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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  • IceWindius - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Wheres the damn Plextor 716A in the review???? Thats like blasphemy!
  • PuravSanghani - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

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

  • DrZoidberg - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Just imagine if these drives tried to burn generic media. The PI errors would be in the millions and half the drives cannot read the discs then.

    Anyway burning 8x dvd is like 8 mins now so its fairly quick, just watch tv drink a beer and your done. Prefer a few more mins and half the number of PI errors anyway
  • USAF1 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    I agree with the lynch mob above that the drives should be tested with a wider variety of media before crowning a winner. Also, the thing that I found most disturbing about the review is that it contradicts the recommendation made in the July 2005 storage guide from two days ago. I suppose the 1640 isn't yet available in the US and thus wasn't an option in the storage guide or maybe Anandtech hadn't yet received the 1640 to test. However, if I'd listened to the quote below from the storage guide and went ahead and bought an NEC 3540, I'd certainly be upset to see it perform poorly relative to a competing drive two days later. I guess that's the price you pay to be on the cutting edge...

    "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the best DVD burner these days; NEC's 3540A"
  • USAF1 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

  • timmiser - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    I would like to have seen tests of how well a burned DVD would work in a DVD player? I regularly produce DVD's and to mass burning processes but reliability in set top DVD player is my highest priority.

  • RMSe17 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    How come Plextor 716 wasn't part of the reviewed drives? Isn't it supposed to be one of the best?
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    #20, I hope your reply was a joke, seeing as that's what Princo media generally is --a joke. It's cheap crap, and a major rule of DVD burning is that if you use crap media, you'll get crap results.
  • PuravSanghani - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    We do miss Plextor drives and will definitely include the new 16x unit in our next roundup. We have been using PlexTools for a while now and the only drive that will work with the software is a Plextor drive. Maybe its time we update our Plextor unit though :).

    As far as media testing goes, we chose MCC/MKM and Ritek media because of their track record with us. However, nothing is set in stone and we would be happy to hear any suggestions for future reviews.


  • Dennis Travis - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    I loved the review. Only thing I would like to eventually see is the latest Plextor 16X drive tested so I can compair it to the other new drives.

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