Gurus Please Help - 1640 vs. 1650 vs. 1650?


I am a newbie and I needed your help. Gurus, please share your experience and advice on the following.

I have the choice of buying a new Benq 1640 or 1650 or 1655, all at the same price. What would your advice/recommendation be on which one to buy ?

My requirements are as follows

Reader - Needs to be an excellent reader, with the ability to read DVD movie discs with larger number of scratches or chips. Should also have high rip speed.

Burner - Needs to be a good burner on a large number of media, preferably the cheaper media too.

I do not need any Lightscribe ability, although its presence will not prevent me from buying a drive. Also I intend to put it in an external enclosure with firewire interface and use it mostly on a laptop.

Thanks in advance !

Welcome to cdfreaks. :wink:

What is your laptop specs?

My recommendation will be different based on your laptop specs. If your laptop is up to the speed, I would recommend 1640 since it can be flashed to external firmware to take advantage of higher transfer rate (for high speed burning and ripping). Currently the 1650/55 don’t have any external firmware, yet.

If your laptop cannot deliver adequate continuous data transfer rate then either of those drives will be fine in external case since you probably cannot maximize its usage, in term of burn/rip speed.

The only difference with the 1650 & 1655 is lightscribe technology. Search this forum site by reading the posts on those drives and how they perform in external cases. Search is a good place to start. :wink:

Thanks for the prompt reponse.

I did use search :), however I could not find a direct discussion on a comparison between all 3 models at the same price.

I understand that 1655 has Lightscribe, but I do not necessarily need it. Between 1650 and 1640, I am finding mixed responses. People like 1640 simply based on its reliability and mature firmware, but then 1650 does not have the PIF spike bug at 16x of the 1640. Also for many people, not all 3 are currently availble. This is what I have found so far.

Ideally, if there was somebody who has owned all 3 and could give me advice, that would be wonderful, however even if anyone has owned 2 of these 3, and based on that experience and my criteria above on what I am looking for, could help me even narrow amongst the 3, I would be grateful.

Thanks !


Thanks for the prompt response. That is an excellent point that you have brought across on the external firmware availability on 1640.

What are the specific advantages of this external firmware for 1640 ?

My laptop has a Pentium M processor at 1.6GHz and 512 MB RAM, 40GB HD ( I do not know the rpm of the HD). Let me know if these specs. help. If not, let us assume that it can deliver continuous data transfer rate. Also I might upgrade laptops in the future :).

Thanks !

I have used benq 1610.1620,1640,1650,LG4167,SAMSUN162C & 162S\RAM. From my experience the burn quality of 1650 is slight better than that of 1640. Besides 1640 only support -4xdl & out of production a long time and not available in Asia. I don’t have any problem with the 1650 official firmwares. Now I am using 1650 and SAMSUM
162S\RAM to handle all kind of media except lightscribe happly.

get the 1640. You want to use it externally, the 1640 is your best choice.

I own a 1640 and a 1655, and would recommend the 1640. Simplu because the 1640 will burn any media you throw at it, while my 1655 gives me trouble burning 8x +RW ritek discs.

The 1640 is IMO the better drive.
In fact, it’s one of the best drives ever. :slight_smile:

stay away from ritek disc’s :wink:

Thanks for all your replies.

So far the majority of the advice seems to be for the 1640. Anybody else would like to chime in with their experience against 1640 and in favor of 1650/1655 ?

Also, most of the feedback has been about the 1640 being the better burner. What about my other criteria on being the best reader/ripper especially for damaged/scratched discs ? Do any of these three 1640/1650/1655 far outshine the others in error handling/ripping ?


From what I read here 1640 must be a better drive. And it is better for almost anything out there. I get very good burns and the ripping speed is awesome without any patched firmware. But you must also use very good media to get very good results.I think this is the case with every drive.For important projects burn with lower speeds.

THE only solution is buy 1 of each :bigsmile:

I have a laptop with similar specs (IBM T40) and 80GB 4200rpm. It can hardly write to 12x via firewire with my normal setup, ie lots of programs installed hence around 40 processes.

I’m in for the 1655. :wink:

Also, most of the feedback has been about the 1640 being the better burner.
There’s some media that the 1640 burns slightly better (in my experience: TYG02, but insignificant) and there are some other media that the 1650/55 burns slightly better.

What about my other criteria on being the best reader/ripper especially for damaged/scratched discs? Do any of these three 1640/1650/1655 far outshine the others in error handling/ripping ?
I would say they are in the same league for reading slightly scratched discs. These drives are fast rippers by default so if you’re reading a scratched disc (or bad quality disc) then a slower ripper would be better. You can slow down the read speed within your ripper software if needed.

Note that for some SL movies (pressed) these drives will read at 4x.

My vote is for the 1640 crossflashed with the external firmware.

I’ve had all three drives, but they were all installed internally. The 1650/1655 drives performed virtually the same (with the exception of LightScribe), so you can probably just evaluate them as if they were the same drive.

It’s my feeling that the 1640 is a bit less quirky than the 1650/1655 drive. The 1650 seemed to slow down with each new firmware release - a bad sign. And it was never able to burn the 16X Philips CMC MAG +R discs properly, (SolidBurn on or off) while the 1640 produces great burns with these discs.

While it’s true that there are CDSpeed PIF spikes near the end of a 1640 16X burn, they never caused me any problems in real-life situations, so I believe that they can probably be safely discounted.

I would also recommend the 1640 , it simply burns any thig I throw at it with very good to excellent quality , also a fast ripper and an excellent reader , I have some discs that are badly scrached , left without cases and my room is very dusty and yet its TRT is almost always [B]perfect[/B]

Thanks for sharing your experiences, everybody.

Can anybody comment or provide me references on what are the advantages of cross-flashing to the 1640 external firmware ?

Also, somebody mentioned that the DL burn speed as well as SL/DL rip speed was higher for 1650/55 vs the 1640. Any comments/experience on that ?


jilebi, just take a look around forum and all your questions will be answered. :slight_smile:
Have you bough any drive yet? It might be easier for you once you have a drive on your hands.

zevia and others already answered you about “1640-external firmware”. Note though, the 164B firmware haven’t had an update for a looong time. Only use these firmware/s when you intend to put the drive in enclosure and together with high quality media. :wink:

By default, these drives transfer data at the ultra dma mode-2 rate (slow and safe). While this is usually adequate for most people when the drive is installed internally, it turns out that it is not quite fast enough to keep up to a 16X burn rate when the drive is installed externally.

The 1640 chipset can support [B]both[/B] udma mode 2 [B]and[/B] udma mode 4. But the standard 1640 firmware only configures it to use mode 2, since higher burst data rate is generally not necessary for internal drives. However, the 164B “external” firmware does enable mode 4 (possibly the only significant difference between the two firmwares).

So by using this external firmware in a 1640 connected externally, it’s often possible to achieve the full 16X burn rate.

Note that the 1640 drive is a bit picky about which external enclosures it likes to work with. With a little searching in this forum, you will probably find a thread or two that addresses this issue in more detail.

I remember when the 1650 drive was new, a lot of people (myself included) were expecting an external version to be released, along with a firmware that would also enable udma mode 4 for this drive. However, to date, this has not happened and it’s looking more and more like it never will.