Just joined the forum. Have found a TON of useful/helpful information here lately, and I usually try to do my own homework as much as I can.
I just purchased a retail box Plextor 740UF from New Egg and received it last Thursday. As you'll see I have some concern about the drive, and am wondering if what qscan seems to be showing as a pattern could suggest a problem. I can see reading previous qscan posts that it may not be entirely reliable as a tool, but others saying it IS reliable, you just have to keep in mind certain factors.
This retail-boxed Plextor drive had a round clear adhesive seal over the edge of the box where you have to pull the tab out to get the box open, which is labeled something to the effect of "if seal is broken, check contents before accepting". I would assume this the factory seal.. but I noticed there were TWO of these seals placed over the edge of the box, one on top of the other, and that the bottom of the two was a broken seal. Pretty much meaning that at some point this box had been opened up for some reason, then afterwards, closed back up and another one of the same kind of seals placed over the original broken seal. This makes me wonder if what I actually got was a refurb unit or something.
I emailed NewEgg before I even opened the box, notifying them of the issue (and also took a couple pics in case I needed them to prove what I was saying). They emailed me back apologizing for the problem and said they would send me another one if I had any problems with the drive. So the bottom line is that I have a limited "window of opportunity" to get this drive replaced without a lot of hassle if there is something wrong with it.
Anyway, lemme get back on topic with this being the Benq forum and all. I'd been doing some reading last week about the 740UF really being a Benq DW1640 stuck into an external case, and read about bqflasher etc. So having heard back from NewEgg, I decided to proceed with a test burn with some Verbatim 8X DVD+R DL media, after crossflashing the firmware to the Benq EW164B BEGB. I had no problems flashing the EW164B "BEGB" firmware onto the drive using bqflasher with Nero's WNASPI32.DLL in the same directory as bqflasher. I've also already verified I can flash Plextor firmware back onto this drive after BenQ firmware is on it using bqflasher.
So on to the test burn. I used the Nero 6.x Express OEM bundleware packaged with the drive to burn an ISO image I had created with DVDDecrypter 188.8.131.52. This was an ISO image of King Kong, a dual-layer commercial DVD-Video movie we just bought. I picked up a 3pk of Verbatim DVD+R Double Layer 2.4X/"up to 8x on compatible high speed drives" media. (MKM 001). The burn went well without any errors reported, which I was glad to see since it was my first-ever attempt at a DL burn. Watching the entire movie playback, there were 2 pixelation-type stutters fairly close together, about 2 minutes after the layer break, but I didn't think much of those, not at first anyway.
Out of curiousity, I put this burned copy into my Samsung SD816B DVDROM drive, just to see what DVD-Decrypter would say about the disc and layer info in ISO Read Mode. But it actually reported there were two uncorrectable read errors (two different sectors), right after starting DVD Decrypter up (it starts in ISO Read mode). I had to dispatch multiple Continue/Retry dialogs for each of them. This made me wonder about the burn quality/media quality or perhaps an issue with my drive.
I've run qscan against the other two pieces of DVD+R DL media I haven't burned yet, a couple of times each, and there seems to be sort of a "spike" of tracking errors around the middle of the chart on each, which I take to mean somewhere near the end of the first layer or beginning of second layer. This reminded me of the two hiccup points we saw watching the playback, just after the layer break.
And just about every time, it tells me the media is not suitable for burning at that speed -- trying 8X, 4X, or even 2.4X - because of the TE spikes near the middle of the range, where the TE count "crosses the line". I did manage to "squeak by" a couple of times at lower qscan test speeds (ie getting a media is OK at this speed response), but aside from some minor variations, the TE/FE graphs look about the same - it's just a question of whether that TE spike crosses the threshold line or not..
This in itself seems sort of odd compared to what I've read about people having good repeatable results with Verbatim 2.4X/8X DVD+R DL media.
Trying to find some factors to rule out, I also tried 3 other kinds of single-layer DVD+R media I have around here (been doing DVD+R single layer for quite a while now) -- memorex 4X and 8X, as well as some fujifilm 8X. While they almost every time passed the qscan tests at their rated speeds, I am still seeing a "spike" of TE errors -- but with each of these 3 different types of single-layer media, right towards the END of the test range.
Here's what is bugging me a little now. Is this a pattern? While one of the 4 different types was double-layer media, showing TE spikes at the middle of the range, doesn't this represent the laser tracking at/near the outer edge of the disc? Because all 3 of the single-layer media types I tested show TE spikes at the end of the range, which would also mean at/near the outer edge of the disc, if I'm not mistaken.
Am I way off here, or would this perhaps suggest I have a bad drive? One that can't track well at the outer edge of the media?
I am collecting some screenshots of my qscan tests so I can post em, I know the pictures make it better, and will post 'em.
Sorry for such a long post, just trying to make sure I've posted enough info.