My current drive is a LiteOn 451@832.
For the most part I've been happy with the drive but lately it's been acting up. Sometimes after I burn a disc the DVD players and computer software wont play them - computer software will say it's an empty disc and if I use the old version of KProbe it gives me an "incomplete border" error.
It's not doing this all the time, probably 1 out of 10 or so, but it looks like it's time to find another drive.
As I said, I've been happy for the most part. It seems to have been pickier on media than I'd like. When I first got it I bought some Ricoh +R discs at Wally World and it would burn them with a PI max near 200 and PO around 5. We have three of the same DVD Players (GE1101PAs) and they are very picky on burnt media and if the PIs went over about 150 they wouldn't play the discs, so I had a lot of coasters. I then tried some TY +Rs I bought off of eBay and though they would burn better - PIs around 70, our players didn't like them either (the disc id said they were TY, but I wonder if they weren't knock offs?). A friend gave me a couple Ritek G04 -Rs to try and, man, what a difference! They burnt with PI max's near -20- and POs 5 or less!
I stuck with the G04s and for the most part they burnt well. Usually always less than PI of 100 and more often than not 20 or less. The Ridata branded silver matt finished ones seemed to work the best.
A while back they quit carrying G04s so I ordered some G05s and they sucked big time (PIs upwards of 400!)! I sent them back and they sent me some TYG02 -Rs and they've been working OK. They usually start out with an PI of around 80 to 100 and then slope sharply downward for the first quarter of the disc, then they level off around 10 for the rest of the disc. Not a coaster in a couple spindles and they all play well. Still that high PI at the start is annoying, I've tried write strategy switches and stuff but can't seem to improve the burn.
I've liked my LiteOn, but I would like something that's not as picky on media.
I'm looking at the NEC 3500 or the Ben-Q 1620. In the reviews I've read the NEC seems faster and in the published tests a bit better at -R writing. The Ben-Q has auto bit setting for +R though and faster read speeds.
I'm leaning towards the Ben-Q, in fact if the -R writing tests in the reviews I read looked better I would buy it without a second thought. However I know that media is kinda variable, and it seems my drive needs to burn several before it starts to settle down and give better results so maybe the published rest results aren't really representative of what the drives actually do. Also, the reviews I've seen are a few months old so I'm wondering if there hasn't been some firmware upgrades to enhance the drives performance?
Soooo, here I am - asking the people who own and use these drives . . . would you mind sharing your thoughts and helping me make a decision?