Choosing a DVD writer

Evening all,

Why is choosing a DVD Writer in this day and age such a headache? Now perhaps it was just as bad when CD-RW’s were all the rage, but lately I’ve been looking at reviews and I have no clue what to go for.

I was just wondering: Do Liteon and Pioneer drives still suffer from poor seek-times compared to most of the other drives, or have firmware updates now fixed those problems?

There’s still so many questions… but gods, why is it so confusing? :wink:

Pioneer, lite-on and nec drives, especially the new d/l burners are the ones IMO to go for, some will say this one does this better and that one is better for this so its all down to what you want to do and if you are going to use cheap media or quality media. Have a look in the associated forums or just post a more detailed explantion of what you want the drive for (backing up of movies, games or data etc) and we’ll help you along with your choice.

Thank you for the quick reply… the situation for me is just a little tricky as I don’t know all of what I want to use the drive for in the future… but for now…

I simply want to use it as an archiving tool at this moment in time, but I may want to atempt the DVD Decoding & Backing up process simply as a matter of curiosity.

Recently my Yamaha CD-RW (It’s ancient) has decided to stop wanting to read CD’s and so rather than getting a CD-RW drive I thought that getting the DVD drive would be the better option.

I was considering the Plextor drive but the price was a little off-putting, currently I can get extremely reasonable prices on the Liteon, Pioneer and NEC Drives but I am a little wary with regards to the compatible media and some of the features.

I understand that the Pioneer drive is limited to 24x CD-R writes, which again puts me off a little. So that leaves the Liteon drive(s) and the NEC drives. For a fraction more I could get the Dual Layer NEC drive but again I am worries that the NEC drive isn’t as well supported with writes/media types as the Liteon drives. I’ve seen so much development on the Liteon by the guys on this forum and the makers of the drive and it has impressed me… but which would be best? That is battle that seems to go on and on :wink:

I was tempted to buy from as I’ve heard only good things about them, but they don’t seem to have Liteon drives in stock anymore.

No doubt I’ll be perfectly happy with practically any of the drives out there - compared to my 8x CD-RW… well… I may also want to do some DAE too, as that’s what I used most of my other drives for.

Any ideas? :slight_smile:

Personally I would go for the nec 2500 / 2510 or the new lite-on (sorry I don’t know the models for these drives as I’ve never used them). Apparently both the nec 2500 and the lite-on (I might be wrong as this is only what I have read or heard) can be upgraded to the dual layer writing versions just by changing the firmware (obviously this will void your warranty and for the sake of £20 hardly worth it). Try having a look here they don’t stock the latest lite-on but they do have the latest NEC, I have used these quite alot, but never had anything delivered as i live around the corner and I’m not that lazy.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

At the end of the day as long as you stick to one of the main brands you can’t really go wrong, true not one of them outshines the other but neither are any of them a dodgy deal, if I had the choice again I’d get the latest Lite-on just for the sake of all the support in these forums and by lite-on themselves, but I bought a pioneer and I’ve never had any trouble with it either so I can’t complain. Hope this helps and let us know what you buy.

A word of warning regarding a potential Lite-On purchase- the last generation LDW-811S/851S had early quality problems with DVD-R. I don’t own an SOHW-812S or -832S, but you might want to check around carefully and ask if results have improved.

This could be an issue, as I’ve been told DVD+R is somewhat more expensive for those living on the British Isles (judging by your profile). But if this colonial is mistaken about prices, never mind :wink:

I’ve opted for a SOHW-812S drive and it’s coming tomorrow so we’ll see how it performs. One of my friends has a Lacie drive which is simply a rebadged Liteon with the firewire/USB2 interface and he thinks it’s rather good.

The DVD+R media isn’t badly priced at all. I purchased some of the Media from and got a spindle of 25 bulkpaq 8x printable media for less than £10 (roughly 16 dollars) - so I’m quite happy about that.

As to how it actually performs… I’ll have to see.

I think that the support given from this forum for the drive is exceptional and that coupled with my friends recommendation prompted me to buy the drive… so… it’s fingers crossed time :wink:

Many thanks for all of the advice, though.

Received my writer today, installed it (and that’s the 5th time I’ve opened the case up recently) and then went into Windows.

Windows recognises it, the drive is of fairly good quality and I’ve updated the firmware to the US0N (official)

Writing CD’s is super-quick, and audio CD writing isn’t bad either…

I have encountered a problem though and I don’t know whether it’s the drive or the software that I’m using… but…

I’ve installed CDBurnerXP Pro and tried testing through all of the features. CD’s write perfectly, but it’s having problems with DVD’s, serious problems.

Using it’s DVD creating option I dragged a number of folders across to the image section and then burned a disk. After it had burned I tried to access the contents of the drive, but it was impossible to access any of the folders. The files in the root directory worked, however.

Also, when trying to access a disk for the first time it seems to take quite a while (10-15 seconds) to read the directory structure of the disk - is this normal?

From the time you hit the open/close button, it takes about 10+ seconds for the disc to spin up and be recognized. But if you’re talking about a pause when browsing the contents in windows explorer for instance, then that does sound abnormal. Perhaps a bad burn/bad media. Would recommend you try burning with another app and/or type of media to isolate the problem.

I seem to have isolated the problem, though my testing isn’t conclusive on this issue…

The delay of 10 seconds+ for accessing the DVD in Windows explorer has now gone, it’s reduced to around 5 seconds and I have successfully burned some data to a DVD and all seems good in the world…

I installed Nero and it declared that I didn’t have ASPI installed, so I installed the latest version from Adaptec (or should I try the Nero equivalent as it’s newer?) and now everything seems to be working.

Of course, it doesn’t say anywhere that you should install ASPI, but the device is much more compatible with other programs now too… or is this merely coincidence? :slight_smile:

ASPI is most definitely required for a lot of stuff. Make sure you use 4.60; it’s considered the most stable version and the latest 4.7x causes problems for some people.

To use ASPI 4.60 download Force ASPI and this programn will remove all traces of an old aspi install and it will then install 4.60 just read the docs that come with the file as its quite straight forward to use, any problems just ask away.

So it’s now a few months in and I’m fairly happy with the drive - but there were many teething problems with the drive, writing and access times, and I thought I’d document them in case someone has the same problems in the future:

Installation of the drive is incredibly easy and most of us monkeys can do it - the hardware side of things is fairly simple and you know if something is wrong usually immediately.

Problem 1: Errors with Writing, and how to make you own pretty purple coasters

When first writing some of the data DVD’s I used CDburnerXP and the write seemed to go well (but a little slowly) until I tested the disk afterwards and it was dead.

After many attempts I ended up installing Nero and things were much better. Apparently there’s a known bug in CDBurnerXP - for which the solution is ‘Wait for 3.0, it should work then’

Solution 1: If you’re having no joy with writing, always use another trusted program to test it, preferably a few

Problem 2: Slow writing speeds / Bad writes

When I first began writing a few disks with Nero the speed wasn’t anywhere near what I expected - and in some cases it was downright dire. CD writing wasn’t too bad, but the DVD writing was terrible.

Now there could have been a number of reasons for this, but by using either ForceASPI, or using the Nero built-in ASPI drivers it seemed to resolve the issue. It may work for others, it may not… perhaps it was mere coincidence :wink:

Solution 2: Try installing the ASPI drivers, or see below…

Problem 3: Very slow access times to DVD-R’s with large numbers of files in the directory

Now this problem had me confused for a while, I have a number of disks with large amounts of files on them in the root directory. These have been written in the DVD-R format and work perfectly in my Pioneer DVD-ROM drive.

When I insert one of these into the DVD-RW drive it takes a while to speed up (5-10 seconds, which is acceptable), but then Windows Explorer freezes and stops responding for about a minute.

Seeking help on the forums yielded no response, but then a little bit of private fiddling solved the problem in the most bizarre way.

I decided to update my motherboard/system drivers to the latest version, so I downloaded them and installed them. In the past this has yielded fantastic performance increases, but this time it seemed to decrease the performance of the machine.

Unknowingly I have been using these drivers for a long time (since the first install of XP) and it wasn’t until I went into the device manager, chose the ‘update device’ option that it said that the default XP drivers were more better for me. I accepted this opinion (though I didn’t want to believe it :wink:

Now my system seems a lot faster and best of all, the Drive is working perfectly… finally.

Solution 3: Try the latest drivers for your IDE hardware - but be wary this doesn’t always increase the speed or compatibility, be ready to remove them if that happens

So for now, I am happy - the drive works well, but I have yet to try the -R media and do any major backups. I want to get some good quality branded media for the backups and archives as I really cannot afford to lose the data that I have.

Of course, finding the right media is a task in itself - it’s no longer a case of going into a computer shop and saying ‘Oh, those will do, they’re branded’ - there’s so much variation out there and everyones opinion differs.

I prefer the +R to the -R writing system for a number of reasons, especially as the Liteon drive has much better writes with +R. But it’s time to take the plunge and see what happens :slight_smile:

Later all…