Does the NuTech DDW-081 and DDW-082 have the same hardware?

or are they slightly different?

AFAIK in most cases you have no problems to update a DDW-081 to an DDW-082.

Its been stated that the hardware is identical, however NuTech runs tests on the drives to ensure that they write DVD-R/-RW media well before marking it as a DDW-082.

That is why many DDW-081 drives that have been updated with the dual format firmware have trouble writing to DVD-R media: the drive itself cannot handle it well.

If you’re trying to decide between the two and DVD-R writing is important, get the DDW-082 because NuTech warranties DVD-R writing on it. They do not on the DDW-081, even if you install the dual format fimware.