Worth upgrading to a 1640 from a NEC 3500?




I’ve owned a Nec 3500A for just under a year now, and while it has never given me any real problems, I’ve come across this one disc that has failed to rip and thought maybe it would be time for a change of burner anyway.

My plan was to get a BenQ 1640 for £35 delivered and put my nec 3500 on ebay, hoping it will fetch at least £20.

Just wondering if this is a worthwhile upgrade (or even possibly a downgrade?), not seen many comparisons between the great 3500 and BenQ’s 1640.

From what I gather, BenQ drives overall seem to be less reliable than Nec’s (that’s just a general opinion of mine with their past drives an stuff), but I haven’t seen any 1640’s broken yet (maybe it’s too early to say), but I saw quite a few 1620s breaking down.

I mainly burn DVD-R’s, currently using Verbatim 16x-r MCC03RG20.

+'s I can think of:
-Much faster ripping
-Better reader (from what I’ve read)
-Scanning ability
-Much better firmware support and regular updates
-8x burning is a little quicker

-'s I can think of:
-BenQ drives overall in the past have been somewhat less reliable than NEC’s.

So I’m unsure of writing quality between the drives and reliability of the 1640 in particular.



It depends, do you plan on doing any +DL burning? the 3500 is still a highly regarded drive, and there is a lot of modded firmware available. Also Media Code Speed Edit, now works on your drive, so you can swap a media strategy or even import a strategy from another NEC’s firmware and that will solve just about any media incompatabilities you might have. If I were you I’d wait for the Nec 4550 drive that has NEC’s latest chipset.


I just upgraded from the 3500 to 1640…
I did it for a few reasons.

-The 1640 burns T02 just as well, if not better than the 3500.

  • 8x burn is almost 2 minutes faster.
  • PIE/PIF & jitter testing.
  • Faster rips
  • Faster DL recording
  • (possibly) Better readability from scratched disks.


I just kept both. :bigsmile:


upgraded from 3500 to 1640:

while i love doing scans! i miss overspeeding media. nothing like popping in TY and burn at 16x with perfect scans on 3500. i don’t do that much ripping so no comment on that. i like the software and regular fw available for benq, seems like good support. 3500 is a good drive.


I’m keeping my 3 3500’s for now :slight_smile: but I just orderd a 1640 to play with. Will let you know in a few days what I think. I’ll probably just put my 1633 in another puter and keep the 3 3500s and the 1640 in my main rig. Yes I have 4 burners in my main rig :D.


if you dont have room on your system, then shelve one drive, I dont think you get much out of any used burner on ebay since the newer drives are so cheap. And since you are using mostly -R, keep the NEC 3500. I have NEC 3500, BenQ 1620 and just received my BenQ 1640 a few days ago, I love all of them


I have both…if you are specifically burning at 16X with Taiyo Yuden, or Verbatim…the NEC blows anything else away. The best burn quality still goes to NEC ND-3500A…



I own both a 2500 and a 3500, the 3500 was giving me alot of errors and i ordered the 1640 last week.
Nec loves -R disc’s and the 1640 loves +R’s, the lead write times are alot faster with the 1640, almost like the old 2500.
I’m kinda disapointed in the 1640’s media speeds, but i’m sure as newer firmware comes out it will be better.


Thanks for all the replies, I went for the BenQ 1640 at £35 delivered, should be arriving on tuesday.

I’ll do some comparisons if i can.


Well it arrived this morning, made in malaysia, may 2005 with the BSHB firmware.

Firstly done a scan of my previously burnt discs on my NEC.

If only the Nec 3500 had pie/pif scanning I would know not to burn those YUDEN000T02’s at 12x


Seems like this drive is a good reader afterall, managed to rip pressed disc that couldn’t be read on my nec 3500 (pretty much the reason i decided to get a new drive), and someone’s 3520 either, but could on his sony/liteon dvd reader.

Took it’s time at 36mins, but at least it finished it.

Here’s another scan of a Fuji YUDENT00 T02 from aprmedia, burnt on a NEC 3500 - this time 8x.

Much better. Pity i burnt most of this TY spindle at 12x (like the one above), shows how PIE/PIF scanning is actually pretty useful.


Hi :slight_smile:
As you may have seen in other postings latest f/w BSKB & s/w QSuite2 are available now. So upgrade & see what these can do for you.

F/W here

S/W here



Yeah I’ve updated the firmware to BSKB earlier, just got back in now and I’ll do some further testing.

Seems I have your rounded ide cable problem though, bought mine from ebuyer for a quid or two a year back.

So I’ll sort a cable swap first before burning a dvd.


p5- where did you get the 1640 from for £35 inc please? I’m in exactly the same position as you as I need to get a new DVD-RW for a friend and I’m contemplating giving him my 3500 and getting either the 3540 or 1640. Hmm


Hi :slight_smile:
Try here
P & P around £5


Thanks again! :slight_smile: It does say on there page delivery is £8.16 though.


Hi Wam

I got it from Gltec. It has a beige front panel, but the tray is black. They don’t do black front panels though.

£29.36 inc VAT
£4.99 delivery (£5.86 inc VAT)

= £35.22 delivered.


Further news,

I’ve found out the problem was not in fact my rounded IDE cables, but actually AnyDVD running.

Disabled AnyDVD and speeds above 15x are normal.


Hi :slight_smile:
Try registering & ordering you can always cancel. Sorry if you’ve already tried this but when I demonstrated to a mate yesterday ordering two came to something like £66 inc of shipping.
Otherwise go with GL Tec.

Yeah OK I just did the maths p&p £8 something but that is next day. Don’t know if GL Tec is the same or two /three days.