The best DVD drive for burn quality testing

I’m getting somewhat tired of hopping around from one drive to the other for testing. I know you need LiteOn drives for Kprobe, and that CD DVD Speed has a rather limited amount of drives it supports. So I’d like to invest my money on the best possible drive, to have the most accurate results possible.

Which model would you suggest? And why?
(Please list 3 models by order of quality, as older drives may not be available anymore)

  1. Benq 1620 or 1620pro with latest FW (this dirve is great and has many FW’s to pick from for comptibility issues with various media)
  2. Pioneer 108 or 109
  3. NEC 3500

NEC can’t do burn quality testing. The PX-712A and PX-716A are considered good for error checking. As for their burn quality, it seems to be quite variable.

IIRC Pioneer’s scan results w/ DVDInfoPro were suspect; I wouldn’t recommend one for scanning purposes.

My LiteOn 832S scans quite nicely, and I would recommend it as a scanning drive (but not for burning purposes).

I reckon any Liteon DVD-RW after the 811S series, my 851s has been ok for scanning running either LiteOn 851S, Sony DRU-700a or LiteOn 832S FW, the 811S and prior seem to have problems with PI/PIF testing so ive heard anyway.

It really doesn’t matter all that much. The reason I say so is because any DVD drive currently out there does very subjective error scanning; and this is across the same model drive with each having the same firmware and being in the same system. Our drives are not capable of doing high quality error scanning. They therefore are a limited “guide” at best. I liked my LiteOn 812s with KProbe when I had it. I like my BenQ DW1620s as they are good burners. But, can I really say that my BenQ does better error scanning than drive X or drive Y or drive X - no! Why? Because, what the heck are we measuring these drives against? Like I said, any given drive model (i.e. - the BenQ DW1620) will scan a given disc 10 times (in the same computer system with the same firmware for all ten scans) and will give 10 different results. Do 10 more scans with another DW1620 (also with the same firmware as drive one and in the same system) and you will get another 10 sets of values. Then, do such with a LiteOn or whatever brand of drive and you can almost lose your mind at the lack of consistency. Throw in different media brands and the differences within any given media (differences between discs from the same spindle) and the picture gets quite maddening.

Use whatever drive and software combination you like and don’t worry about. Such a combination will give you a particular shade of reality; a distorted shade however. Go with whatever “distortion” makes you happy. Damn! This sounds like psychology instead of scientific technology. What are we really left with though?

I gathered as much from several “how to’s” and “read this first”. Still, as long as a fairly accurate picture is painted…

The drive problem does upset me though. Can I get a “Verbatim sucks with Benq DW1620” on drive A and “Verbatim is great with benq DW1620” on drive B, seeing wildly varying amounts PIF/PIE errors (drive A with a 1 PIE average and drive b with a a 20+ PIE average, for example)?

If so, then testing is somewhat pointless, except from a personal user perspective. One could get the ultimate opinion for his own DW1620, but his experiences would not be mirrored by the guy next to him with the same Benq model.

Well, I have actually scanned discs at 8x and 16x scan speeds and have had crazy results. Take disc X for example: I can scan disc X in a BenQ DW1620 at 8x scan speed and it will look very good. Then, I again scan disc X at 16x speed (again in the same BenQ DW1620 drive) and it can look horrible. What this exactly means I don’t know. It’s very perplexing at the least.

Sometimes disc X can be scanned two times in the exact same BenQ DW1620 drive (and at the same scan speed for both scans) and the results vary enough to make you wonder if it’s a good burn or a marginal burn. I have had this problem with any DVD burner I have ever used; not just one particular brand. Error scanning is okay and I do in fact take the time to do many scans of my burned media. But, just what exactly a given scan means - who knows for sure? I have had scans return wonderful results on discs that wouldn’t playback correctly in a home DVD player. I have also had scans say that a burn is pretty ugly on discs that played back with no problems on a home DVD player.

Error scanning is only a rough “guide” at best. I like my BenQ DW1620 more than I did any LiteOn drive when it comes to error scanning. All drives have their limitations and will not guarantee much; if anything at all. In other words, just from an error scan you could never know for sure how that particular disc will perform in a DVD player. There are just too many variables involved. Error scanning with software utilities are estimates and nothing more.

Which begs the question… How does one decide what the best burner out there is?

i don’t think there is a definitive answer at to the “best burner out there” question. you have to decide on what you want out of your dvd burner,when those parameters have been defined then it’s a much easier choice to find which burner is best in that “category”

While I agree that there is no such thing as the 100% best burner out there, I think it’s pretty clear that certain burners stand out for the rest. IMHO there is no such thing as a good burner with scanning capabilities. The Benq seems to be pretty decent as is the Plextor 712. The Lite-On however, seems to be down the chain for burning capabilities (refer to reptile’s post). For burning the NEC 3500A and the Pioneer 108/A08 seem to offer the most flexibility for the money. Unfortunately, nither of them are great options for error rate scans. I guess the best solution is what most people around here seem to do. Get one burner for error rate scans (ie Lite-On) and one burner to do the actual burning. If you live in the US, you could get this kind of a setup for about $130-$140 shipped, which isn’t bad for two drives.

This is my report :

msi : MS-8216S : good for scan but dead after 4 month, compatible cdspeed+Kprobe
Asus : e616p2 : not well supported by cdspeed, not compatible with kprobe
Liteon : sohd-167t02 : good reading and error correction cdspeed+krpobe ok
plextor : px712a :i had to contact plextor to make a replace
Nec Nd3500ag : just for speed test (very fast)

My choice was liteon = very cheap (29euros), good error correction,kprobe