Why I chose the NEC 3500 over the BenQ 1620

I have had a NEC ND-3500AG drive for a while and I’m very happy with it - although it pains me every day I have to wait for PIE/PIF scanning to become available… :wink:

I also have a Plextor PX-712A.
This week I had to replace a semi-defective DVD burner (LiteOn LDW-851S) in my dad’s pc, so I wanted to buy the most dependable drive I could find.

I considered the LG 4163, the NEC 3500, NEC 3520 and the BenQ 1620 (Pro).

NEC 3500s are hard to find, NEC 3520s seem to sometimes have trouble reading at high speeds, I don’t have much experience with the LG 4163 although I see many people recommend it in these forums.

So I decided to buy a BenQ 1620 and then decide whether to keep that for myself and install the NEC 3500 in my dad’s pc, or vice versa.

I installed the BenQ in my own pc (taking out the NEC 3500) and tested it in several ways. Here are some of the things I found out.

The BenQ writes my preferred DVD+R media really really well. At 12x and 16x it outshines both my Plextor and NEC with Verbatim DataLifePlus DVD+R 8x (MCC003)and Fujifilm DVD+R 8x (YUDEN000 T02) media.

The NEC 3500 had the edge in writing quality with Verbatim DataLifePlus DVD-R 8x (MCC 02RG20) - this drive’s preferred media as far as I can tell, but the BenQ was still good.

With Fujifilm DVD+RW 4x (RICOHJPN W11) media the BenQ was WAY better than any other burner I have used (Plextor PX-712A, NEC 3500AG, LiteOn LDW-851S) - writing with a quality close to non-rewritable media!

With Verbatim DVD+RW 4x (MKM A02) media the BenQ was just as bad as the other drives - the disc is readable but PIF values are much higher than specs. Why is this media so bad? I have tried several, and they are supposed to be some of the best DVD+RW but they haven’t been in the four different drives I have burned them. :frowning:

The BenQ has the ability to scan for PIE (C1), PIF (C2) and Jitter on DVD (CD) media, which the NEC 3500 unfortunately cannot do - although we are all expecting PIE/PIF scanning “real soon now”. C2 scanning on CDs are possible now, but I don’t think C1 scanning is expected?! (Can anyone with a NEC 3520 comment whether the new firmware for the 3520 has made C1 scanning on CDs possible?)

The BenQ can also make simulated burns on DVD+/-R(W) by using the QSuite utility - although I didn’t test this myself.

Finally the BenQ has the ability to bitset DVD+RW discs to DVD-ROM after it has been burned!!! :eek: Burn a DVD+RW in any drive and insert it into the BenQ, then use the Booktype Management utility to change the booktype to DVD-ROM - why didn’t anyone else think of this?! :bow:

So after all this praise of the BenQ drive, why did I chose to keep the NEC 3500 for myself anyway?

One reason: The ability to flawlessly read copy-proteced audio cds protected with Cactus Data Shield!

The various CDFreaks reviews test the drives’ ability to read copy-protected audio cds, and according to those tests the Plextor PX-712A, the NEC 3500AG and the BenQ DW1620 (Pro) should all be able to read audo cds protected with Cactus Data Shield.

Well the reviewers obviously haven’t tried it with the cd I have: Joss Stone - Mind, Body & Soul (EMI - Made in the EU). This CD is protected with CDS200.5.11.90 and includes deliberate mastering errors.

Using Exact Audio Copy with just about any setting I can come up with, this CD cannot be flawlessly extracted with the Plextor PX-712A drive, the BenQ DW1620 Pro or any of the Matshita drives in my notebook. There are always errors and the extraction is painfully slow. :a

The NEC 3500AG however reads this cd flawlessly without ever slowing down, without any errors, and always with the bit-for-bit exact result. :slight_smile: It’s as if the NEC 3500 doesn’t even realize that the cd is protected. :bow:

So even though the BenQ DW1620 is an awesome drive with many useful features that the NEC 3500AG doesn’t have, the one unique feature of the NEC 3500 made me chose it over the BenQ. If I didn’t have a Plextor drive for doing PIE/PIF/POE/Jitter/Beta/TE-FE scanning, then I probably would have chosen to keep the BenQ instead.

If I had room for more than two optical drived in my pc (a Soltek QBic 3401), I would have been left with no other choice than to buy yet another BenQ DW1620 drive so that I could keep one for myself - I’m still tempted to buy an external enclosure to make this possible. :wink:

Let the flames begin… :bigsmile:

No flame, great to read this :slight_smile: I’m using a BenQ 1625 (BBEA RPC1 firmware) and a NEC 3520 (1.UA firmware). For DVD+R I find the BenQ better and for my Ritek DVD+R DL the 3520 performes better.

Anybody else?

I’m starting to think that with this 8.40 FW Pioneer 109 is a very good burner. :iagree:
I wouldn’t have choosen the NEC 3520 against the BenQ though… Just don’t care about CDs and DVD-R anymore. :smiley:

If you own the CD, then downloading it is an exercise of your fair use rights. There’s no need to rip it when your P2P network is only a download away :slight_smile:

I have the DW1620, and it’s miles better than anything else I’ve ever had … except my old DW-822A.

Enjoy your NEC.

In most countrys this is illegal
Which country are you on about.

I wouldn’t trade my ND-3500A for anything.
I like my 2 Benq drives, i like my LG and plex drives.
The ND-3500 is my workhorse and fun machine. And out of the drives i have. Its still the best IMO. :smiley:


I multiply that with TWO… :bigsmile:

“Finally the BenQ has the ability to bitset DVD+RW discs to DVD-ROM after it has been burned!”

This feature doesn’t always work. I have burned +RW discs on the LG and even though the BenQ said it had changed the disc to ROM it had not.

I would also choose the NEC over the other drives. My bottom line was the quality of the burn on a variety of media. I only got better scans with BenQ on Ridata R03, however, a brand new batch of R03s had PI errors 3 times as high on the BenQ but not on the NEC. If you look at my sig. you can see the media choices that work well on my drives. With the decline in quality of Ridata, the only media left for the BenQ is TYG02. If I want to keep burning any other media I will have to start finding more +R and it just won’t be worth it.


I also am going to hold onto both my 3500’s for some time to come - at least as long as something way far superior comes out - I can’t think of any reason to change-


For my uses, while the 3500AG was good, it wasn’t quite as good as the BenQ DW1620A. Maybe my 3500AG isn’t the best of the batch so I’m not blaming it completely on that drive. Although, I will say I’m having great fun with my new Mad Dog 6-in-1 Dominator (NEC ND2500A). I love this little drive - always have and always will, I should’ve bought 2 of them! :bigsmile: