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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  • JetBlack69 - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Any information about how loud the drives where while reading the discs? I'm in the market for a DVD burner and I'd like a drive that's quiet.
  • semo - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    btw, any news on the nec 4550a?
  • semo - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    no taiyo yuden media tests?

    i personally don't like 16x media. tyg02 dye burned on the dw1640 @ 8x give really good results. i think you can also overspeed to 12x.
  • keitaro - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Okay, so we see the latest generation of drives with their latest firmware installed. However, tested with only a handful of medias? How about comparing those to that of Taiyo-Yuden discs? It'd be interesting to see how they stack up when compared to the more commonly affordable discs.
  • gdtaylor - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    I'm still waiting for affordable Dual Layer media.
  • Calin - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Looks like the past of the burners was great, their present is... well, see #3
    I think there is no reason to wonder, as I payed three years ago one and a half ($100) for a Teac CD burner that worked perfectly than for the LG 4160 burner that has strong media preferences
  • IceWindius - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    Hah, I love my Plextor 716A with the newest firmware that does 6x DL burning.
  • HDTVMan - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    It most certainly can be crappy media from Ritek. Since they changes their media to AZO their media is crap. Look at the inner ring and notice that there is media seperation from poor manufacturing. The sad part is they were great started to sell like mad then went shotty but people still buy them. If you want reliable DL media buy Memorex or even better Verbatim. I will never buy another Ritek disc after a near 100 pack nightmare. One disc even seperated completely down the middle. Sad Pure Sad.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    The NEC model 3540 says on newegg it can do 8x DL. They list the older 3520A model for $38.

    No error graph for the 2.4x DL on reads for the NEC drive?
  • marcuri - Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - link

    when the hell are we going to see burners that can do 8x DL? been waiting for one of those for awhile.....

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