First DVDRW Purchase: BenQ 1620 or NEC3520? Need Advice!

Hello folks,

Found this great forum with plenty of info, and am excited to see a great burning community. I am finally making my first purchase of a DVDRW. One of the final components to finishing my cherished rig. I’ve been around the overclocking scene, but have no clue about burning. I have been reading for a couple hours a night the last couple days looking for the “ideal” burner. I narrowed down the two burners I will most likely purchase, the BenQ 1620 and the NEC 3520. My budget is around $70.

First off, I don’t believe I can go wrong with either, but from hearing some slight problems with the new NEC 3520, I turned to see what BenQ has to offer. From doing my homework, I simply come to this…

BenQ 1620 = slower then the NEC in some aspects, but is dead accurate in quality, performance, and has great support.

NEC 3520 = With the use of good firmware, the drive is fast, and is reads exceptionally well.

Since the 3520 is newer, is the 1620 a bad choice for a good drive for the future? From reading, I assume the 3520 isn’t the best burner out right now yet, but with some firmware updates later, it may end up being a better drive then going with the older 1620.

Most of the posts/threads I have searched compare the 1620 with the NEC 3500. Does the 3520 bring much more to the table and has more potential?

Sorry this is long… I am basically looking for the best drive that can bring ease and quality. However, I live to void warranties so I don’t mind going out of my way for performance. As of right now, and for the future, can I go wrong with either drive?

If not, I will probably get the 3520 simply b/c of its availability. Seems the BenQ’s are harder to get (outofstock on Newegg)

Thanks in Advance!

the nu-163 (available at neweegg for $58 is a rebranded 1620)…

right now the 1620 is a superior drive plus it allows for error checking (nec3520 dosn’t). in the future with the help of better firmware and firmware modders the nec might wind up better, but it is a crap shoot. currently the 1620 will offer you much better burn quality…go for the 1620

Any downsides of getting a rebadged drive (that NU-163), or is it the same and can use all the benq firmware?

And is it a 100% chance that rebadged is a 1620? I read some other rebadged were BTC, but it was a different brand.

the other drive was an i/o magic and they change manufactures at a drop of a hat. the nu-163 is 100% rebaged benq. only downside is that it will likely come with a bulk version of the benq firmware (not undated as frequently). however, it can be flashed to benq’s retail firmware. on the upside i believe that you get a better software package with the nu, but that is subjective.

for more info i recommend that you ask around on the benq forum…

Go for the Benq! Look at what features are supplied by and supported by the manufacturer. I like to compare everything with official firmwares not hacked ones. I don’t have a problem with those that use or make the firmware hacks, but I prefer for the manufacturer to be responsive to the endusers and my experience with NEC is just the opposite. Fortunately my 2510 is a true Maddog rebadge and I use there official firmware to support bitsetting and the like. I rarely use the 2510 now after getting a Cyberdrive DX162D-A (same chipset as Benq and works every bit as well as far as I can tell).

I am leaning toward the BenQ. But everyone on the NEC board is talking about the next firmware that can be a great update… How do these two drives compare, and how much slower really is the BenQ?

i’d go with the BenQ for overall drive capabilities…the NEC isn’t a great reader and doesn’t have error checking capabilities.

I constantly hear two complaints about the NEC 3500A…slow rip and no error checking.

The NEC 3500A will rip at an average speed of 5.3X without riplock (min 3.1X, max 7.2X). The best stand-alone DVD reader may cut the rip time in half, perhaps by 6 minutes for a DVD-9 disc. The speed advantage with the BenQ is only 2-3 minutes. That’s insignificant in my book.

If you use quality burn media and stick to 8X max for the burn speed, then there is NO NEED to recheck the DVDs for error. People complain about an extra 2-3 minutes rip time, yet they are willing to waste 15 to 30 minutes to rescan the DVD for errors!

Personally, the NEC 3500A has a higher reliability rate. The construction quality is also better. I would go with the cheaper drive.

but error checking is fun!!! (=

most ppl who error check have more than 1 drive so the added time is moot. i rip at an avg rate of 8X with max of 12X which makes for a considerable diff (this with PX716s). just cuz you burn at 8X doesn’t mean you won’t have any errors (there are many more variables to disc quality than burn speed :rolleyes: ). i haven’t seen anything to suggest the NEC has a higher reliability rate (not saying it’s bad, just haven’t seen anything supporting that claim). i don’t own either drive, but based on what i’ve read, i would go for the BenQ without a doubt.

are you just not confident/comfortable with the fact you bought the NEC? sure sounds like it.

Time is $. I don’t waste my time checking once I have a good setup. Different strokes for different folks. The key words are “I am basically looking for the best drive that can bring ease and quality”. It doesn’t sound like the author is planning to purchase two DVD writers.

There are NO perfect burns. However, if the following conditions are present, then a good burn is almost guarantee with both drives…

-Use quality media. 8X burn speed with all current 16X drives. 12X burn speed will only reduce burn time by 3 minutes.
-Adequate hard drive transfer speed. This will prevent buffer overrun and burn speed fluctuation.
-Adequate CPU speed. Burning at 16X requires much more CPU clock time.

Both drive will provide good quality DVDs up to 16X. However, higher burn speed will result in more noise and faster wear on the drive. In general, the burn quality at 12X/16X will not be better than at 4X/8X. BenQ has more bells and whistles…more stuffs that could fail with age.

I’ve scanned the NEC burns with my Plextor 712. No anomalies at 4X, 8X, and 12X. The 16X speed places too much load on my 600 MHz PIII.

I purchased the NEC 3500A for $31, including free overnight shipping and a 50 pack of MIJ 8X Fuji DVD-R media. Absolutely no regret.

Different strokes for different folks.
true true, point taken…for that price i’d buy 3 of em :wink:

Great info. guys. It looks like I can’t go wrong with either drive. My main dilemma I’m having right now is whether or not the newer 3520 will become superior over the 1620 after the next firmware comes out. Physically, does the 3520 have any more potential to be a far better drive then the 1620? As of right now, it seems a lot of people are having some problems with this drive, and fortunately for the great firmware modders, there are better results.

I for one really only test the first one or two disks of a brand that I have not used before in order to know just how well they are being burned. In lots of 100, 100 burns @ 8 minutes = 13 hrs 20 minutes. If you add 10 minutes to scan the first two burns, you barly impact your average burn time (6 second per burn I think), I can give up that ten minutes to stop what I am doing and have a beer and not regret one second of it.

First, the BenQ 1620 over the NEC 3520 would be my choice here. The company is responsive to their users, as has already been pointed out. The NEC 3520 is not the same drive as the NEC 3500 mentioned in this thread, no real news on that point. There seem to be write quality problems associated with the NEC 3520 which are not associated with the NEC 3500 (see the NEC forums on this point), so it seems that the BenQ 1620 is the easy choice.

im actually itching to pull the trigger on a BenQ 1620, just can’t justify having 4 DVD burners (not that there’s anything wrong with that :wink: )

There’s only one way to find out if a drive is right for you–and that is to buy it. A drive may be right for me, but it will be wrong for you.

Most online retailers are out of the 3500A. However, I’ve seen many local pc shops with rebadged 3500s (Kanguru, Mad Dog, and TDK) for $55 or less.