Hi all; i've been a lurker here for quite a while and decided it was high time i joined, especially since i have a problem to post.
I've had a BenQ DW1620 (I/O Magic branded) for quite a while now, a little over two years, i think. It's always worked very well for me, until somewhat recently.
For a few months i've been experiencing slow burns. Most of the time it's bearable, and it often goes back to its old self after a while. Once it got very bad at both burning and reading, but that seemed to be fixed upon reinstalling Windows (which was needed for other reasons), so i don't think that the problem is with the drive itself. Somewhere around December it started ripping audio CDs a bit slower than usual. Now, within the last two weeks or so, burning has become less than half as fast as usual. Today i tried burning some DVD-R discs (i normally stick to +R, but these are Verbatims, and they were on sale pretty cheap), and i noticed that most of the time they were burning at less than 1x (though the second disc did get up to 3.5x for a bit). +R discs have been the same way, though not quite that slow.
I spent a lot of time today reading some older posts (and the stickies) here about firmware and similar problems, but didn't find anything exact. I checked on some of the issues described there anyway, since they seemed likely culprits. I did discover that the location my burner is on was set to PIO mode by Windows, but correcting that (reinstalled the IDE driver which reset it to UDMA Mode 2) didn't solve the problem. All of my IDE cables are about 2 years old and are 80-pin, and the Master/Slave devices are in the proper physical position on the cables. The transfer rates of my hard drives seem to be perfectly normal as well (this was actually my first thought, since a lot of the files i was burning were coming from the oldest drive in my system).
relevant system specs:
BenQ DW1620 (B7W9)
nVidia nForce2 chipset
Someone give me an idea, please! I'll gladly run additional tests and/or provide more information to help narrow this thing down.
EDIT: Forgot to mention, CD-Rs seem to burn just fine. Ran one just now, just to be sure before i posted it; burned a 55 min .bin at 40x in 2:42.