HUGE problems with GWA-4164B, need help ASAP

ok so i got this dell dimension 5150 in january, it runs 512mb ram, and has like a 160 gb hard drive with P4 3 ghz, and its a fairly nice pc, compared to my previous windows xp 128mb ram 40 gb set-up, but anyways. I have the GWA-4164B dvd burner and it always worked fine, up until around may and then it started producing this dark ring on the disc about 1 inch from the center. Leaving the dvd playable buy un-copiable. Basically leaving it with a “skip” aka an error. So i contacted Dell they told me to try reverting my system and i went back to may 30, same thing. Today i went back as fas as i could, which was april 1 or sumthing i think, and same thing. I was using DVD Shrink and DVD Encrypter, never a problem, so i switched programs tried IMGBurn, DeepBurn, and Nero. I switched media from Memorex to Maxell, and i got a few discs okay. But its still doing the same. I have searched and searched but nothing, i checked the DMA/PIO, and it was ok, changed media programs/media, EVERYTHING, Dell insisted that it probably isn’t a prob with the burner where as I think it is. Can anyone help me out?

i included a PHOTOSHOPED image to give an idea, not the actual disc but sumwhat what the line would look like.

Hello Asylum and welcome to the forum,

Can you try with some media other than Memorex or Maxell? Neither of those may be good quality media. Don’t get conned by the brand names.

Memorex was actually owned by a company in Hong Kong, until very recently. They do not produce their own media but get other random companies to make media for them and then just put their name on the discs. Unfortunately, the media they use is usually of rather low quality. They don’t use the same companies to make discs for them at one time either, so you can buy the same type of Memorex discs at different times and end up with totally different media.

Maxell does produce its own media in Japan, which is of good quality but the problem is that the factories in Japan can only produce a small amount of media. This is not enough to meet worldwide demand, so instead Maxell has contracted a Taiwanese company, Ritek to make media for it. A lot of the Maxell media you buy is probably made by Ritek. Unfortunately, Ritek media is not of particularly good quality. It is hard to tell whether you are getting Maxell or Ritek media from the packaging.

See if you can get your hands on some Verbatim media and test with those. Another good idea would be to just buy one or two DVD+RW/-RW discs and use those for test burns. You can always erase and reuse them later.

try better media, i have seen this before with bad media

yeah tried Verbatim today, same thing. Any other helpful suggestions?

RMA your device.


I agree with SaboCD. If you experience the same problems even with Verbatims, it looks like the drive is at fault.

RMA My Device? RMA means what sorry?

Send the drive back to Dell for repairs - the drive is probably faulty. You’re not the only one who has had problems with this model. Other people here have had complaints with it as well.

yeha i talked to dell last week, they INSIST its not a prob with the drive but prob with windows, but i am 90% sure its the drive, hopefully when i call they will be more open to my opinion.

I have the exact same problem, i also have a dell 5150 with the exact same drive. It was burning fine on fujifilm 8x but did have some troubles burning with a small faint ring appearing early on. Then no problems for a while and now really bad rings are appearing in the exact same spot. Using Nero 7 the dvd’s that become toast are the ones that only have the option to write at 4x. Sometimes I can eject and put the disc back in and it will give me the option to write at 8x at which i jump at the situation because it burns at that speed okay with no ring, sadly however most of the rest in the 100 pack fujifilm dvd’s are only writable at 4x.
I also have sony 16x which most of the time gives me an option of 16x 12x 8x 4x. Obviously I’ll select 16x and the burn is okay. But sometimes when i select the sony disc I’ll only get 4x which may be after i’ve just inserted a fujifilm disc with the 4x option. So 4x doesn’t seem to work unless i’ve been given the option.
I’m staring to think the drive is at fault but also may be a software problem. As the drive only writes properly when the options are available to me.

I’m thinking of getting a new drive. Any thoughts?