I only released one beta 8 firmware. So when looking at the thread overview in the NEC forum, you should easily be able to find the thread about my beta firmwares - including a link to download beta 8.
Either the TDK 2C8 firmware (The Dangerous Brothers have released a riplock free, RPC1 version of that firmware with the NEC ID string, and there is a “SE” version of this firmware available which also supports Ritek DL at 4x; this firmware has the newest write strats), or the NEC / IODATA 2.27 Plus firmware (very reliable, but lacks Ritek DL support). If you intend to “overspeed” (= write faster than the certified speed) media, Liggy’s Beta8 firmware is the best choice (it’s based on the NEC / IODATA 2.27 firmware, but has a lot of write strategy tweaks).
The IODATA 2.27 firmware is directly from NEC, although it’s released by IODATA Japan for their rebadged NEC drive. It has newer write strats than the stock firmware (e.g. it support Ritek R03 DVD+R discs at 8x).
The TDK 2C8 firmware is from TDK Singapore. It’s made for the TDK 1616N, which is a rebadged NEC ND-3500, and supports more media for overspeeding, and has better support for the newest 16x media. Both are “official” as it gets for rebadged drives, and both support SL bitsetting (you don’t need the 2C8 SE version for bitsetting).
Now, when it comes to the modified versions of these two firmwares, the “Plus” version of the NEC / IODATA 2.27 firmware has the riplock removed and is region free (RPC1), but the write strategies are unmodified / the same.
The same applies for TDB version of the TDK 2C8 firmware: Riplock removed, and RPC1, but the write strats untouched. In addition to that, TDB have done a “cosmetic” modification by changing the ID string to the default NEC one (instead of TDK; you can get the TDB firmware with the TDK ID string also though). Some people like their drives to be shown as “NEC” instead of “TDK”.
The 2C8 SE version on the other hand has slightly modified write strategies. Here, some “anonymous” guy has added 4x support for Ritek DL media (default: 2.4x max only), the rest is untouched. Riplock is removed, and it’s region free also, of course.
Liggy’s Beta firmwares are all about tweaking the default write strategies (that’s the whole point), to achieve better write quality for media that is going to be written faster than the certified speed (–> experimental). His firmwares are the “most modified” ones of those listed.
So if you intend to flash your drive with “unmodified” firmware as far as the write strategies are concerned, yet you need to have the riplock removed and your drive to be region free, either flash your drive with the NEC / IODATA 2.27 Plus version, or The Dangerous Brothers 2C8 version (and not the 2C8 SE version, as explained above).
Reading your response, I am getting interested on "Plus Version of Firmware NEC/IODATA 2.17 you described as:
“Now, when it comes to the modified versions of these two firmwares, the “Plus” version of the NEC / IODATA 2.27 firmware has the riplock removed and is region free (RPC1), but the write strategies are unmodified / the same”
But according to the site of NEC Firmware:
“227_plus.zip - NEC ND-3500A 2.27 (from I-O DATA DVR-ABN16W), no riplock, RPC I, SL bitsetting, no Ritek D01 support”
The plus version of 2.17 of IODATA does not have RipLock. I don’t know which statement is correct, yours or the site?. Because my main interest in upgrading of the firmware is RipLock Removed portion in boosting my drive “Rip Speed”.
wow, this thread contains all the knowledge about nec’s 3500 firmwares nicely compressed in one thread! thanks to every contributor – i had a similar question like “a20” and now it’s answered. i think this thread really deserves a sticky!