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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  • Quanticles - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Sounds like things need to be standardized better if there are this many failures... any drive should work with any media as long as both the drive and the media are within spec.
  • semo - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    i'm pretty certain that the benq dw1640 is better than the nec 3540a. maybe the 4550a will give the crown back to nec but the drive will cost a lot more since it will have lightscribe and the license for that must be expensive (there are no cheap lightscribe drives yet).

    the new plextor is a joke. the 740a is a exactly the same as the dw1640. even plextools do not work on the plextor 740a (even though it is a "plextor" drive and they are included in the retail package).

    i'm not sure if they've fixed it now but plextools don't work with the plextor 740a because of the above reason.
  • nserra - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #27 LoneWolf15

    If recorder record crap media and read crap media = good recorder

    If recorder record crap media and don’t read crap media = bad recorder

    If recorder don’t record crap media and don’t read crap media = bad recorder

    50 DVD-R 8x Princo crap's same price of 25 DVD of other manufactures

    My NEC drive has difficulties reading Princo media, LG not a problem. Writing OK on both writers.
  • Miggle - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    I have the toshiba SD-R5372V. Its cheap but not a great writer. Pretty slow. But you'll be fine if you use good discs. Just bought the LG yesterday, a bit faster than toshiba drive and lets me overspec writes.
  • Calin - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    "What no PRINCO media, useless review!"

    Interesting, as I use almost only PRINCO media now (however, I have some small DVD-R made by Memorex and I can't wait to use them for something... too bad I don't know yet what to use them for
  • Calin - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    xsilver (or #16), my DVD writer (LG 4160, capable of DVDRAM, Dual Layer and so on) can write some media with no problems at 4x (the max rated speed) but gives consistent failures at 2.4x (which is any lower speed). I find out that using the same media but rated at 4x (well, it looks just the same but have certified speeds 1-8x) can burn at 4x and 8x with no problems (I haven't tested that media at 2.4x).
  • Dennis Travis - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Can't you people read?
  • Samus - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    funny they have no plextor in their review.
  • USAF1 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    You REALLY should have included a Plextor... ;)
  • PuravSanghani - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    AGAIN, for those of you wondering why we did not include the Plextor PX-716 drive, we simply could not get a unit in time. HOWEVER, we do hope to include a Plextor unit in the next roundup.



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