External DVD Burner recommendation

I have been researching the Internett for a while and really cannot determine what the best option for an external dvd writer is.

I have seen a lot on LG and BenQ, but no definitive best external DVD writer.

The most important aspect to me is the the burning quality. Speed is obviously another important factor, but will sacrafice speed for a burner that produces the highest quality DVDs.

Double Layer burning is obviously preferred also. The other capabilties such as cd writing and cd burning are not as important.

Please provide any reccomandations. Thanks in advance.

I would use on coming with an option to connect via Firewire because most USB externals have issues (chipset/firmware).
But it’s just my personal preference.

Maybe you should read the big external enclosures thread…

Look at the Sony 810UL, it is firewire and USB, and can be crossflashed to a BenQ164B BEGB firmware (UDMA 4 )

Can you compare the writing-quality of the BenQ 164B with a BenQ 1650?

The 164B BenQ is an external BenQ1640 and the BenQ 1650 has a different chip and totally different hardware and firmware, at this point in the BenQ 1650 or 1655’s firmware it is a great drive with alot of maturing to make it better, the BenQ 1640 has already had at least 5 firmware updates so I think at this point they are about even.

Why can’t one buy an internal drive and just get the external case kit? That way you could use any burner? Just a thought.


Theoretically you can do that, indeed. And many people do so.
But there are some things to consider:

  • there are lots of external cases with bad chipsets
  • some drives cannot achieve full speed, if they are mounted into an external enclosure. Drives that support UDMA-4 perform better.

You’ll also have a look at this thread:


What is the advantage to flashing the Sony drive to BenQ frimware, what functions are gained that are not in the Sony firmware?

Are there stability issues with the reflash? Can it be reflashed to back to the proper Sony firmware if there is a problem?


These cases work very well with more drives:



It is hard to say, but most users feel that the BenQ versions are better and are updated way more often.

Crossflashing when you are using the correct drive is usually not a problem You have to assume you cannot flash back and that you will lose the warranty.

Do you gain any of the lightscribe function or, whatever BenQ calls it, when you cross flash? (Speaking of the Sony 810UL)

No, Lightscribe is in the hardware you can not flash a non lightscribe drive to make it lightscribe.