Which BenQ-type drive should I buy?

First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate the Club CD Freaks forums - I’ve narrowed my decision down to a BenQ-type drive - in large part due to the posts on these forums (as well as reviews at CD Freaks, CDRInfo, and Tom’s Hardware)! Now… which one?

I have seen many posts about a DW1620, a DW1620A, and a DW1620A Pro drive… are all of these really different? :confused: And, if so, in what way? I have not seen any DW1620A Pro drives in my online searches.

Specifically, as I’m ready to buy now, should I buy one of the rebranded drives: I/O Magic, Nu Technologies, or Phillips or… a “true” BenQ drive? And, if a “true” BenQ drive - which one (DW1620, DW1620A, DW1620 Pro)?

Also, I checked the BenQ website for where to buy their branded drive and I see several DW1620-0C2’s listed and one DW1620-0C3 listed. Assuming this is newer hardware (even if only slightly), wouldn’t it be best to buy this? I mean, which would you recommend?..

  1. Buying the cheapest that I can get my hands on such as an OEM drive, re-branded or otherwise, without knowing any details about the specific hardware version for say, under $70.
  • OR -
  1. Buying a “true” BenQ (Retail) with the lastest hardware version that I know of for about $85 or so.
    Am I just over-analyzing this (I always do - this is part of my research… I’m a perfectionist :wink: ).

I appreciate any and all feedback.


TX Techie

I’m sure you’ll get at least one more informed reply than mine. Some of these guys have 5 or 6 drives, and probably handled dozens more for friends or clients, but here’s my 2 cents worth.

I picked up the NU DW163 (Delivered it was $60 from Newegg). I couldn’t be more satisfied.

This version is packaged with Sonic’s RecordNow (adequately, but nothing steller, hogs CPU resources), and WinDVD (the creator is actually fair, but you’ll want DVDShrink, and so far I’m happier with TMPGenc DVD Author).

The NU doesn’t come with an IDE cable (many of the OEM’s don’t, or supply the older style, not the 80 pin this drive should have).

If you want better software to come with the drive, and/or the additional IDE cable, then pamper yourself with a BenQ retail package.

If you’re like me, and want the best at a bargain, able to scrounge up the addons, save the cash for media and pick up a rebadge.

Welcome to forum TX Techie :wink:

BenQ 1620Pro will serve you well and fulfill all your needs.

I´m rather new on this drive, but from what I have seen sofar and compared to my other drives (in sig) this one is burning with very good quality as result and has proven to be very compatible to both DVD dash and plus media. :slight_smile:

Hardwarevise there is no difference between the types you are listing. Firmware may differ though.

Although this is BenQ forum section, I would like to add NEC ND-3500/ or 3520 as a second good choice.

I’ll second the 3500 recommendation as a possible choice, not based on personal experience with the drive, but based on everything that I’ve read in the forums about it.

But I keep hearing questionable things about the 3520 drive so I would definitely avoid it - at least for now.


Thanks for the response. I hear you, but since the NU DW163 is now up to $70 (including shipping) at Newegg, the perfectionist in me wants to simply get the best for my money - the BenQ DW1620 (OEM) is showing a current price of $77 (including shipping), but is currently out of stock. Also, it appears that I can get a BenQ DW1620 (Bulk) at Meritline.com for $69 (NOT including shipping).

Anyone - what’s the difference between Bulk, OEM, and Retail?

pinto2 & Spartane,

I appreciate both of your inputs. But, I started out looking at the LiteOn 1633S vs. the NEC 3500A. Based on further research, I then moved to NEC 3500A or 3520A vs. Pioneer DVR-108/A08XLA. Then, because of the overwhelming statements made about the BenQ DW1620 on these forums, I researched this drive further. I have now made my decision to purchase the BenQ DW1620-type drive based on that research - a good summary can be found at the top of the Which 16x DVD writer should I buy? post here on these forums… I’ll re-post the summary here:


  • DVD write quality: Good, with the latest firmware
  • Reading: Good, but there is a riplock (no hacked firmware to remove riplock exists yet)
  • 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 allows it to burn 8x discs very fast, good 12x and 16x speeds, too


  • DVD write quality: Good
  • Reading: Picky, though fast (because riplock can be removed with a hacked firmware)
  • Bitsetting: Yes (requires hacked firmware)
  • PI/PIF scanning: No
  • 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: Poor at 16x. Okay at 12x. Good at 8x or slower
  • Reading: Excellent and fast (if using a hacked firmware)
  • 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 (if using a hacked firmware)
  • Bitsetting: No
  • 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
  • Reading: Good, but there is a riplock (no hacked firmware to remove riplock exists yet)
  • Bitsetting: No
  • 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

So, again… which BenQ-type drive should I buy?:

  1. Buying the cheapest that I can get my hands on such as an OEM drive, re-branded or otherwise, without knowing any details about the specific hardware version for say, under $70.
  • OR -
  1. Buying a “true” BenQ (Retail) with the lastest hardware version that I know of for about $83 or so.

TX Techie


So, you are saying - at least in your opinion - that there is no difference, with respect to hardware, between the following drives:

[/li][li]DW1620A Pro
[/li][li]Phillips rebranded (other than the added LEDs :wink: )
[/li][li]I/O Magic rebranded
[/li][li]NU rebranded[/ul]
[/li]Is this correct? Does everyone else agree?

I just checked at NewEgg and they are still at $58 with $3 super saving shipping . . . follow this link:

The white drives are a bit more, perhaps that’s what you saw?

They also don’t come with the recommended 80 conductor cable so if you need to buy one of those it could factor into who has the best price.

I just ordered mine last night . . . the waiting is killing me! <grin>


Be very carefull on ReBadges, an example is, the I/O Magic can be either a BenQ or a BTC drive.


You are correct, as I have a beige PC case (not black). :iagree:

I can’t wait to purchase my drive either… but I’m erring on the side of making sure I get the most bang (best hardware platform - i.e. Drive) for my buck!

Should I be worried? :confused:


Thanks for the information about the rebadges (especially the I/O Magic that you mentioned). Otherwise, do you forsee any disadvantages to buying say a NU DW163 for $70 vs. buying a BenQ DW1620 (Retail) for $83? I’m thinking about possible future BenQ firmware updates that I may not be able to take advantage of because I have a rebadged NU DW163 (or other)?


I have a beige case too, but I don’t care if it’s got an ugly black drive in it! Heck, I don’t usually even put the case back on the thing!

Search the threads a bit, but I’m sure that I saw you can flash the NU drive with official Ben-Q firmware and from then on can use the official updates.

I’m a perfectionist too, and I tend to over examine things too! I finally decided that the drives are so cheap these days that it doesn’t pay to fret over everything. If I don’t like it’ll go up on eBay and I’ll buy another one!

The Ben-Q got my vote though because of automatic book type setting and pi/pif testing - I currently have a LiteOn 451 and I use KProbe on every burn, by testing every burn I’ve caught several bad burns and I’m certain that once it’s passed my quality check that it WILL play on our players without issue. Sometimes I have to reburn things, but I’d rather do it when I’m burning than when I’m half way through a movie and I have to reburn it to see the end of it! I feel the ability to error test is absolutely necessary!


All of the drives in the list can be flashed to a DW1620Pro, so it makes no difference which one you buy. NewEgg has a cheap NU.

The only reason to buy retail is that you want the burning software that comes in the retail package…

TX Techie,

It certainly seems like you’ve done your homework!

I recommend you get a true BenQ drive. Unless you need the software or the cable, then it doesn’t matter which version you get. At worst, you might need to crossflash from the “G” firmware to the “B” firmware (I had to), and that’s a fairly painless procedure. They’re all cheap enough that there’s really not that much point in substituting.

The only thing I’d recommend is finding some place close in case you have problems with your particular unit. It’s unlikely (and so far I’ve bought two of them and they’ve both worked perfectly), but you hear persistant reports of marginal/bad drives in these forums.

Just buy one of the drives above and you’ll be more than satisfied. You made a great decision to go with the BenQ DW1620 or one of its above listed variants. It doesn’t matter at all if you go with a retail verson or an OEM one. You can flash any of the above drives to whatever firmware revision works best for your particular media. I would buy an OEM version and save the money. Buy a good quality 80 wire IDE cable and get whatever software your taste prefers; there are many choices.

Purchase one of these drives and enjoy DVD burning the way it was meant to be done. :slight_smile:

TX Techie Since you live in the DFW area check Sunday’s Sale ads. There are a couple of I/O magics and a Cyberhome on sale. If you would like PM me and you can come over and play with the 1620 and 3500, do scans or whatever before you make up your mind. I bought mine locally so if there was a problem I could exchange it and be back home within 45 min. :bigsmile:

I got mine at bananapc.com. They have black bulk for $65 and retail (both colors) for $77 and all have free shipping.


P.S. Great summary, we ought to keep that around. Only missed part is on the LG you could add: reads RAM and on the Pioneer C’t magazine did reading tests and it was the only one that got 100% so it’s an excellent reader also. Oh and to finish out that table you could add the Plextor.

I also purchased from www.bananapc.com before with no problems.

I have both the retail and OEM I/O Magic. I like the BenQ logo on my retail but I also like the black bezel from the I/O Magic… quality wise they are the same after you flash with the same B fw.

I’d personally go with the regular BenQ Drive. Then you can upgrade to regular BenQ firmwares without voiding any warranties. It’s a much safer bet in the long run if you’d ever have to RMA the drive. :slight_smile: