Which 16x DVD Writer Should I Buy? (MAY 2005)

Which 16x DVD Writer Should I Buy?

Firstly thanks to code65536 for originally creating this thread. The old thread link can be found below. Also thanks to all of the cdfreaks reviews for the excellent job they do showing us what features each drive has and how they perform, so we can choose for ourselves, which drive is the best.

Well a lot of new drives have arrived on the scene since the old thread was created, so I decided it was time for an update and a new poll.

Some new drives worth mentioning:
NEC 3520
BenQ 1620 Pro
Lite-On 1673
Pioneer 109
Plextor 716
LG 4163
AOpen 1608
Samsung 552

To name a few. The NEC 3520 was a little disappointing after the NEC 3500 and the same with the Pioneer 109. LG have improved and so has the BenQ with it’s continued good firmware support. Also Lite-On keep improving with each model release (well DVD burning anyway). Now we have the NEC 3540 the BenQ 1640 and the Lite-On 1693S just coming on the market.

There seems to be a lot of threads asking this same question, or at least some variant of it (e.g., NEC 3520A vs. LG 4163?, LiteOn 1673S vs. BenQ 1620?, etc.). Hence this thread. In the interest of keeping things organized and not having everyone repeat what has been said over and over again, please use this thread instead of starting a new one. Thanks.

Also, to help you decide, it may be worthwhile to check out these links:
The old which drive thread: http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=113670
CD Freaks drive reviews: http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/search/B/
CDRLabs.com drive reviews: http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/
CD Freaks forums: BenQ, NEC, LiteOn, Pioneer, Plextor, Samsung, LG

Also, please keep in mind that there is no single “ultimate” drive. Each drive has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best drive for you will depend on what your particular needs and priorities are.

Here’s a quick overview of the more popular drives… Once again, the best drive for YOU depends on your needs; weigh each category according to your own needs!! For example, if you don’t care about bitsetting or PI/PIF scanning, then weigh those categories accordingly.


  • DVD write quality: Good and fast
  • Reading: Good but slow (riplock can be removed by MCSE)
  • Bitsetting: Yes
  • PI/PIF scanning: Yes
  • Misc: Good customer support/focus; official media overspeeding support (no need to use patched firmwares for overspeeding); the use of PCAV for 8x and 12x allows it to burn discs very fast, good 16x speeds, also


  • DVD write quality: Good (slow burning speeds at lower speeds)
  • Reading: Good and fast (riplock can be removed with a hacked firmware)
  • Bitsetting: Yes (requires hacked firmware)
  • PI/PIF scanning: Yes (at the moment only in the 3520)
  • Misc: Very poor customer support/focus, though there is a strong die-hard community that makes up for it; media overspeeding is available through the use of hacked firmwares; the use of ZCLV for 8x makes it the slowest burner when burning at 8x (though its 12x and 16x speeds are up to par)


  • DVD write quality: Average at 16x. Good at 12x or slower
  • Reading: Excellent but slow (riplock can be removed with OmniPatcher)
  • Bitsetting: Yes
  • PI/PIF scanning: Yes
  • Misc: One of the few DVD burners that excels at overcoming CD copy protections; strong community; hacked firmwares that allow for limited amounts of overspeeding; the use of PCAV for 8x allows it to burn 8x discs very fast, conservative 12x is a bit on the slow side, decent 16x speeds


  • DVD write quality: Good
  • Reading: Good and fast
  • Bitsetting: Yes but only with Piodata or Buffalo firmware
  • PI/PIF scanning: Yes
  • Misc: Strong community support (at rpc1.org)… >NIL:'s hacked firmwares allow for overspeeding; the A08/108’s has gotten poor press about its ZCLV use (not just for 8x) and its 16x burn speed, which is slower than its 12x burn speed (effectively making the A08/108 more of a 12x burner than a 16x burner)


  • DVD write quality: Good and fast (esp. with the latest models)
  • Reading: Good, but there is a riplock (no hacked firmware to remove riplock exists yet)
  • Bitsetting: Partial (not all plus media types)
  • PI/PIF scanning: No
  • Misc: Good customer support; no hacked firmwares for media overspeeding; DVD write speed can be quite good, depending on which model it is; newer models seem to do quite nicely in the 8x/12x/16x speed department…supports DVD-RAM


  • DVD write quality: 552B poor/552U good
  • Reading: Good but slow (no rip unlock)
  • Bitsetting: No
  • PI/PIF scanning: No
  • Misc: Good CD-R write quality; good at CD copy protections; 552U has 6x +R DL; no hacked firmwares for media overspeeding


  • DVD write quality: Good and fast (needs latest firmware)
  • Reading: Good and fast (supplied software allows read speed increase)
  • Bitsetting: Partial (not all plus media types)
  • PI/PIF scanning: Yes (scanning software provided)
  • Misc: Rich on features; Poor -R media compatibility; Good DAE speed; 8MB buffer; Expensive; no hacked firmwares for media overspeeding

Out of all the drives I’ve used the BenQ 1620 just keeps floating to the top.
It does everything I need “well” if not “excellent”.
Official support for bitsetting out of the box.
Official support for media overspeeding out of the box.
With the addition of ala42’s “read speed patch” it has replaced my Plex 712 for ripping.

Thanks for the analysis C0deKing. It’s really good.

I’ve narrowed my choices to:

  1. BenQ 1620 (don’t think BenQ offers the PRO version in India)
  2. Lite-On SOHW - 1673S

But, am confused to which one I should choose. Am a newbie to DVD Burning. Never burnt a DVD. I own 2 Lite-On CD-RWs & both are good.

My priority is Quality of Burn rather than the Speed of burning. Couple of secs/mins slow don’t mind me.

I would be using both -R & +R Media.

Which one should I go with.

Personally I would have to recommend the Benq at the moment. It’s such a complete package with good burn quality to measure, especially at 12x, which is only about 30 seconds slower than 16x.

The Liteon is a fun drive with lots of tools, patches and an excellent community on cdfreaks, but it still lacks in burn quality at higher speeds, is slower at burning below 16x, and now Liteon has broken the CD-R writing at higher speeds as well.

I’m freaking out, i can’t decide what driver to buy…i’m trying to buy a driver for a month.
At the beggining i wanted to buy a LS driver, but i can’t find one in Israel.
Plz help me to chose a DVD writer.

I’m looking for Good Qulity, bitsetting and PI/PIF scanning don’t care about the speed.

I would like to suggest that a sticky be made in each of the respective brand forums (NEC, BenQ etc.) which contains a link that goes to this poll. This way everyone is aware of this poll.

I would buy a BenQ 1625 (not a full 16x) or BenQ 1640 now. BenQ is the inovative brand… SL bitsetting, scan before and after the burn, good tools (enable/disable WOPC)…

I just don’t like their firmware naming convention.

I’ve been waiting for the forum changes announcement to expire. The announcement about this poll is there now. It appears at the top of every index page in the Recording Hardware Forum and all of it’s sub forums. :wink:

The new LG is the one to watch (supposedly released any day now). ‘IF’ the 4165B offers PI/PIF scanning & bitset on DVD+RW…along with it’s published features of DVD-RAM burning, DVD-R DL support, 48x/32x CD-R/RW, Lightscribe, and a retractable coffee cup holder, could be the best single “utility” drive to own.

Currently, I’d say that crown goes to the BenQ 1620/1640 (The 1640 just looks like a faster version of the 1620 at this point).

There is a lot of great DVD writer’s out there & I surpose that each of these writer’s have there place in the market, From the person that just want’s to put a blank in with the right speed code & spit it back out finished… Or there’s the people that like to put in a 8x, burn it at 16x & keep messing with it till you get the best possible results you can out of that media… go the Lite-On SOHW - 1673S-1693S… go the Lite-On community… :stuck_out_tongue:

I put my vote on the Plextor 716A … if you got the extra money and need more than a plain DVD writer, want an all-in-one drive including excellent DAE featuers and a capable CD/DVD reader (good error correction, too) that can be switched from speedy to silent, the Plextor is a drive to be reckoned with … :iagree:

Not saying that my 1620 and 4163 are bad, though … but the 716A is my favourite drive.

Good point, we should probably add the Plextor 716A to our summary of popular drives. :slight_smile:

Have been reading about different brands/burners for a while now. would appreciate some opinions from other users. This is the different ones that i am choosing from.

NEC 3520
BenQ 1640 (seems very hard to get in sweden at the moment atleast)
Plextor 716a
BenQ 1620 pro

Factors of importance to me:

  • A good errorscan function that gives as true results as possible.

  • DL burning that works well on common medias like verbatim and ritek. High speed and -DL is a bonus but not that important.

  • Good strategy for burning quick and reliable at speeds like 6* and 8*. (Yes may be all in my head but i dont like speedshifts when burning) If i got it right for example Nec is considered on the slow side in theese speeds and BenQ fast, how about the plextor and is the difference big in actual burning time?

Would be nice with rw writing in 8… cant say necessary but nice, feels a little old with 4* as on the 1620 pro.

  • Will not primarily be used as a reader but reading dvd-video and cd audio might be used atleast later on.

Please advice if you can :bow:

Carus, although I personally like my BenQ 1620, for you I would suggest 716a. In my opinion, very good in DL burning compare to others. Another bonus is plextor gives 2 years top notch warranty in the EU.

I’ve just ordered the BenQ 1620 Pro. I trust y’all. :smiley:

Wow that was fast!
Thanks for the input. How is the plextor in 6-8 speed? Cant say i have a total grip on p-cav z-clv and so on but compared to the NEC 3500 that i have?

8x is not a problem with 716a on quality media, and so does other good burners.

I was thinking more in the lines of any difference in used strategy and thereby in total burning time at lower speeds like 6* or 8*. Is the Plextor as fast as the Benq (p-cav?) or is it as slow as my Nec 3500 if you understand how i mean?

I use Fuji dvd+r and verbatim media mostly.

Using official firmware, 716a vs 1620 speed is about the same, although for most media I own 716a is faster by a few seconds. BenQ can go faster with many tools available. I can’t compare Nec since I don’t own them.

Thanks for all your input Zevia!
Will look into the 716 a little more… if by any chance the dw 1640 comes before my shopping it will be the biggest competition but for now it feels like it might be plextor time =)