Soon (perhaps in less than 20 hours) I will have more BenQ DW1620 (Pro) drives than Lite-On SOHW-1613S. Still about 10% more expensive than back-imported LG GSA-4163B but I can have five DW1620 for about the price of two Plextor PX-716A. Also cheaper than ONE Sony DRU-500A that I bought two years ago. Since BenQ has not entered South Korea (can’t compete in LG and Samsung home market), I expect I will have to give up any hope of warranty in case of hardware failures, but I haven’t had any failure among about 150 DVD writers I had. The unfortunate thing is that I had to wait nearly one year for DW1620 to become this cheap in Seoul. BenQ should be merged with Lite-On IT as I once said.
Why order 5?
Because the unit cost is 58,000 Won. So I wanted the total cost to end in four straight 0’s. (280,000 Won, that is.)
Plus, 30 drives is too many because I never tried installing over 25 or so optical drives at once to one PC, and one or two more is too few because sometimes I would like to scan more than a few disks at once. One of my PCI P-ATA controllers supports up to 12 DVD writers at once, 6 channels and two unit per channel, one as master and the other as slave. Many of my power supply units (used in single PSU configuration) can support at least that many.
I also considered the first DVD writer I bought, NEC ND-1100A (IO Data versio) costed me about 300,000 Won so spending a little less than 300,000 Won for the best write quality scanner I can have can’t be a waste of money.
But you can’t burn at 5 drive simultaneously, in the same controllers, can you?
I can, but it would have to be about 4x max only. I use DW1620 (Pro) mostly as scanner. Let’s think of it as “home-made” CATS. For reading and scanning, using multiple drives in one PC, and even connected to one controller chipset seems good enough, each of the reading drives rarely interacting with one another.
For burning, something like this:
Channel #1: onboard Primary Secondary
Channel #2: PCI SATA = source drive
Channel #3: PCI PATA (only using one channel out of six for burning)
Channel #4: USB 2.0
Channel #5: IEEE 1394a
So it’s easy to make five of the same type drive burn at once especially if the source is one. (One HDD -> Five DVD.)
Better controllers of SATA or PATA or IEEE 1394b or even SCSI should be more optimized for multiple DVD burning but I usually have only the cheapest possible hardware though I sometimes get Adaptec and 3Ware cards (from friends in Seoul.)
All five new DW1620 drives have November 2004 date. My 2-bay USB/1394 cases can’t recognize DW1620 strangely. They can’t recognize Lite-On SOHW-1613/1633/1653 either though they work well with all other drives I tried (LG, Pioneer, Samsung, Toshiba, NEC, Plextor…) All of my 6 DW1620 are actually Nu-tech DDW-163, DW1620 OEM that originally have G7** firmware. The only PATA PCI controller card for ODD use can’t be used for ODDs either right now so I have a configuration like this:
IDE 1: Booting HDD PATA Seagate ATA V 120GB
IDE 2: DW1620
IDE 3: DW1620
IDE 4: DW1620
PCI IDE 1: WD HDD 1600JB
PCI IDE 2: WD HDD 1600JB
PCI IDE 3: Toshiba 2.5-inch HDD
PCI IDE 4-12: Empty
PCI SATA 1: WD 2000JD
PCI SATA 2: Samsung P80SD 160GB
USB/1394: Empty (none recognized)
Just tried some recent firmware (BenQ and Philips versions, stock, MCSE-patched, RPC1-patched…) and B7V9 still seems to be good enough.
I would like to have retail drives of DW1620 Pro and DW1640 in addition to them for quality comparison. Compared to SOHW-1613S, DW1620 seems to be too heavy and long.
Kenshin, if I remember correctly, first you need to flash with 47L9 or the latest 47N9 internally, then you put them in your external enclosure.
Do not use 47N9, it is messed up.
It’s disappointing that BenQ hasn’t released an external firmware equivalent to B7V9, especially as the drive is still being sold BenQ branded in an external enclosure :(. I know Jamos was so disappointed with his external 162I, that he sent it back. I expected better from BenQ…
woooah…KenShin you really make an impact…5 BenQs at one go… :D:D…
@Kenshin: And I thought I was starting to get excessive. So how many dvd writers do you currently use? I’ve got two of my drives that get neglected. How many do you have total, and how many different ones do you use, in say, a one week period?
Difficult to answer. I connect and disconnect various drives and other components very frequently so naturally most of them are “neglected” for most hours.
To count from the latest models:
GSA-5163D * 1
DW1620 * 6
SOHW-1613S * 6 (2 sent to friends, 4 remaining)
DVR-108 * 1
TS-H552B * 2
TS-H542A * 1
GSA-4120B * 1
GSA-4082B * 1
PX-708A * 1
DVR-105 * 1
MP5240A * 1
SD-R5002 * 1
DRU-500AX * 1
ND-1300A * too many to remember (once had 100)
ND-1100A * 1
Maybe that’s all.
At this moment, only 3 DW1620 units are online. 2 or 3 days ago, there were GSA-5163D (internally connected), DVR-108, and PX-708A instead.
I thought it had to do with BenQ’s external model only but I guess since the external model is the same as internal 1620… I’d better find a way to use all my 1620 on PCI PATA card. These are powered by Antec 550-watt so power isn’t a problem for connecting even 20 DVD writers.
Your BenQ collection still has bigger overall value though.
Mine: NU DDW163 * 6 (all BenQ DW1620 OEM), for about US$40, just $240 though I myself paid a lot more than that.
Yours: 1625 + 1640 + 1620 * 3, all BenQ brand, should cost at least 30% more.
BenQ DW1640 has just appeared in South Korea as well. Price: 78,000 won, a little under US$80. (DW1620 Pro 66,000 won, NU DDW163 58,000 won, GSA-4163B 52,000 won, TS-H552U 70,000 won, DVR-109 55,000 won…)
:D:D:D…Kenshin you know my benQ numbers well…
surprise …i am not…
C1 pictures, resized. The disk above the drives is That’s DVD+R 8x DVD+R47PG1. Those hard racks are cheap, US$6 per unit.
Three NU DDW163. Below is 845 PC. An Antec PSU is behind the drives.