I have read about issues with the TLA 0203 drive on this forum. I just hopped up to bestbuy and bought the only revision they had, the 0203. Should I return this drive and wait till they have a 0304?
This is my third DVD burner. I will not tolerate even the slighest flaw in this purchase. I have a bit of a DVD horror story
My first one was a Sony DRU-510A, paid 300 dollars for it, thought I had the best thing in the world. My first one's firmware (1.0b) literally ERASED itself. Started a burn, it locked up nero, had to do a hard power off power on to get it to stop (ctrl alt del, end task was not working on nero, and soft reboot was not working either). Rebooted, the drive's light kept blinking on and off, the firmware version in the BIOS said "BOOT" and the drive would not eject or be recognized in windows or anything. Dead. Called Sony, found out that their support is horrible, and that it would take 1 entire month to get me a new drive. So i just returned the drive from the internet store I bought it at. I RMAed it, and because I needed to burn DVDs right at the moment, I jumped out to bestbuy and bought another one, this time patching the firmware to 1.0c, as the issue with the firmware erasing itself was fixed in that version. Burned a lot of DVDs, and was happy. They read perfectly... for a while. About a month later some of the discs (these are file CDs, not DVD Video discs) would only read in the Sony drive, taking hours to copy the data off them (I could hear the laser position reset. It would move it all the way to the center, then all the way back to where it was reading... reminding me of the click of death thing zip drives make, but without the click). Then one day I tried to copy a disc, and not even the Sony drive could read it. The next day, it read it fine. Another day, it couldn't read it. Wether or not the drive could read the disc varied with the room temperature... Need I note that I didn't get my money back for the drive I RMAed back? The company I bought it from did not pay me back, did not respond to my emails, and their could not get through to customer support because after the 8 hour hold time, both of my cordless phones ran out of power. I had to go to the bank and FIGHT to get my money back... it was a NIGHTMARE.
I decided it was time for a new DVD burner. Reading good things about Lite-On and wanting to be able to run KProbe, I bought a Lite-On 812S. Burned a couple DVDs (same media, btw) and they worked just fine. I wanted to find out how bad the sony drive's burns were. I burned a DVD, and scanned it. Average PI was about 300 with the last quarter of the disc going up to about 900-1400. Average PIF was about 80, with the last quarter of the disc going to about 160-200. Absolutely, hideously terrible. Scanned the same media burnt with my new Lite-On. Average PI was 120 or so, average PIF was about 19. Not bad, not bad. I also tried another type of media with the Sony, and the results were just as bad. I also tried different firmwares, to no avail. After many burns with the Lite-On, one disc would not read right after burning... so I scanned it with KProbe and average PI was 220 and average PIF was 120... WTF! After that there weren't many problems... until... Every disc I burnt after a while started having tiny spikes. Say, for example, on a scan there was an average 15 PIF, the graph would have four spikes of around 200... and sometimes certain parts of the disc (where the spikes were) would not read... absolutlely unacceptable! Then, I tried flashing to unofficial firmwares and the best I found was... ironicly... flashing it to the Sony DRU-700A firmware... It supressed the PIF spikes to about 80 rather than 200 and reduced the average PI to about 30 and average PIF to about 3-8. Still not great, but way better than before.
Now, I burn an insane amount of DVDs, mostly anime from streamload that I have to pay to get. The last thing I want on my mind is that my drawerfull of 150 DVDs could be unreadable. I need, absolutely NEED a reliable burner. So, I decided to get a Plextor and possibly reburn all 150 DVDs whilst feeling wallet-stabbing pains. After all, if you add up all the money I have lost on bad DVD drives and ruined media that's about 500-600 bucks in the dumpster.
Thus, I am in need of help. If this TLA 0203 has even the slightest flaw, I do not want it, I already have two flawed burners and am not going to pay $130 bucks and $60 in media just to make a second set of unreliable burns.
A warning to everyone:
Boycott Sony... or at least NEVER buy any product from them unless its like the 60th revision. They make the worst quality crap I have ever seen in my life. Sony always uses cheap parts, and cuts corners, just look at the PS1, the PS2, and their burners! The reason they are so rich is probably cause they sell cheap crap at really high prices and hide the fact that they use crap parts very well. I had problems with my PS2 as well, had to have it serviced cause I suffered from the extremely widespread "Read Error" problem that they do not even admit to as being their fault! That PS2 scratched almost every single one of my games as well... (circular scratches... the WORST kind).
Edit: some spelling and grammer fixes