Newbie Questions Galore!

As you can see from my post count I am somewhat of a newbie. :wink:

I recently purchased a Dell system with the Philips DVD8631 on it, which after reading a little here, is apparently a rebadged BenQ DW1620. I started reading up on this drive but the amount of information is overwhelming, considering this is my first DVD burner and the terminology and such is different then with the old CD Burner I’ve had for years.

Below are a couple of the questions I have…

[li]Updating firmware? How, why?
[/li][li]Best type of media to use?
[/li][li]Any other suggestions tips?

I have really tried reading over all the information available on this site, which by the way, kicks some serious tail! Any information or help would be greatly appreciated!



First of all - welcome to the forums-

In answer to your questions -

-If you update to Dells latest firmware for your drive - you are OK - If you go to a hacked firmware or firmware other than Dells - you run the grave risk of voiding your warranty for the whole system-

Best type media - assuming that you are in USA - is Ritek, Taiyo Yuden, Sony, Verbatim or Maxell (lurk on the Benq forum and see what works best for others on their 1620’s) - best vendors for media are - -

-Other suggestions/tips - read these forums and gain knowledge for the care and feeding of your new system-

Happy Burnin’



  1. go through the 10 points listed @ [ you may not be a newbie, but the trouble is, and might be related to one or more of the listed items ]. note: very important to keep the transfer mode on IDE channels in DMA mode. check them every now and then as the transfer mode can change without you being notified. see this MS article

  2. a) know your drive’s capabilities. use nero info tool or dvdinfopro to discover them. also go to the drive maker’s website and find out what media types and brands, and at what speeds to those media types, the drive supports. [ eg., my pioneers 107, 108 and 109 can burn to dvd-rw 4x @ 4x without trouble, but my optorite 401 can only burn @ 2x to dvd-rw 4x even though Optorite, Nero and other burning programs will allow the drive to burn @ 4x and will produce a “successfull” disc @ 4x…but the result is a coaster ]. and that’s one reason why i always recommend you use a burning program that allows you to change the burn speed just prior to clicking the BURN button, unlike, say, sonic recordnow!, because it has the burn speed options ONLY in the main options’ setup. b) update the firmware of the drive. also, you may need a firmware or utility that will allow you to booktype your burned +r/rw dvds to dvd-rom. check for updates @

  3. a) try another brand of CD/DvD disc. b) try burning at lower speed. eg., don’t burn at 24x to 16x media even if you are allowed to choose 24x; burn according to MEDIA speed limits, don’t try to burn at the cd/dvd drive’s max speed until you are certain that you can do so without negative consequences.

  4. a) disable and/or uninstall any virtual drives. b) install an aspi layer. you may never need it. but it can’t hurt. my preferred aspi is v460. get it @

  5. a) update the burning program you are using to the latest release. b) uninstall any recently installed software. c) do a virus scan, and a scan with spybot s & d [ get it @ ]

  6. for XP or Win2K users, optimise your operating system Services for best system performance. for info go to and

  7. before burning, open taskmanager and shutdown ALL unneeded processes that are running. DON’T commence a virus scan or a defrag just prior to, or during a burn.

  8. a) try another burning software and see if you get a better result. deepburner standard is free. get it @ so is ht fireman @ [only burns data to dvd at the moment] b) for users of alcohol 120%, update to the latest drives support DLL [ look for topic “Alcohol 120% Device Support Patch Released” @ ] c) if you have multiple burning softwares installed, uninstall them all, then install one. test it. install another if needed. test it, and so on…

  9. a) make sure mainboard chipset drivers and BIOS firmware are up to date. make sure all cables and jumpers connected to drives are correctly configured with regard to master/slave setup. b) remove junk files from your hard drive/s. also remove useless entries from the registry. try hdcleaner @
    mru-blaster @
    regseeker @ c) know what programs & services are schedulded to run at startup; you should eliminate ALL the uneeded ones using Startup Control Panel @ + services.msc [as mentioned above] you can also try the disk clean batch file i use @

  10. enter your BIOS and disable anything you don’t use. eg. i disable COM ports, serial ports, game ports etc. also the parallel port because i use a USB printer. note that if it’s an external USB drive that is giving you grief, some BIOS options include a USB voltage setting. set it to HIGH and see if this helps. also be sure you have it plugged-in to a usb 2 port, not a 1.1 usb port. DON’T plug it into the usb port where a usb mouse normally plugs into. also, if the external case has an IEEE 1394/Firewire option, try it instead.
    set memory speeds to default. set cpu speed to default. if you overclock, DON’T [ until you are certain that overclocking is not the cause of the trouble ].

  11. if you still cannot fix the problem, try the drive, or the CD/DvD disc you are having problems with, in another PC that has no burning issues [ if possible ]

  12. Disable autorun…unless you really need it for some purpose. for XP users go to start/run/type REGEDIT.EXE then click OK
    press Ctrl+F, type NoDriveTypeAutoRun in the box/find next
    doubleclick the highlighted key and replace the HEX value with b5
    repeat for each NoDriveTypeAutoRun key found. reboot.

  13. Two other settings to consider changing, but ONLY if you never use Windows’ in-built CD
    burning function [ie. you only ever use nero, roxio, intervideo etc. to burn cd/dvd]. Rightclick on your cd/dvd drive icons in My Computer/properties/recording and clear the Enable CD recording on this drive box. Note that this WILL NOT cause your 3rd party burning programs to malfunction - it only disables Windows’ in-built cd burning capabilities. now go to start/run type services.msc and hit ENTER, scroll to IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service, doubleclick it, disable it, apply/ok.’s also a good idea to try an arrange the device IRQ assignment so that each device on your system has it’s own IRQ. this is not always possible or user-configurable. however, on a modern PC running Windows XP Pro you can try the following.

a. enter your BIOS and look for a setting/option similar to “plug and play operating system” . you need to set this option to No or Disable. this allows the BIOS to assign IRQs to devices instead of Windows. there might also be an option like “allow BIOS to assign IRQ”. Enable it.

b. restart. open device manager/view/resources by type/interrupt request

note that in the above image all my devices have thier own IRQ ? this was not always the case; my NVIDIA GeForce and my Realtek NIC were both sharing IRQ 16 and my Realtek Sound device and a couple of USB controllers were sharing IRQ 18. so what i did was disable the USB controllers [ see below ] as i never need them. i also put my Realtek NIC into another PCI slot.

Anyway, see what you can do. maybe you’ll only be able to reduce the devices sharing an IRQ from 3 to 2. Better than nothing . Trial and error will get you through. if you disable your mouse or keyboard etc. just renable it.

First, thanks for the quick response.

Would you just go to Dell’s website to update the firmware? Is it as simple as downloading an executable and running it?

Yes, I’m in the US so I would probably be shopping either online or at Best Buy. Since I’ve never burned a dvd I am wanting to make sure I get good media as the stuff is too expensive to be making coasters!


Best bet is real Taiyo Yuden 8x from - it is “A” grade and the vendow is surpurb IMO-

Yup - get your firmware from Dell-


princo have an A Grade too :wink:

600 pack Princo (Grade A) DVD-R 4.7GB 4X DVDR Blank Media
Product Code: DVD01X0070-600600 pack Princo (Grade A) DVD-R 4.7GB 4X DVDR Blank Media more…

Yo Ghosters-

Some times you amaze me-

Why would you even say this in a newbie forum?? - You may lead some poor newbie soul astray-


hee,hee…some people like princo a grade…in fact i get them especially for data dvds…cos they are cheap
read on…

If you are in the US, I would avoid princo at all costs unless you know for sure that it is real princo. Read G)-(osters post on what is real princo. Thier is lots of princo stuff avalable in the US that is total crap.

Thanks for the replies…I’ll probably stick with the safer alternative of TY I suppose. That Rima site looked good and the resellerratings are high as well. Might be picking up the 100pk today to start my burning “adventures”. haha


Very SMART move on your part-

You are gonna love that media and Rima treats everyone right (as per the ratings)-

Happy Burnin’


I also have the dell Philips8631, with the current dell (CD21) firmware. The drive seems to eat everything I throw in it, and I get great burns, even when I burn 4x media at 8x. The only problem I have with the drive is it’s cd abilities. It will not read a copy of a copy protected cd. My Pioneer a07 will read the cd. But for burning, not much beats the the 8631/1620. Fantastic burn quality.

What media have you been using harley?

Oh, another newbie question…what happens when I run out of attempts to change my region settings? It says something about having 4 tries left??

the world becomes one region again and we all live in peace and happiness…or you install anydvd and/or a rpc-1 firmware

I would just set it to whatever reigon you are in and leave it (don’t keep changing it). You can use software like G)-(osters said to get past region problems.

I don’t plan on changing it anymore unless I had to, which I have no clue as to why I would need to. It was just interesting that it sets the number of times you can change it. Almost like you are paying for a license to use the dvd burner rather than actually owning the hardware and doing with it as you please.

I really need to try to burn some dvds this weekend, I’m getting antsy! haha I may ride out to Best Buy in a bit and just pick up a 10 pack or whatever to give it a try. :slight_smile:

Dude! That is NOT OK.

You’ve just lost all my respect for trying to mislead Newbies.

PRINCO A-GRADE wouldn’t even pass kindergarten.

Use high-quality media like Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi, or Maxell.

Taiyo Yuden comes as “That’s”, or “Fuji” commonly.
Mitsubishi is commonly labelled as Verbatim Datalife PLUS (the normal datalife is usually crap).
Maxell i don’t commonly buy.

Check out the media forum for a little more (detailed) information concerning media.

Remember, if Media price seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Expect to pay $0.8us for good quality media in spindles. More with cases.
It’ll save heartache and trouble later.

It’s a very common story to hear about people refreshing (reburning) their entire DVD collection to high quality media because 6months down the track, all their DVD’s are already deteriating, making them lose information/proggies/etc.

Yo debro-

Thank You-

I agree 100%-


I had to go out to Best Buy tonight so I picked up some of those Fuji’s that were on sale for $19.99 for 50. These are the MIJ versions too so from the comments on another thread they seem to be the good ones.

I really want to test one of these to see but I want to make sure that testing isn’t actually writing anything to the disc at all? These things are too expensive to test a whole lot on, ya know? haha I downloaded CDSpeed but when I do the disc quality section the “Start” button is greyed out and not available? Of course I didnt download the manual either and now I’m trying to find that link again! Newbie?? Definitely so!

Well I have Nero 6 on my machine and it already had the CDSpeed installed so I had the manual but now my next question. Does the DVD you are testing for quality need to have data of some sort on it first? Its giving me a “Cannot simulate with this type of disc. Please use the Create Data Disc function to measure the write performance.”?