I’d LOVE if one of the authority on recording sites would put out a comprehensive 16X shootout article! I’m really only considering the NEC or Pioneer as of now, but I’d like to see a FULL comparison of them all! Why wait for 16X media, when you could just append that detail?? Some 16X medias are available to the reviewers right now, anyway. You could just append the Plextor PX-716A and the like as they come down the pike…it’d be a GREAT resource guaranteed to bring the readers in like bears to honey! I’d also LOVE to see them run three versions of the NEC (stock, herrie’ed, liggy’ed) and two versions of the Pioneer (stock, >Nil:'ed). Boy, that would be TOO cool!
I’m no fan of online reviews when it comes to optical storage products, for various reasons. No offence to all the great people on this site (and elsewhere) doing their best to test drives, but a somewhat ‘objective’ review needs high end testing equipement that no ‘normal’ website can afford. Plextools / KProbe method to validate the burning quality is not enough IMHO.
This said, I personally prefer the judgements of other users in forums like these. Not because they have better ways to test discs, but the sheer number of users and their experience (good or bad) with certain products is usually a pretty good indicator of product quality.
The well known German c’t magazine is going to review 16x DVD writers in their next issue (released tomorrow earliest). They use high end equipement for their disc quality tests, and their reviews are normally very reliable. Check out the CDRLabs forums for a translation by MediumRare.
Here’s some stuff about a bunch of 16x writers: http://www.dvd-recordable.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=111
I got my hands on the newest c’t magazine. Of all drives tested (Asus DRW-1604P, BenQ DW-1620, LiteOn SOHW-1633S, LG GSA-4160B, NEC ND-3500A, NuTech DDW-163, Philips DVDR1640K, Pioneer DVR-A08, Teac DV-W516G), the NEC ND-3500 has the best burning quality (tested with 2.16 stock firmware). It is the only drive that got a “+” in the DVD burning quality category (for DVD-R burning) also. NEC’s good support for the current 8x DVD media on the market is the strenght of the drive. As far as 16x media is concerned, the NEC does not seem to like MCC (Verbatim) 16x DVD+R media (same for all other drives btw; the MCC 16x discs seem to have quality issues still), and prefers Ritek and Philips discs that can be burned with good results. A surprise to me is the rather poor result of the drive with MKM DL discs burned at 4x speed (instead of 2.4x), but I think that this has to do with the poor support of the 2.16 firmware for DL media in general (the later firmwares are better in this respect).
Finally, the reading capabilities of the NEC drive are rather average (and the drive is not good at handling copy protected audio CDs), same for the burning speed (slow at 8x speed, fast at 12x and 16x).
In conclusion, I have to say this review hasn’t surprised me a bit. IMHO, the NEC ND-3500 is the best allround drive for burning DVDs on the market atm. I expect MediumRare to post a more detailed translation of the whole review in the CDRLabs forums soon. If not, I might translate and post it myself, if I just weren’t such a lazy bastard…
WOW!!! This confirms what we have been saying all along!!!
Wish that they had tested with some TY’s to validate all the other stuff…
They did test 8x TY discs (I just didn’t mention it)! They burned all the discs they tested the drives with at the max. speed the drives allowed them to. Their conclusion is that the TY 8x DVD+R discs should be burned at 12x max. on the NEC ND-3500 (and not at 16x), since that still guarantees good burning quality, and it’s just a little bit slower. 16x is too much for them, the burning quality is not acceptable at that speed anymore.
The drive had some (very) good results with Ritek G05s (DVD-R), Maxell RG03s (DVD-R), Maxell 002s (DVD+R), Ricoh R02s (DVD+R), Mitsubishi MCC003s (DVD+R) as well, that’s almost all discs tested. Mitsubishi 02RG20s (DVD-R) should not be burned at 12x either, disc quality is not acceptable at that speed either.
The general conclusion about “overspeeding” therefore is that you should avoid doing it if quality is your main concern. However, TY media is the best choice if you are going to do it anyway (12x max.).
Another general conclusion of the review I didn’t mention yet is that Ritek DL media should definitely be avoided for now, not a single drive achieved acceptable burning quality with those discs.
Did they test with the stock FWs or latest hacked FWs?
Latest official firmware, of course (for the NEC ND-3500 this means stock 2.16 firmware). No reputable magazine is going to review drives with hacked / modified firmware, for various obvious reasons (warranty void being the most important one).