Introduction

The two things that help create a great performing DVDR drive are the hardware (laser, DSP, motor, etc.) and the drives' firmware. A drive's firmware can be the final deciding factor of its overall performance, or even the performance of a single area.

It is difficult to benchmark a DVDR drive for that reason. Firmware can change once a year, or even as quick as once a day, depending on the team in charge of testing the units. Therefore, performance can change drastically from year to year, or day to day.

We have taken 6 units from 6 different manufacturers and tested two brands of media on them, including DVD+/-R, RW, +/-R DL, and CDR. The drives are BenQ's DW1640, LG's GSA-4163B, NEC's ND-3540A, Pioneer's DVR-109D, Sony's DRU-720A with updated firmware, and Toshiba's SD-R5372.

We updated the firmware on all of these drives at the time that we tested them. Note that there may be new versions of the firmware released since then. Henceforth, we cannot gaurantee that our benchmarks will have used the latest updates at the time of publication.

Our benchmark results show each drive's performance with the specific firmware installed, but also how each drive should perform compared to the other drives. Take a look at our results...

Special thanks to BenQ for supplying us with the DW1640.
Special thanks to Sony for supplying us with the DRU-720A.
Special thanks to Marken Communications for supplying us with Verbatim brand test media.
Special thanks to Antarra Communications for supplying us with Ridata brand test media.


The Test
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  • trance - Friday, July 22, 2005 - link

    Ordered mine from NCIX.com. Still haven't recieved it yet though... Reply
  • Gage8 - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    "Any clue as to when the new BenQ will be available?"

    That's my question. It seems like the BenQ is the drive to have...yet no one has it.
    Reply
  • trance - Sunday, July 17, 2005 - link

    Any clue as to when the new BenQ will be available? Reply
  • vtqanh - Saturday, July 16, 2005 - link

    No Plextor drive? What kind of optical drive review that doesnt include a Plextor drive? Reply
  • USAF1 - Friday, July 15, 2005 - link

    #48 - Apparently, there are some pretty serious compatibility issues with the Plextor PX-712SA/PX-716SA and some of the NEWER controllers. For example, from what I've read on various forums, the native nForce4 SATA controller has some pretty serious issues with burning CD's and DVD's. Plextor's tech support department has commented on the issue and blamed nvidia's SATA implementation/drivers. Check out this compatibility matrix from Plextor's website:

    http://www.plextor.com/english/support/media_712SA...

    See any nForce4 boards on there? I imagine compatibility issues would explain the two star newegg rating.
    Reply
  • PuravSanghani - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    #47: Its a slow and painful process isn't it? We would all like to be done with those wide flat annoying IDE cables and hook ourselves up with the thin, easy to work with SATA cables.

    The fact is, as long as the more critical [hard] drives are being manufactured with the IDE interface, there will still be a demand for the IDE interface on motherboards.

    For optical drives, there really isn't a need for the switch to the SATA interface because 1)there wouldn't be any performance increases due to the limitations of current DVDR hardware and media, and 2)because the IDE interface is still around on motherboards.

    I'm sure that once all HDD manufacturers have converted fully to SATA, optical drives will follow suit much more quickly since all we need is basically a SATA bridge. But until then...let us begin to give IDE an extended good-bye starting...nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-now!
    Reply
  • Anton74 - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    ...and speaking of the Plextor PX-716SA/SW (SATA), it has a customer rating of 2 out of 5 on newegg (based on 341 votes). Yet all but 3 of the 40 customer reviewers rate it 5 out of 5.

    Apparently the drive needs an updated BIOS and an appropriate up-to-date motherboard to function properly. Maybe that's what caused the low customer rating?

    Just wondering.

    Anton
    Reply
  • Anton74 - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    On a side note, why is it that nearly all of these drives are still PATA, and not SATA? There's 3 such SATA drives listed for sale on newegg, the Plextor 712 in 2 different colors, and the Plextor 716. They are of course more expensive than most at $83 (with $20 mail in rebate) and $126 respectively.

    I'm just wondering why we can't get rid of IDE altogether. Is a SATA interface more expensive to make? Can't be that big a difference looking at hard drive prices.

    Anton
    Reply
  • Miggle - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    BTW, how come the sony 800A wasn't reviewed? Its being sold here but I chose the LG drive over it Reply
  • RMSe17 - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    PuravSanghani, sorry didn't see your first post when I posted Reply

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