Buying a new DVD-+RW drive

Greetings everyone,

After having my share of trouble with a NEC and Optiarc DVD±RW drives (see a threat I posted in the NEC forum if you’re interested), I am now looking to purchase a new DVD±RW drive. I have read some reviews, but from reading around the forums I see that the most important aspect - the burning quality - is not always fully covered in reviews. So I am asking about a recommendation for a new DVD±RW drive, and I will take into deep consideration every recommendation here, so please recommend carefully :slight_smile:

As for my requirements: Not from NEC or Optiarc or based on those chipset(s) (not because they aren’t good but because it seems they do not work properly with my motherboard’s chipset so I just want to try a different brand now) + Reasonable price + Has to work properly under Linux as well (I haven’t heard about any ATA DVD drive that doesn’t work in linux, the only ones I’ve heard to cause problems are DVD drives connected to SATA like some of the Plextor ones). The most important aspect is of course the burning quality: I don’t care to burn things at x4 or x8 as long as the quality is good and that I can count on the DVDs to last 1-2 years. I’m aware this also depends on media, but since in my country there is not much selection of burning medias I would prefer the drives you recommend would work well with Ritek and Verbatim DVD-R medias, and if at all possible I would prefer that it works well with a broad selection of medias, and not a drive that only works well with one brand.

So far I have been considering mainly writers from LiteOn. I saw good feedback on BenQ ones too, but sadly, they are pretty rare in my country (Israel). As for Plextor drives, I would appreciate feedback regarding if you think the difference in quality is worth the extra money they cost (In Israel Plextor DVD writers cost roughly x2-x3 times what NEC and Liteon drives cost). Also I don’t care too much about speed so it’s not like I upgrade every year, if you think Plextor drives will outlive other ones I would be happy to hear about that too since it is all taken into consideration in my book. I also don’t really need technologies like Lightscribe or Labelflash, I’m fine with a black marker pen :slight_smile: Of course if those drives cost about the same i’ll take them too hehe.

I’m nearly in your boat, too…

In U.S., the BenQ are evaporating fast. BenQ sold out to Lite-On, but it doesn’t look like the famous BenQ drives of the past (DW1620, DW1640) are ever coming back.

I have a BenQ DW1620, and I’m searching, like you, for a replacement. This drive is still burning like the day I bought it, but I rely on it so much now that I really need to consider a backup unit.

It appears that a great many of the new drives from what were stellar makers in the past aren’t worth using. NEC had the 3500 (which I errantly thought extended to the 3550A, but alas, not quite true), but they don’t make it anymore, and the new replacement models aren’t half what they were.

So far, my questions and searching points to the Pioneer 111D. Write quality is said to be quite good. The review here gives it the ‘safe buy’ award, and they make note that it appears to be high quality construction. It’s among the lesser expensive drives in the U.S. ($32 USD, which is within a couple of dollars of the cheapest on any list).

Since I just picked up deal on 8x -R media (TYG02) that will last me 6 months or longer, the Pioneer is likely the right choice for me. Pioneer is one of the ‘founding’ promoters of the -R format, so they should at least do that format well.

Irksome to me is that, unless I read incorrectly, the 111D will not re-write 4x +RW media. I have 20 4x +RW, and I use them to store various virtual machine installations. I’m not sure it makes sense to re-purchase $30 worth 8x +RW (or 6x -RW) just to support the drive. My 4x +RW’s are doing fine on the DW1620.

Scanning is the other problem. The DW1620 is a fair scanner, reporting C1/C2 and jitter. I’m told the 111D is not a ‘good’ scanner, but I’m not sure exactly what that means.

What I do know is that if a high quality media continues to scan consistently well, the drive itself (mechanically and electronically) is stable - which my DW1620 is, to date. If the 111D makes me ‘blind’ or at least ‘insensitive’ to scan degradation, I wouldn’t be able to monitor the consistency of the media and the drive.

I don’t quite know why I’ve never warmed up to Lite-On - many hear approve of the drives, and the do sport good features. They have many models, it appears, so I’m learning about them at present.

I’ll be reading more knowledgeable posts on your thread with great interest.