Why I switched from NEC 3500AG to BenQ DW 1620



The NEC 3500AG was my first 16x DVD burner and it would not have been possible for the countless support and raves in this forum. To those who have spent hours perfecting the firmware, testing the media diligently and providing them to all, I’m very grateful and convince that the NEC 3500AG would not have been all that great if it weren’t for your efforts. Although I’m parting with the NEC 3500AG (Actually gave it to the wife) it has been a very reliable and dependable unit to this day. I have made countless of flawless burns without a hitch. I have recommended this drive to my friends who also enjoyed the same experience that I have received.

The one thing that bugs me about the NEC 3500AG that the CD-R which is rated to burn at max 48x, will only burn at 16x in Nero. I tried different brands 52x, 48x, 40x rated, changed the firmware to OEM and still burns at a measly 16x in Nero. I tried the same media in the BenQ and burn at it’s max 40x without a problem. I asked my friends who bought the NEC 3500AG and they too have the same problem.

I bought a BenQ DW 1620 Retail at Newegg about a month ago for a great price $45 shipped. I needed another DVD burner since the demand for it’s usage convinced me to get another one. My dillema was if I should get another NEC product or get the BenQ. I decided to get the BenQ DW 1620. I did my homework and read up on the BenQ in this forum and other reviews provided by other sites and convinced me this is worth a try. Well I must say that the BenQ DW 1620 surpassed my expectations. It is a fast ripper and encoder. Dependable & reliable so far - No coasters yet! Mt. Rainer support for RW media. Excellent (unofficial) firmware updates in this forum. Excellent tool MCSE by ala42 for creating your own write strategies on different media and a nice database built in. This is probably what sets the BenQ apart from the NEC! Bitsetting, RPC-1 and Riplock support. What more can you asked for. Oh…I bought another BenQ DW 1620…Now I have two…What a burner!


Thanks for sharing that with us.
I also have two DW1620’s IMO they are not that special :slight_smile: although they do burn +R media very well.
My NEC ND-3500 and now ND-3540 easily outperforms both my Benq drives with the media i have.


I have 2 friends using the Nec 3500, they never had those speed problems with cd’r media.


If you don’t do very critical scans or a lot of -R media and if you get one of the good drives that do not fail…then the BenQ 1620 does indeed look like a good choice for a drive. That is how it got its original reputation.


Hmmm I burn a few different cdr media at 48X all the time and have not made a coaster yet with my NEC3500.

I like the modded firmware for a number of reason including the rip lock removal, but have had no problems with NEC’s firmware for CDs or DVDs for that matter.

I will probably stick with my 3500 until something really new is out or this one dies.

The only thing I have found my 3500 is not so hot on is over burning CDs and that is only if I really push it.


It’s like that is it? :slight_smile:


Sadly, yes.


I have had excellent results with my NEC 3500AG both in speed and quality.
I still use my Liteon LTR-52327S for audio but my NEC is comparable in kprobe tests to the LiteOn.


I’ve had two(of 2) BenQ 1620’s die now… Really stinks…



I have two 3500’s and use TDK and Verbatim CD-R’s with the Ritek 97m15s17f mid code and Nero wants to burn it at 48x EVERY time (I back it to 32x to get the best quality burn)-

It also looks like if you get a good 1620 = you get a good one and if you get a bad 1620 = you get a bad one - me I got a bad one and returned it - but I am glad that you got two good ones-



I have a BenQ 1620 and a NEC 3500, the BenQ works fairly well with almost all media, plus and minus, and allways produces very readable results. The NEC however does not work well with as much media, and does not seem as stable as the BenQ 1620, but it does a better job with minus media then the BenQ. I have not really tried either with CD media, as I use a Plextor Premium allways to write CDs anyway.

Personally I cant see much point in having two identicle drives, unless you into mass replication and are burning more than one disc at one, or are using two machines. So I would stick to having both the BenQ and the NEC. As far as I can tell I got a “good” BenQ 1620.

Ben :slight_smile:

Edit: I just tried my NEC with some TY CD-R media, that work at 52x with my Plex Premium, and I think officially are 48x, the BenQ allowed them to burn at 40x, but the NEC only at 32x (with Nero 6) so maybe NEC is having some CD-R media compatibility problems.


Yo Ben-

The 3500 has always burned the TY’s at 32x (one of the reasons that I back off my TDK and Verbatim media to 32x)-

It’s a NEC firmware thing that started with the very first 3500 firmwares (2.14?)

I have also found that I am getting my best burns on both 3500’s with -R medias-



the benq i got and returned stuck on a dvd -r for 6 hours…


I change my 2510 for a BenQ 1620 and I’m very happy with its rich features (QSuite/QScan 1.1, WOPC on/off, PI/PIF/jitter scan, official bitsetting working on DVD+RW as well…)… BenQ are awesome readers and good DVD+R burners at high speed.

I you have a NEC 3500, the upgrade is less needed, until you do not have read quality issues and no other drive for PI/PIF scanning.

Considering factory quality :
I think there are bad NEC too. When I buy my 2510 drive, there were bad 2510 series (NEC has the crappiest reading fame in DVD history) and there were bad 3500 series too as I can see, unable to read their burns on not so crappy media…

I think too that buying a drive on the net is not the things to do (unless you are far from civilization)… better go to known local stores if you hate RMA.


I have never had a problem burning at full 48x in Nero 6.6.x with my 3500AG, and I use pretty basic off-the-shelf Verbatim media in 100-spindles. I’d look at the rest of your hardware and see if there’s an issue there. I’ve never had a bad DVD burn either, not even once, using inexpensive Ritek G04 4x media (both with my 2500 and now my 3500).


My neighbour has a 3500AG, I have a 3520 and 3540. All three drives burn CDR at 48x, but it needs to be decent media. Between us, we have Ritek printable 40x, Datawrite 52x and verbatim 40x media, and all burn at 48x with no problems on all three drives.


That can also be the case with NEC drives.
At least, they don’t even work from the beginning.
I bought myself a 3540 today, but i had to return to the shop 4 times before i got a working drive.
The first one started to make a very loud noise (sort of a rattle)
The second one didn’t even start buring, it only gave errors.
The the third one did the same thing, tried everything.

The 4th one, he gave me a black drive and that one works fine.
Although it doesn’t look that great in my pc-case, i’m keeping this one. :wink:


If you think NEC has issue burning 48X CD-R, post your question in this forum. People here are happy to assist you. Please just don’t make a comparison, who is good who is bad. Every one has his/her own preference.


:bigsmile: Exactly what I was saying. Same for Plextor ‘the n°1 in quality’… Who many people RMA their 712 or 716 several times ?


Stop using CRAPPY CD-R media! Have no problem burning at 24x with the NEC 3500 and Fuji Taiyo Yuden CD-Rs. Have tested a few discs at 32x. No need to go faster.

1620 has a quality control problem. About the only thing that it does better is the rip speed…about 4 min faster with an average DL movie.