Magazine pans BenQ DW1650

PC User magazine in Australia just reviwed double-layer DVD burners and gave their top award to the LG GSA-4167B.

Here’s what they had to say about the BenQ DW1650:

"Unlike many other burners from BenQ, the new DW1650 leaves out HP’s LightScribe technology and therefore has a reasonable low price tag.

"Howere the odd thing from our tests on this drive was the comparatively poor (although still within spec) disc burn it produced. With over 161,000 PI errors and a PI error peak of 57, it didn’t exactly kjnock us over with its burn quality. To its credit, it still managed to stay on the right side of the specs.

"In temrs of burn speed, the DW1650 was almost half a minute faster than the Sony internal drive (a rebaded DW1640), although it was still a minute slower than the LG GSA-4167B. In terms of nominal maximum burn speeds, the DW1650, like the LG, only supports DVD-R double-layer discs at 4x, compared with 8x for the leading drives, so that also drops it down just a fraction.

Its price tag makes this one of the cheaper drives on the market, but despite BenQ pushing its SolidBurn technology, the burn quality here was not the best. Even with excellent media, the burn quality didn’t do enough for us to confidently use it for mastering or archiving."

Other people I’ve spoken to have been very impressed with the burn quality, and even find the output tends to have fewer problems being read on other devices.

Any clues?

How does that magazine test? “161,000 PI errors” with which media, which drive for scanning, at what scanning speed?

Tests of the German c’t magazine that uses CATS analysers for their very extensive tests (more here) definitely say otherwise. The BenQ DW 1650 (1655) is simply the best burner for single layer DVD media on the market atm., both speed and burn quality wise, but has its weaknesses when it comes to RW and DL media, at least with the current firmware(s). Furthermore, Solid Burn verifiably improved burn quality, and is recommended for known media as well.

This complies with the vast majority of user reports here and elsewhere.

Computer Shopper (UK) isn’t bowled over by the BenQ either…

You need to remember they only get one drive to test, here we can have a more defined test as we can have hundreds of people with the drive making comments on it. A much better sample than the PC mags get.

A fellow member directed me to this review: http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/Reviews/Specific.aspx?ArticleId=16050&PageId=25

that got the ‘editors choice’.

I don’t know. I’m not bowled over by my 1650. Its giving “good” quality burns and scans, but my 1655 is simply “amazing”. I don’t know if it just needs another firmware revision, but the dozen or so test CD’s I’ve made aren’t exactly up to par with what I have found my 1655 to be.

edit: Not Test CD’s… Test DVDs. Geez I need more coffee this morning.

Absolutely. And a much wider spectrum of hardware / system configurations and every possible type of media (good and bad) burnt using real-world scenarios. A much better and reliable source of info IMO.

The difference between the quality of the 1650 and the 1655 is pretty intriguing though. I don’t have a 1655 myself. Has anyone else noticed this?

For what it’s worth, both my drives are OEM drives shipped with the Retail firmware (B-series). None of my drives have been crossflashed, but the 1655 has had a firmware upgrade.

Is the 1650 also running the latest firmware (BCDC)?

Do you have an online link to the article? Do you know what media used that produced those amount of PI errors?

LG 4167B is a great drive and CD Freaks gave a “Safe Buy Award” in November 2005. This award is a step below CD Freaks Editors Choice, basically because the drive cannot do quality scanning and read speed is low (10x/8x for DVD SL/±R and DL).

The DW1650, on the other hand, is capable for quality scanning and higher read speed. Overall burn quality really depends on the variety of media tested during review.

Yes, it was manufactured 2/06 shipped from Newegg and contains the BCDC firmware.

Please do not get me wrong, it burns well. I was just expecting a “1655” in a $35 package. I hope a firmware update will fix things, but I’m just not getting the type of scans that others get with TY002 and MCC004 media (thats all I’ve tested so far). I’ve picked up some TY03’s and some Sony d21 just now and doing some tests with my 1655 and 1650 to see what differences appear.

The scans look “alright” done on the 1650, but they look better if I burn on 1650 and scan on 1655. Perhaps I should have not posted in this thread since I do not agree that this drive is junk, but I did have very high expectations given the supposed identical hardware (minus lightscribe). :slight_smile:

This just indicates that your DW1655 is a better reader than your DW1650. It could have been the other way around, since hardware wise, both drives are identical, and the difference in firmware should be minimal, if there is any. Even with two DW1655s, variations in burn quality and reading abilities like you described are definitely possible, and not unusual at all.

The DW1655 is not a ‘better’ writer than the DW1650 per se. Period.

Its price tag makes this one of the cheaper drives on the market, but despite BenQ pushing its SolidBurn technology, the burn quality here was not the best. Even with excellent media, the burn quality didn’t do enough for us to confidently use it for mastering or archiving

maybe they shld have a look at the scans here done on the Benq 1650!! I am sure their eyes will pop out! :smiley:

Wouldn’t happen. When a PC mag gets a piece of hardware to test they tend to do tests on one or two PCs they have in their office, as this gives them complete control over the hardware and software used.

Using the scans here to help their conclusions would have been flawed as very few people put such detailed info in scan posts such as specs, software and what they have running in the background in their posts. If people did then maybe the review writers could use such posts here to helpo as secondary info for forming conclusions.

Using the scans here to help their conclusions would have been flawed as very few people put such detailed info in scan posts such as specs, software and what they have running in the background in their posts. If people did then maybe the review writers could use such posts here to helpo as secondary info for forming conclusions.

I didnt quite get ur point… but thats another thing…all i know is that the Benq 1650 is an excellent drive!!

So far my tests indicates that my BenQ 1620/1640 read scratched/troubled DVD’s better than my BenQ 1655. As far as burning goes I am still testing but so far 1655 is being slightly better with cd and dvd SL and 1640 better with DL. I don’t know about the LG 4167b, but my Benq’s all are better than my other 5 dvd burners.

Absolutely correct. I’m really not displeased, but I regularly got 98/99 quality scans with my 1655 and I have yet to hit that mark with my 1650. Its close, but not quite there. :slight_smile:

My concerns is this: With my 1655 I don’t get the PIF clumps or the PIE spikes at the 3GB+ mark. I’m convinced a firmware update will correct my issues. Thats all I’m sayin. :slight_smile: