Final Words

We have taken these 16X dual layer capable burners and thrown various media at them to see how each unit burns and reads back. From our results, we can see that the Pioneer DVR-108D, LG GSA-4160B, and NEC's ND-3500A came out on top with their ability to burn any type of media almost flawlessly as well as burn 2.4X dual layer media at 4.0X speeds (DVR-108D & ND-3500A). Our graphical presentations show that these three drives have the best read and write performance as far as DVD+/-R/RW media goes, and also top the list in dual layer write performance. The ND-3500A does have the highest CD read and right speeds by a hair, with LG's GSA-4160B coming in at second resulting in read/write times of 32.80X/29.15X, respectively.

We were extremely disappointed to see that MSI's DR16-B and Sony's DRU-710A produced dual layer coasters, since we had expected these big names to put out exceptional products. We hope with future firmware updates, these manufacturers can resolve the issues so that their products can be more competitive in the 16X market. The 710A wrote to our 80min Fujifilm CDRs the quickest of the bunch at an average of 32.36X, and only came second to the NEC ND-3500A in DVD+R 16X writing tests with LiteOn's SOHW-1633S, but couldn't come close to the top of the list in any other area.

Various features set these 8 burners apart from each other as well as others that are being introduced into the market. One feature that we thought would make a world of difference is the ability to change the "Book Type" of a disc when writing to it. This bitsetting feature is implemented in 5 out of the 8 drives on the list. In particular, the feature in the ND-3500A helps bring the unit to the top of the list. If LG had implemented bitsetting into their GSA-4160B, it would have helped their product climb the ladder to compete with the NEC drive.

To NEC's ND-3500A for exceptional DVD+DL, DVD+/-R, CDR write speed and quality at a fair price.

Unlike CDRs, the DVDR world is plagued with the dual standards, which make it slightly difficult to maintain compatibility with standalone DVD players. For this reason, the bitsetting feature might come in handy more than the ability to read and write DVD-RAM media. This is what kept LG's unit from winning the #1 spot, which we have awarded to the NEC ND-3500A. Its read and write performance and quality as well as its inclusion of the bitsetting feature and high DL write speeds along with a price of $68, which is the lowest price of all 8 drives, puts the drive at the top of our list with the gold medal.

Surprisingly absent from this roundup were any representatives of Sanyo or Ricoh 16X drives. The Plextor PX-716A probably utilizes a Sanyo chipset, given their track record, but we could not obtain a sample in time for the roundup. Ricoh's extremely anticipated 16X core seems to have all but vanished, even from the drives that were supposed to ship with it - including the NuTech DDW-162 featured today. A late entrance from both chip makers does not bode well, but we look forward to featuring both in the next DVD recording roundup!

Special thanks to Newegg for supplying hardware for this comparison test.

Pricing
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  • Warder45 - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    I think some are forgeting that testing these things doesn't happen over night. Between other reviews, news, etc and normal working hours it could be quite easy to have a new firmware come out after you've already tested.

    For the plextor drive it does seem like bestbuy's website has them in stock for $140 with a $30 MIR. So is the extra's of a plextor worth the extra $30 to $40?
    Reply
  • Mem - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    I notice with the Lite-On 1633 drive you was for the roundup still had the original firmware,there`s a new firmware "BSOK" update out dated 26th OCT that has "matched more media" support.

    I happen to own the external version and can say it`s very quiet while burning and also in playback mode,the only noisy thing is the tray when ejecting IMHO,btw I think it`s a great burner very low P1/PO errors and no bad burns so far.
    Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    What is interesting is I just bought a Plextor PX-716a at Best Buy this last week. It works GREAT so far. Will do more testing but so far it's fast and reliable. It is at UDMA 4 by the way. It flys.

    It came with both a White and Black face and door.
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    er, Nov 8 for PREORDER
    apparently they are still working out bugs

    I note in the specs that the drive will run in UltraUDMA mode 4 or 66MB/sec in addition to PIO
    Interesting
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    http://www.plextor.com/english/products/716A.htm

    looks like Nov 8 for USA
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    #25-
    I have never seen a 16X Plextor review - care to link one?

    Latest Plextools out today 2.18
    http://www.plextools.com/download/download.asp
    Reply
  • Mookie13 - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Can anybody comment on the noise level of any of these drives (esp. the NEC, BenQ and Pioneer)? I'd like to throw one of these in a sff and use it as a htpc, so a loud drive spinning sound would really bother me. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Maverick215: Feel free to download the .zip files with all of the disc quality q-tools and nero tests.

    techfuzz: When we tested the drive 2.16 was the newest available.

    As for the BenQ drive, we tested with the newest firmware possible.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • Aquila76 - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    From page 9 (Sony Review) <<...dual layer burners are pseudonymous with 16X burners...>>

    I think the word you're looking for is 'synonymous', not 'pseudonymous'. A pseudonym means 'a fake name', whereas a synonym means 'basically the same thing'. However, in Sony's case, pseudonym may be more accurate.
    Reply
  • Belzer - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    I find the average write speed of 11.88x for the NEC on 8x DVD±R MCC media very hard to believe. It would need to support them at max 16x speed to get this average speed and it does not, unless you've used a hacked firmware.

    I also doubt that the Pioneer is faster than the BenQ @12x on 8x MCC DVD+R if you compare the actual write time. Other tests have shown the BenQ to be a good 30 seconds faster than the Pioneer at 12x thanks to PCAV write tech (vs. ZCLV).
    Reply

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