-20A1S-DVD-Burner-Mini-Review/CD-R_RW-Writing-performance.html

…and I only see excellent CD burning results. The way you’ve phrased the CD writing performance turns me off of LiteOn but it seems to be a better fit in most of the other ways. Do you have any links or material I should look at other than the mini-review that you used to form your opinion? By the way, your type of summary is an excellent example of why I posted - thank you.

Also, what’s your basis for the Pioneer recommendation? Is it better at everything I want other than scanning? My dad, for instance, may never care about scanning (he doesn’t even know what it means right now) so would a Pioneer truly be better for him in this case? He admittedly uses more questionable media unintentionally while trying to pick out good media at big box stores. (ie. he’ll buy Maxell but not realize that he’s picked up something that isn’t Maxell inside, or he’ll mix up “Maxell” and “Memorex”). I’m trying to steer him to TY.

@all:
I’ll admit to everyone that I know squat about re-badging and cross-flashing (I know what they are, but I know none of the details of specific models). What do I get from DVR-A15-J crossflashing? Google says PureRead and PowerRead, but someone else says that the 115 doesn’t have the hardware to actually perform those functions… (?)

Generally, I’d rather pick one drive that suits my needs instead of keeping the 1640 installed but the recommendation is welcomed and a Pioneer may be the way to go.

Thanks so far,[/QUOTE]There’s multiple threads in the LiteOn forum about their burners being lousy with CDs, although you might be ok with TY CDs. The issue with LiteOns and CDs seems to be jitter and playback related, neither of which seem to be tested in the review. Pioneers tend to do well with whatever media you throw at them, a Pioneer or LG should do well with CDs in addition to DVDs and DL. Generally Pioneer don’t have any major issues or at least fixes them, LiteOn has had CD issues for awhile and Samsung has pretty well ignored some issues in the past.


#9

Thanks for another round, all.

My desire to have one burner is not a worry about configuration or compatibility. It’s more an efficiency, franken-system thing. I’m keeping a system with certain size, power, heat, bay, slot factors and I’m trying to keep things simple®. I also may want to redeploy the 1640 in my server/DVR for instance. As I said, it’s a good point and I might consider an external USB chassis that comes out for scanning assuming I can find a solution that works well without compatibility problems, delayed write errors and other WinXP stupidity. OTOH you may have all talked me into sticking it out with my DW1640. If only I could make fewer DL coasters (which only show themselves as coasters during a full PIF scan but somehow verified fine using burning software verify mode). Right now I don’t trust my DL media half as far as I can throw it. AFAIK I have a great burner and I’m using top notch DL media MKM001.

Keep in mind also that I’ve also been asked to recommend drives for others, and they don’t currently have a DW1640 or anything decent necessarily. One person has a PX-708A though, and loves to fill their system with as much stuff as possible (ie. every HD on the shelf is installed even if there’s no data on it). I’m sure they’d like to keep their PX-708A, DVD-ROM and whatever new burner they buy all installed for scanning lol.

@chaosoffar2k: Thanks for the specific points on CDs, I’ll take a look. It’s unfortunate that that isn’t covered in the review. Does that mean standalone playback compatibility may suffer in particular? I will keep looking at the Pioneer option. Thanks for the firmware support feedback.

@bjkg: Labeflash? Just another Lightscribe, no? Isn’t Lightscribe media easier to find etc… I guess enabling another feature through crossflash is a freebie, but I’m not sure I see the value. I’ll read up on it. My supplier doesn’t have either LS or LF in TY :frowning:

For years I’ve heard that Pioneers are good at extracting the best out of media of varying quality. I’ll have to figure out the diff other than SATA between 115 and 212 (all I see at my retailers). With my luck the 212 will be the only SATA option but there will be some glaring quality problem with it versus the 115. :rolleyes:

Cheers,


#10

Don’t want to take this too far off topic, but I just read http://club.cdfreaks.com/f92/taiyo-yuden-dvd-r-16x-watershield-benq-233779/

See, this is the level of detail I just haven’t been able to stay in touch with. Maybe I should consider a firmware downgrade. I may start another thread on other quality issues too. I’m burning some more critical things at 4x for some reason I read here a while back. Most times I get better quality than random sampling of 16x burns on TYG03. I know these are 8ECC scans but I’m getting max PIF 12 and PI of 37 on TYG03 @4x. I feel there’s room for improvement compared to other results I see posted.


#11

Before this thread totally dies, I’d like a bit more advice…

In the Pioneer line, the -115 looks all ATA. What is the comparable SATA - the -215? I really only see -212s from all my local-ish vendors I’ve checked. When receiving specific advice I don’t want to stray and get anything with a Pioneer sticker on it that may be inferior.

In LiteOn I was looking at is the 20A1 series but I am seeing mention of A3 and A4 units, including crossflashing 1s and 4s. I haven’t, however, found anything that tells me how they differ from the A1 in any kind of meaningful way other than “newer”.


#12

@ Surly,

The Pioneer DVR-115 series is PATA (IDE) interface and the Pioneer DVR-215 series is SATA interface (same Drive just different interface). If you desire detailed information on DVR-115/215 DVD Burner suggest visiting the CD Freaks dedicated Pioneer DVD Burner Forum (http://club.cdfreaks.com/f87).

If you are considering a SATA DVD Burner ensure that you computer MotherBoard truly supports OPTICAL Drive SATA interface.

Don’t know your local but the DVR-115/215 Drives are in current production and both Drives should be readily available.

Regards,
bjkg


#13

[QUOTE=Surly;2023035]Before this thread totally dies, I’d like a bit more advice…

In the Pioneer line, the -115 looks all ATA. What is the comparable SATA - the -215? I really only see -212s from all my local-ish vendors I’ve checked. When receiving specific advice I don’t want to stray and get anything with a Pioneer sticker on it that may be inferior.

In LiteOn I was looking at is the 20A1 series but I am seeing mention of A3 and A4 units, including crossflashing 1s and 4s. I haven’t, however, found anything that tells me how they differ from the A1 in any kind of meaningful way other than “newer”.[/QUOTE]The 215 doesn’t seem to be widely available in the US yet, but the 212 isn’t a bad drive either. The 20A4 series is the updated version of the 20A1 series, while the 20A3 series is a totally different burner. I know someone’s said the 3s are better with CDs, personally haven’t tried mine with CDs. Personally I’d give the 20A3 series a slight edge over the 20A1 series on single layer DVDs, but the 3s had some problems with DL burning. As a scanner the 3s seems to be somewhat inferior although it can complete a DL scan with jitter unlike the other series.