Do I have -R/-RW capability on my external HP DVD 640 BENQ drive?



[qanda]This thread is about the HP DVD640e. Click here to see full specs[/qanda]Hi,

I have got a May 2005 HP external Drive.

HP P/N: 5169-0463
V/M: PHDVD8651/46
HP S/N: CNLJ07358C
H/V rev: 01
F/W rev:EOU5
DVD 8651/46

It also says on the outside box DVD640we.

Then there is a section in Korean langauge on its back that says:

  1. (something): DVD+R/+RW LVLDB-0407-10
  2. (something): E-H900-04-1956(B)
    3 and 4. (something): (something)
  3. (something): BENQ (IT) Co., Ltd
  4. (something): China

It does not mention anywhere -R/-RW, however, the seller, who sold it to me on eBay, listed both -R and -RW in its item description.

And when I searched for this HP P/N and -R, I got quite a few hits. For instance : - 17k - , mentions that it has both + and - capability.

I would appreciate if anyone could tell me for sure if that thing is supposed to write “-” disks.

Since I got it, I managed to produce two decent quality Lightscribe images on it, and then it kinda died on me. It erratically ejects and pulls in the disk “plate”, speeds up and slows down all the time.

My laptop sees it, but it does not see any media inside.

Full seller’s description follows:
HP DVD640 16x DL LightScribe DVD±RW IDE Drive

Write Speed:

  DVD±RW up to 16x (CAV)

  DVD+RW up to 8x (ZCLV)

  DVD-RW up to 6x (ZCLV)

  DVD+R DL up to 8x (ZCLV)

  DVD-R DL up to 4x (CLV)

  CD-R up to 40x (CAV or P-CAV)

  CD-RW up to 32x (ZCAV) 

      Read Speed:

  DVD-ROM up to 16x (CAV)

  CD-ROM up to 40x (CAV)

  Supported Write Methods:

  Track at once (TAO)

  Disc at once (DAO)

  Random access write (DVD+RW)

  Sequential write (DVD+R/RW/+R DL)

  Multi-session (DVD+R/+R DL)

  Incremental (DVD-R/-RW)

  Multi-border (DVD-R/-RW)

  Restricted overwrite (DVD-RW)

  Recording Formats:


  ISO 9660


  DVD Video


  Supported Disc Formats:


  DVD+R Double-Layer 


  DVD-R Double-Layer







  LightScribe CD-R 

Thank you,



The drive is a BenQ DW1625. It supports all standard -R and +R writing functions.

Now, what might fix the drive is if you cross-flash it into a genuine BenQ DW1625, but who knows. Read the FAQ for information about cross-flashing.

You bought a used drive off eBay, but judging by your lack of knowledge, you may have been sold a lemon. Never buy tech products from eBay unless you’re very tech savvy and know how to judge the good stuff from crap.


Thank you.

I will report on results of flashing.