DVD Burner $50 or less

That was my original suggestion in one of his 8 posts on which burner to buy. :wink:

:eek: Sacrilege! That’s more or less blasphemy on the CDFreaks forums isn’t it? :wink:

Could make yourself more clear,

  1. How are the reviews for these drives?

  2. Is Shop4tech as reliable for hardware as is Newegg, Buy.com, Amazon, or PC Connection?

I know that alot of posters here buy TY’s from them, but I haven’t heard of many who buy hardware. I was reading the reviews on Resellerratings.com and while the 4.4 average rating is somewhat low, some posts state they’re satisfied (although many complain of delayed shipping):

I just re-read the ads, and the thread starter should be aware that all drives are OEM, which generally means there’s no cables or software included.

Do you think that’s still the case now that Lite-On will be manufacturing the Benq drives (and maybe Philips,too)?

Buy.com was selling 100 pk. spindles of Verbatim MCC004’s (CMC) for about $10.18 after rebate and Google checkout. They sold out, so I took the 8x MCC003’s and didn’t complain. :smiley:


On the older Lite-Ons, it takes about 14 minutes or so because you have to do a 4x speed scan. On the newer models, I understand the recommendation is an 8x scan, which should halve the time.

In answer to your question about how we feel about scanning, I think for many of us the scan is like the delicious dessert after a good meal (when the scan is excellent). I know I’ve come to look forward more to the scan than the burning of the disk. There’s nothing like seeing a scan with PIF’s under 200 (under 50 is almost like meeting the perfect woman!) and a quality score of at least 95. On the other hand, when you start seeing the PIE’s and PIF counters moving as fast as the US outstanding debt clock, you feel like reaching for an anti-depressant. :sad:

Anti-depressants…finally something that I understand! :slight_smile: (I’m a surgeon so I know medications much better than DVD burners…obviously) Thanks for that post…I appreciate all the input and explanations! I’m still torn…Pioneer–better burner, less mistakes, but unable to check for mistakes or Lite-On–more mistakes but you know when there are mistakes…I don’t know! I wish I could set up a poll and have everyone vote. I’ve almost ordered each one at least 3 times in the last 24 hours. I’m guessing in the end there probably isn’t much difference. Thanks for all the continued help…I’m still on the fence Pioneer vs. Lite-On…if I don’t get pushed one way or the other soon I think I’m going to have to write MYSELF a script for an anti-depressant!

If you had a poll, the Benq would win (and always does when there are polls in the burner forums on this very subject, so no need to create another). :wink: Excellent burner and scanning drive. In the end though, just buy one, they’re all perfectly capable drives for standard use and when using decent media.

Just for completeness sake so I can be well informed, could someone please post a link to a good Benq drive. I gotta be honest and show my rookie status…I’ve never even heard of Benq! But, I am the type of person who wants to make informed decisions and be over all educated on things I buy/own. Thanks again…and, don’t worry…I won’t start another poll! :slight_smile:

You’re basically limited to buying one rebadged under another brand from CompUSA as they are not being sold anymore - the newer Benq 1670 and 1800 are very different drives (the 1670 is basically unrelated to their older drives and the 1800 is just a rebranded Liteon). More info on finding a Benq 1640, 1650, or 1655

If you don’t have a local CompUSA, just buy one of the other drives - they are also perfectly capable drives for the average user when using decent media.

Thanks again. After all the help and studying up on this, I think I finally have come to a decision. Although I may later get another burner, I’m only planning to get one right now. Despite the fact that I’ve been convinced the Pioneer is likely a superior burner, I think I’m going to go with the Lite-On and make sure I feed it only TY or Verbatim +R media. The reason for my decision is that I feel like I can better control the shortcomings of the Lite-On. I know it may make more errors but it affords me a way to identify these errors with scanning. I realize the Pioneer may make very few errors but to be honest, I would kick myself in the butt for a long, long time if it made a fatal error on a very important disk. And, while the Lite-On is more picky about media, I can easily control that by being picky about what media I feed it. If there are stanch objections I’m always open to hearing them.

Lastly, I’ve been recommended several models of the Lite-On. You told me earlier that if I get one to get the 16 series and not the newer 18 or 20. Why is that? Are they unproven? The extra speed (I think) the newer ones have would always be welcomed but you guys know far more than me so if you say get an older model, that is exactly what I’ll do.

Once again, I really do appreciate all the help…it would have taken a week to learn on my own what you guys taught me in one day!

If you’re interested in quality, 16x media generally burns best at 12x or 8x, and even a 12x burn is only about a minute slower than an 18x burn. Additionally, I think the overall performance is better on the 6S series of drives at this point (and there seems to be more fluctuation in quality with the newer drives as well from what I’ve read). While you can get some good burns at 18x and 20x, I view it as a gimmick to sell more drives as much as anything, as the difference in burn time is not great.

Spot on. They are a new drive with immature and, as of yet, unproven firmware. That’s the downside. The downside to the 16x models is their age and lessening of future firmware support.

This is also true of the older BenQ drives which we all love dearly. As newer media becomes available, firmware support may not keep pace as the drive manufacturer will pour their resources into the newer equipment - planned obsolescence.

The new faster stuff sells and the older slower stuff don’t. This is how it is with the masses anyway. The real truth of it is the difference between 16x and 20x is negligible as these represent only MAXIMUM speeds and are not reflective of average burning or reading speeds.

At the outer edge of the media the newer drives will burn at a possible 4x faster. Big whoop. Everywhere else it is very similar. One 20x drive I know of is rated to burn at 20x but only to read at 16x. That’s a hoot!

Also, many of these drives are actually the same hardware underneath the hood. For example the Pioneer 111D and 111L are the same drive, the Lite-On 160P6S and 165P6S are the same drive. This is true of some CD burners as well. I recently flashed a Lite-On 48246S drive into a 52246S drive so that I could read/burn CD media a whopping 4x faster! :bigsmile: Just kidding. I flashed it because the firmware for the 52x drive was newer and more updated than it was for the 48x drive, hence there was some method to my madness other than trying to score an extra 4x MAX burn/read speed.

So it’s not really a matter of choosing a Lite-On 165P6S over a 160P6S as they really are the same drive. The difference is the 165P6S supports 5x DVD-RAM write. ** But the drives will burn and scan about the same really. Any difference is splitting hairs.

If you REALLY want to make archive backups that will last virtually forever, you may want to consider a burner that will write to DVD-RAM media. It has a much much tighter tolerance than regular DVD+/-R/RW media. It’s a true archival media.

Some of the newer 18x+ drives may support 12x DVD-RAM write but the availability of such media in the States is a mute point. We can’t find any if it exists.

Now on to some more confusing stuff. A few of these drives support bitsetting, which is a feature that will turn the orange book value of ordinary DVD+R media into DVD-ROM media. This allows for maximum compatibility in stand alone DVD players and game consoles. If you plan to use DVD+R media it would be wise to be sure your burner supports this bitsetting feature, either in utility or hardware form.

I’ll let someone else ramble now.

I would say that whichever one you can find at the best price between the 160P6S and the 165H6S or 165P6S would be a good choice. Here are some at newegg:

The Lite-Ons DO offer bitsetting, though I’m not positive you will be able to do that with a stock firmware. May need to flash a modified firmware to bitset +R single layer disks. Not a real big deal. They SAY it voids the warranty, but I know people that have exchanged drives that died on them that had been flashed. (They didn’t die as a result of flashing them with modified firmware either.)

If you have a poll here, a poll on which drive to buy would be very VERY redundant. I think we should have a poll about which anti-depressant you should take. There’s just SO MANY, HOW does one DECIDE!? lolol

Man, we’re funny people, as you started going leaning toward the Lite-On, I could hear not only my own, but the cheers of others comming up from the Lite-On camp. lol

I can remember the pains I went through as I tried to decide what burner to buy, and I actualy bought an NEC the first go-round. I’m glad I did because it really IS a great burner. That was the ND-3500AG. Todays NECs really aren’t very good compared to that drive. At the time, the newest Lite-On offering would only burn at a maximum of 8X, and the NEC would go to 16X. That’s what pushed me over to the NEC side.

I choose the handle “Joe Dirt,” here because I’m just your average Joe (maybe with an above average intelligence though), and I’m as poor as dirt! So yeah, I really did struggle to make a decision because I knew full well that I wouldn’t be able to buy another drive for a good long while. (I finaly bought a Lite-On to do my scanning with almost two years later once prices had dropped to almost HALF of what I paid for my NEC.)

Like I say, I’m glad I bought the NEC. They actualy kinda became the “Holy Grail,” of DVD writers for a good while and I’m quite certain that there are a good few people here that would still love to have one. However, I also spent alot of sleepless nights wondering if the disks I had written were any good before I got my Lite-On and was able to actualy SCAN my disks.

If buying both the Lite-On and the Pioneer won’t break your budget, I’d definately say GO FOR IT! That’s an excelent idea in my honest opinion. Use the Lite-On for ripping and scanning, and whatever general reading chores you might do, and use the Pio for burning. Hey, you can then write test disks on each writer then scan them both and see which writer does a better job on that particular type of media too. You never know, with SOME medias, the Lite-On might actualy do a better job than the Pioneer. They’re pretty close on many.

On a side note, it must be pretty exciting to work at a place like MUSC. As I understand it, it’s quite a complex! It’s cool the amazing diversity of the people that find themselves here at CD Freaks. I love it. Ain’t the internet grand? Without it, I don’t imagine I’d really have opportunities to chat with such an amazingly diverse group of people. Hope you keep comming back around Doc. Welcome aboard!


Am I correct in saying both those links are for the 165 (one is retail and one is OEM)? Although the cheaper one advertises “new 5x DVD-RAM burner,” the other one has it too, right? Lastly, I’ve learned that OEM means it comes kind of “stripped down” with just the drive where retail is packaged with accessories…since I have no cables, software, nuts, bolts, etc. should I get the retail one?

Doctor Morbius–that was some good typing…I really learned a lot. I still need to learn some more info on bitsetting and DVD-RAM. If you guys don’t want to discuss this here I can post it to the newbie forum. Here is what I’m wondering:

  1. DVD-ROM is totally new to me. What I know about it exactly what you just told me…that is it good for archiving (which will be much of what I’m doing). Therefore, I think I’ll get the 165 drive so I can have the option. Does this type of burning use regular DVD+/-R media, or is there special media?

  2. Bit-setting…I really need to learn a lot more about this but since my Lite-On (I’ve been told) likes to be fed +R media the best, I guess I should investigate. Basically all I need to know at this point is, will the 165 drive do this? If anyone feels super nice, I could stand to have a little more explanation about what this is, when you use it, and why.

Lastly, media…here are the “facts” that I’ve learned–please correct me if I’m wrong.

  1. TY and Verbatim are widely considered top of the line.
  2. The Lite-On burner likes +R media better than -R
  3. 8x is actually better quality than the 16x
  4. It seems that TY has a slight edge in quality over Verbatim.

So, I’m planning to get TY 8x DVD+R media. If there is a flaw in my logic, please let me know. Also, if anyone has a link to the best price for this, I’d appreciate you posting it!

I think buying the LiteOn is the smart move, I’ve failed to see the great burns with the BenQs i have(1640,1650) and so far the Pio 111L I have only beats the Liteys with T02. I basically burn all my -R discs with my LiteOns, to me it seems with the test firmware the LiteOns are capable of burning the greatest selection of media well.

JD-I was typing my post while you were posting yours. Thanks for the input…I feel like things are finally coming together for me. :slight_smile: I could definitely buy both drives with no problem but I hesitate to do so because my computer is probably going to get the boot pretty soon and a new one come in. I don’t want to buy too much stuff for this computer when I may replace it soon (I know I can transfer drives, but I’d rather be able to set up my new computer with the latest and greatest stuff when I get it) MUSC is a good place to work–are you around the area? Thanks for welcoming me…when I was figuring out how all this worked I think some people wanted to kill me but you guys have been great and I appreciate it. With buying a new drive, I’m definitely going to be around…after all, I need to install it, add firmware, get software, learn to back-up movies, figure out the best media and way to archive my pictures, etc. So, I hope that I can call on you guys for some future help. Although I know very little now, I am the type of person that when I get into something I always become an expert on it (as you may be able to tell from my detailed and picky questions about every little fact). So, hopefully in the future I’ll become an expert too and have some valuable input for you guys. Until then, if you sprain your ankle or need to decide whether or not to get your knee scoped from that old high school football injury, I’m glad to help! :slight_smile:

lol, don’t surgeons make a ton of money? Just buy all of them :iagree:

Thanks chaosoffar2k! It’s good to know the Lite-On you have works well with -R too. Do most of you agree with that assessment. To be honest, I could not care less whether I burn -R or +R (is there a reason I should care?). I just want to get whatever agrees best with my burner! As I understand it, they are just different formats that do exactly the same thing…the only difference is some burners/readers prefer one over the other. Nevertheless I do want the BEST, so if you have a reason I should get one over the other please let me know!

Hehe…well, SOME surgeons make a lot of money (but, don’t let them fool you, none of them go hungry–even the “poorest” ones make what I consider a very good living). Some types of surgeons make SUBSTANTIALLY more than other types…fortunately for me orthopaedics is near the top of the food chain! :slight_smile: The problem is that I’m still stuck in residency, where I make LESS than most of you on this website! As soon as I’m done with residency I’ll buy one of every burner AND even one for each of you guys for helping me! :slight_smile: Thanks!

I can’t vouch for the recommended Litey’s, but they are able to booktype +R discs using the Smartburn utility found here.

I do have 2 of the Pioneers, and find the burn quality to be consistently impressive with good media (mainly Taiyo Yuden 8x+R). As long as you use good media, quality scanning is usually worthless in the short term (unless you like showboating your burns on the forum as many of us freaks do). A transfer rate test is more reliable in real world purposes as it tells you whether or not the disc is actually readable. Just my 2 cents worth.