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.



View All Comments

  • Operandi - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    For future reference if you are going to bother taking pictures of the drives take a picture of somthing useful, the drive bezel. nobody cares what the circut board PCB looks like. Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Also is there somewhere where I can find tests on reading regular dvd-9 movies? my liton 16x reader goes completely ape when there is any scratches on the disc, the 106d is much slower but plugs through.
    This is when using dvd decrypter

    and who the hell uses cd's anymore? dvd's are so much cheaper per m/b to store data.... if someone doesn't have at least a dvd reader, I say quit trying to buy that l33t AMD64 / 6800 and get something useful!
  • PuravSanghani - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    The bitsetting feature on this model is very limited with the current firmware in that only DVD+R DL media will be autoset to the DVD-ROM booktype. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    >Also the 108d is the same price as the 3500a where I am.... would it be recommended then?

    I would still recommend the NEC-3500A. The faster CD writing is worth it.

  • xsilver - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Can the bitsetting option on the pioneer 108d be explained more? what will it auto set to?

    I have a 106d I want to upgrade and have found the pioneer to be much better than something like a liteon....
    Also the 108d is the same price as the 3500a where I am.... would it be recommended then?

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