NEC 3500a or Pioneer DVR-108

NEC 3500a cost = $85 shipped
Pioneer cost = $90 shipped

I’ve tried to find reviews online, but they aren’t that great yet because the firmware’s are young. From what I understand, the Pioneer cannot do bitsetting, but then again, I don’t even know what that is?

From the reviews, here is what I understand about the differences:

NEC Pros: $5 cheaper, uses 16X CAV burning instead of Z-CLV like the Pioneer (better quality burns?) Able to bitset (once again, I don’t know if this is important)

Pioneer Pros: Burns 16x faster because it starts burning @ 6x instead of 4x like the NEC. Apparently pioneer has a better reputation for working with various media (less picky than the NEC?)

Uhg, help me decide =( I’m sure they are both good drives, I just want to be able to burn the highest quality discs at 8x and higher and work with a lot of DVD players, I am not really worried about Dual Layer discs because they cost so much.

Thanks guys, I need to place the order today =)

Wrong, the Pioneer is faster at slower speeds, e.g. 8x, for the reason you mentioned. At 16x speed, NEC’s CAV writing strategy is faster. The second assumption is wrong as well, both drives support a vast variety of media, actually I’d say the NEC does a bit (just a bit) better in this field, especially with modified firmware / write strategy. NEC is anything but a picky drive.

I’m sure they are both good drives…

That sums it up pretty well. If you need bitsetting, you have no choice and have to get the NEC. If not, both drives are excellent choices.

I would go with the NEC simply because of being able to flash it to enable bitsetting …
But i agree they are both exellent drives…

I am pretty sure the Pioneer will have a bitsetting option before long. It is already pre-set to burn D/L DVD+Rs with the booktype set as DVD-ROM though.
I personally prefer the Pioneer drives simply because I only use Ritek DVD-R. Not saying the NEC or other burners can’t burn them but Pioneer do have the best track record with successful burns/results on Ritek DVD-R. I have to agree though that at this point it is a toss-up between the two. Just go with the one that you feel will give you the most of what you want.

…one month later…

So, how does the situation look like now? I spent 7 hrs yesterday browsing through the forum, reading about the 3500A and the 108, trying to figure out which one to get. But I’m more confused than ever, all I know it that they are both pretty decent drives.

But, now, in plain words and please, objective opinions only (maybe some links with comparisons, the only one I found was the infamous ExtremeMHz review which does not consider writing quality):

  • Does the NEC 3500A have true 4x or is it just overclocked?
  • Which one has the better writing qualities for DVD+R/-R (from what I read that would be the NEC)?!?
  • Which one has better support/ official firmwares (eg RPC-1, Bitsetting, no rip-lock) (108?)?
  • Which ‘hacked’ firmware is the best if you’re looking for an all-inclusive (very good writing strategies, RPC-1/region free, Bitsetting for SL/DL, rip-lock) (2c8se (TDK) for the 3500A?) ???
  • Which one is most likely to support 8x DL when it comes out Q1/2005?