In my opinion, you would be safe buying this burner.
At this time, I have both a BenQ 1640 and a BenQ 1655 installed in my system. I think the 1650/1655 is the best burner, with or without LightScribe. I currently have both a NEC 3500 and an LG 4163 retired and sitting unused on the shelf (and these were both top-rated burners) since I like the BenQ drives best.
Here are some BenQ advantages over most other burners:
- CDSpeed quality scanning - including jitter. VERY useful for determining whether cheap discs are any good or not.
- SolidBurn support eliminates issues related to media variances and allows the burner to optimize itself even for newer as yet unknown media types.
- 16X reading of burned media makes for a very fast and very safe burn cycle - 6 minutes to burn and 5 minutes to verify.
My 1640 is currently cross-flashed to an external EW164B firmware version (but it’s still connected internally). I do this so that I can run it at UDMA-4 transfer speed, since the standard 1640 firmware limits this to UDMA-2. UDMA-4 allows me to do an on-the-fly disc copy between the two DVD drives at 8X speeds. With UDMA-2 on both drives I couldn’t reliably sustain even a 4X transfer rate.
My 1655 is currently cross-flashed to the 1650 firmware. I set solidBurn on for both known and unknown media, and it’s my feeling that the 1650 firmware optimizes itself a lot faster (1 - 2 discs for the 1650 firmware instead of 4 - 5 discs for the 1655 firmware); however, this is subjective opinion so I can’t be certain.
There seems to be a $10.00 - $15.00 or so difference in cost between the 1650 and the 1655, but the 1650 is generally not yet available for most people. So if you need the burner now you’ll probably have to buy the 1655. But chances are that if you wait 3 or 4 weeks the 1650 will become available. Wait an additional 3 or 4 weeks past that, and you will probably be able to get it on sale and knock off an additional $5.00 - $10.00.
In the past, the non-lightScribe firmwares were updated much more often than the lightScribe ones, so this might be a reason for some people to wait. However, this reason vanishes if you’re prepared to crossflash a 1655 to a 1650.
I’ve successfully burned quite a few PS2 games on the 1640 BenQ drive at 8X, 12X, and 16X speeds using +R media, so I would expect the 1655 to perform at least as well. However, I don’t use much -R media, so I don’t know it it will work OK or not - and so far I haven’t needed to burn any PS2 discs on the 1655. I have the PS2 Swap Magic disc and the flip-top PS2 case, and the copied games all seem to load and run just fine.