My experience with Sony DRU-820A

I’ve been playing with a new Sony DRU-820A last night, and here are some of the results.

I will post quality scans of several media types, comparing identical media (from the same pack, or in a few cases, another pack purchased at the same time) in DRU-820A and another burner or two, with selection determined in most cases by my own burning habits.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete test where each disc is a full 4.37 GB. Some of these are test burns, others are ISO burns. Most, but not all are burns at the rated speed of each media. All were done with CD-DVD speed.

All discs were scanned with the same drive, a BenQ DW1620, at the same speed (8x), in order to eliminate scanning differences.

I will give my overall opinion of this drive at the end, but you are welcome to draw your own conclusions.

Now, with all this out of the way, here are the quality scans, in alphabetical order by media code.

First, Memorex 8x -R media, CMC MAG. AE1.

In order of appearance:

Pioneer DVR-A09XL (NEC chipset) at 12x
BenQ DQ60 (Panasonic chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1640 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

DQ60 and DRU-820A perform quite acceptably, but significantly worse than the other drives.

Next, Verbatim 8x +R media, MCC 003.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

Both drives perform remarkably well, but DW1655 has an edge, with much lower PIEs and jitter.

Verbatim 16x +R media, MCC 004.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 16x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 16x

Again, excellent performance by both drives, with DW1655 slightly ahead, with marginally lower PIEs and jitter.

Verbatim 16x -R media, MCC 03RG20.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 16x
LG GSA-4163B (Hitachi/Mitsubishi chipset) at 16x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 16x

Similarly good performance by DW1655 and GSA-4163B, with DRU-820A far behind, producing only a marginal disc.

Verbatim 2.4x +R DL media, MKM 001.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1640 (Philips chipset) at 4x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 6-8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 6x

Good performance by all drives, with all results within the normal variation this media exhibits. DRU-820A supports this media at 2.4x, 4x, and 6x; 8x is not available with 1.0a firmware.

Maxell 8x -R media, MXL RG03.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DQ60 (Panasonic chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

Good performance by all drives, with DQ60 somewhat behind.

Ridata 2.4x +R DL media, RITEK D01.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 4x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 4x

This media is difficult for most burners due to very dark Ritek dye. DW1655 burn used a RITEK D03 strategy, while DRU-820A supported this media at 4x with its factory-installed firmware. The results look bad but the both discs are readable at high speed. DW1655 performed slightly better in this case.

Dynex 8x +R media, RITEK R03.

In order of appearance:

Pioneer DVR-A09XL (NEC chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 12x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

This media uses a dark dye and exhibits high PIEs in all readers. All three drives performed similarly well.

Sony 16x +R media, SONY D21.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 16x
LG GSA-4163B (Hitachi/Mitsubishi chipset) at 16x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 16x

Similar performance by all drives, with DRU-820A slightly behind with noteceably more PIEs.

TDK 16x -R media, TTH02.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DQ60 (Panasonic chipset) at 16x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 16x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 16x

DQ60 and DRU-820A are far behind DW1655 with many more PIFs on this good-quality media.

Fujifilm 8x -R media, TYG02.

In order of appearance:

BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1620 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

DW1655 and DW1620 performed very well, while two DRU-820A burns show signs of struggle that shouldn’t be apparent with this excellent media. Both discs burned by DRU-820A show PO failures in 8x scanning, although they are readable during a transfer rate test when the reading drive is allowed to slow down and retry.

Fujifilm 8x +R media, YUDEN000 T02 [TG001125].

In order of appearance:

Pioneer DVR-A09XL (NEC chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

This mid-2004 batch of YUDEN000 T02 with stamper code TG001125 has a characteristic PIF spike at 0.5 GB and I test it separately from other YUDEN000 T02s. All three drives perform well.

TDK 8x +R media, YUDEN000 T02 [TG001133].

In order of appearance:

Plextor PX-716A (Sanyo chipset) at 8x
BenQ DQ60 (Panasonic chipset) at 8x
BenQ DW1655 (Philips chipset) at 8x
Sony DRU-820A (Panasonic chipset) at 8x

This batch of YUDEN000 T02 with stamper code TG001133 has been burning very well. DQ60 shows some signs of trouble, and DRU-820A again exhibits slightly elevated PIEs at the beginning. Excellent performance by DW1655 and DRU-820A.

This concludes today’s scans. Now my opinion, as promised.

I am not inclined to keep this drive. It is a definite improvement over DQ60, but not enough to put it above only average.

While it shows admirable performance with Mitsubishi and Taiyo Yuden +R media, it also shows troubling signs with several high-quality -R media types such as TYG02 and MCC 03RG20. It refused to burn TTG02 discs that performed very well in all other drives, twice failing with a seek error 0.5-0.7 GB into a burn.

Frankly, if I want to entertain myself with unpredictable performance, DQ60 is more fun. And if I am looking to burn data I’d like to keep, this is not the drive I would pick, even where it’s at its peak performance. For every media type, I already have a drive that performs equally well and in the majority of cases, significantly better.

Hi :slight_smile:
Thanks for the input agent009. :clap: :iagree:
From what I’ve seen this is one drive that probably won’t make it into my setup.

Nice work agent009 and very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the “review” agent009. :wink:

Looks like BenQ has a lot of work to do before the Matsushita/Panasonic chipset can rival the Philips Nexperia in terms of flexibility.:frowning:

Regards,
TerminalVeloCD