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The complete At0mic DVD writer comparison
zebra 
10/2/05 8:16:08 PM
Hero
Guru


This is a service thread for any at0micans that have the burning desire…..to burn. Yes, that’s right – this is the official at0mic “which DVD writer is right for me?” thread.

As a perfect compliment to this thread, please make reference to Atomicmpc Issue #64

This threads intention is to not only clean up the forum (many, many, MANY posts of this nature exist now – asking the same questions, every time) but to also educate the general at0mican public about the plethora of garbage and gold that exists on the DVD recorder market!

Background:

So why would you take my word for it anyway? It’s a fair question! Just why should you trust my judgement about these things?

http://www.speedlabs.org
http://www.dvd-recordable.org
http://www.cdrinfo.com

Take a read. You can find me here, acting as a moderator. I will do my best, not to steer you in the wrong direction!

The Tech:

So, which writer is right for you? These days, it has come down to a battle of a few electronics giants, with several other brands, once popular, falling by the way-side. Following is a list of drives that are deemed worth considering, if only for the fact that they are readily available to you, the Australian DVD recording consumer.

i. BenQ
ii. LG Electronics
iii. LiteOn
iv. NEC
v. Pioneer
vi. Plextor

These six companies represent the current market trends in availability and popularity of drive. They are not listed in order of preference or otherwise.

The complexities of book type settings and media quality:

For the purposes of this discussion, we will only refer to a drive as Book type setting capable or not. For information and background in Book type setting please refer to the following thread, by my good friend and long time firmware mod associate, N|KoN. The Following thread is also an amazing resource for media quality and its interaction between hardware. When we discuss "media matching capabilities" , oftentimes - people become confused. Quality MID's are easier for the majority of hardware to write well. The following thread seeks to educate people as to what QUALITY media consists of, compared to low grade media.

http://www.speedlabs.org/index.php/topic,23.0.php

Drive Scoring System:

There is an awful lot to understanding what makes a drive “good” . This is probably one of the reasons I have never been given the chance to publish a review in Atomic for DVD writers. To really understand it and appreciate the finer complexities of the topic, you would need a good 20 pages. With this in mind, I decided to use a composite rating system out of a potential 100 marks. This composite is comprised of:

• Media compatibility
• Ability to READ
• Ability to WRITE
• Write QUALITY
• Special features
• Drive manufacturing standards (build quality)
• Reliability under variable conditions
• Firmware support and upgradeability

The methodologies used to test these aspects of the hardware range from trivial to quite complex. I suggest the use of http://www.speedlabs.org for further reading on the matter. If anyone would like to chat about testing methodologies, please - feel free to ask!

The Drives – Pro’s, Con’s and all the rest:

The intention of this section is to clearly outline the advantages and disadvantages of each brand of drive, with their respective current model. This will end with a score x/100 for the purpose of overall summation.

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--------------------------------------
LG Electronics:

Current Model: LG-H50N
Book type setting: Yes
LightScribe Function: Yes

Pros:

* LG are well known for their CD-R write strategy and respectable performance to dual layer media. The drive is quiet and well made.

* Update to DL13 firmware. It fixes many of the Audio-CDR issues that previous versions had intrinsic.

Cons:

• LG drives in their current guise may use a P-CAV strategy for writing 16x media, but towards the end of the burn, write quality drops dramatically.
• LG drives tend to have less than perfect media matching capabilities to such media as LONGTEN01 and AML (all the worst media money can buy!)

Current Firmware: DL13

Added DVD-R DL capabilities

Overall: 78/100

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--------------------------------------
LiteOn:

Current Model: LH-20A1P/20A1H
Book type setting: Yes
LightScribe Function: Yes
DVD-RAM: Yes

Made famous in their CD-R writing days as the “tweakers” drives, a zebra and his friends did the same, for the DVD writing era. All these things aside, LiteOn have recently had a decline in the quality of drives, becoming the least preferable for serious burning fanatics.

Pros:

• Amazing tweak ability. If you can imagine it, we can mod it!
• Superior CD-R write quality and speed to any other DVD writer on the market
• Very hard to damage from internal firmware flashing
• Ok for 1:1 games backups!
• Finally supports DVD-R DL media
• LiteOn brings us LightScribe capabilities!
• Also includes DVD-RAM write support now!

Cons:
• Inconsistency of write quality
• Very poor media matching capability – this is one picky little drive
• STILL some lingering issues with DVD-R DL

Current Firmware: HV9X

Overall: 85/100

--------------------------------------
--------------------------------------
BenQ Electronics:

Current Model: DW-1800x
Book type setting: Yes
LightScribe Function: Yes

A surprise to the world – currently tearing away at the middle market and fighting for a place at the very top, BenQ are surprising us all with their capability to make a quality DVD writer which can stand up to even the Japanese tech. giants.

Pros:

• Great speed when writing to +R media! Z-CAV capabilities are working well
• DL Support is getting better with each firmware revision
• Wonderful read speed and ripping capabilities
• Now supports LightScribe™ and Q-Suite2.x

Cons:

• The unit cannot overspeed standard 2.4x DVD+R DL media to 8x, like some of it's more advanced relatives

Current Firmware: BXXX

Overall: 86/100

--------------------------------------
--------------------------------------
Pioneer Electronics:

Current Model: DVR-212/112
Book type setting: Yes
LightScribe Function: No
LabelFlash Function: Yes

Widely regarded as the most powerful force in the DVD writing industry, Pioneer stand in a league of their own. Impeccable write quality and media matching capabilities have kept Pioneer consistently a market leader since the inception of desktop DVD recording. Once again, the DVR-A11XLA seems to be eclipsing the previous model in the series, suggesting that the PUH/OPU and firmware development has come that little bit further again.

The DVR-A11XLA allows LabelFlash, with the use of a hacked firmware/loader, as well as DiscT@2

Pros:

• Fastest DL writing capabilities in existence. 8x to both -R and +R DL
• Highest write quality of any drive on the market
• Highest media compatibility of any drive on the market
• PCAV @ 16x to a wide range of media
• Stunning firmware support! A new firmware every month or two!
• The LabelFlash hacked loader is now freely available on rpc1.org and speedlabs.org. It really is the most versatile unit on the market

Cons:

Current Firmware: 1.23

Overall: 95/100


--------------------------------------
--------------------------------------
Plextor Electronics:

Current Model: PX-800x
Book type setting: Yes
LightScribe Function: No

For many years, Plextor was the king of premium write quality and capabilities, designed for the power user in mind. Skipping forward to 2005, Plextor no longer represent the upper echelon of quality. Oftentimes, people will buy the product simply because it is a “Plextor Premium” device.

Pros:

• VERY impressive and comprehensive sets of tools available with the drive, including “Plextools Professional”
• On media the drive is well suited to, it performs VERY well – potentially, better than any of the competition
• Great reading capabilities!
• As far as parity analysis goes, this is a must have. The drive is a superior parity scanner to every other drive on the market.

Cons:

• VERY expensive for very little return
• The "18x +R" capability has proven a sham, at best. Not worth buying, for such a reason
• Interface problems plague the SATA variant of the device. AVOID

Current Firmware: Undisclosed

Overall: 72/100

--------------------------------------
--------------------------------------
Current drives updated as of the 03/06/06 - more on the way soon!

Now get COOKING!

Z.


Edited by zebra: 15/4/2007 10:33:13 PM

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#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
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www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

raidon 
10/2/05 8:21:08 PM
Champion

Sticky

awsome zebra

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what was i thinking when i hit that
with a hammer!

Sgt Major Damage
science is my religon

zebra 
10/2/05 8:44:01 PM
Hero
Guru


Hehe. Thanks raidon! This is going to be a big work in progress, I feel!

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#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

nikon 
10/2/05 8:45:12 PM
Guru

excellent zebby
now go fix up those formatting faults i pointed out to u

make it look sexay

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Most Comprehensive DVD MID Thread
http://forums.speedlabs.org/index.php/topic,357.0.html

Computer Systems of SPL Users
http://forums.speedlabs.org/index.php/topic,780.0.html

Nich... 
10/2/05 8:55:33 PM
Hero
Immortal


Still think "official bunny love comparison thread" would've been a better title, AND would attract more people to read it :p

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"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. " -- Frank Herbert


http://www.aag.org.au/

nikon 
10/2/05 8:59:47 PM
Guru

excellent zebby
its all sexed up now

lets see how many tards make new threads on what dvd burner to buy now

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Most Comprehensive DVD MID Thread
http://forums.speedlabs.org/index.php/topic,357.0.html

Computer Systems of SPL Users
http://forums.speedlabs.org/index.php/topic,780.0.html

zebra 
10/2/05 9:04:56 PM
Hero
Guru


Lets hope none. I really want this one to be the main service thread that helps the whole community out!

-----
#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

chakkerz: "you aren't a unix admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work"

chakkerz 
10/2/05 9:07:55 PM
Overlord

I can see why the CDf**ks were upset ... what are they gonna do to retaliate ? put a scratched DVD in your bed?

edit: by popular demand the spelling of CDFreaks was updated.


Edited by chakkerz: 10/2/2005 9:09:58 PM

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with kind regards,
chakkerz

The Unger 2% Rule: "You aren't a Unix Admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work."

"... it's a good thing i've lost my mind, ... odds are if I still had it, I'd have broken it b

zebra 
10/2/05 9:11:15 PM
Hero
Guru


ROFL! Well, I always attempt to show a lack of bias and some objectivity in my estimations of hardware - rather than the f$#ks in question. Hehehe. Difference between myself and them? I am not getting paid to say these things!

-----
#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

chakkerz: "you aren't a unix admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work"

X_RuLeZ 
10/2/05 9:11:57 PM
Champion

Nice work Zebra! You are going to have a job keeping this updated. I also think it should be a sticky; I have seen the question about which burner to buy popping up all the time. This will be very helpful to the community.

BTW: I love my Pioneer DVR-109.

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zebra 
10/2/05 9:16:48 PM
Hero
Guru


:-D. Great to hear it X_RuLeZ. Expect a firmware upgrade VERY soon from Pioneer to add a few new stunts to your new hardware!

-----
#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

chakkerz: "you aren't a unix admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work"

supam 
10/2/05 9:30:34 PM
Champion

Excellent read will compliment nikons thread well.

One mistake for you

"i. BenQ
ii. LG Electronics
iii. LiteOn
iv. NEC
v. Pioneer
vi. Plextor

These five companies..."

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FX-53|K8N Neo2|2x512MB OCZ plat R2 PC3200@2.5,4,3,6,1T,280MHz,2.85v, 1:1|Powercolor X800 XT PE|Audigy2|2x120Gb Raid 0|Antec 550w

I am the anti-rice.

zebra 
10/2/05 9:32:58 PM
Hero
Guru


Excellent! Thankyou supam!

-----
#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

chakkerz: "you aren't a unix admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work"

brains 
10/2/05 9:45:35 PM
Banned

Top work zebra. It's good to see the current crop evaluated without smelling of bias.

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Shhh! We're being stealth! Seth, The Family Ties

1shot1kill 
10/2/05 9:55:52 PM
Hero
Immortal


Top stuff, man.

RTM++

-----
"Why, they couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..."

The average rounds expended per kill with the M16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 rounds. The cost difference was $2300 v. 27 cents.

Certa Cito

iorek 
10/2/05 10:39:13 PM
Titan

Excellent.

Now add the media post info in, and we can combine the stickies.

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"Dude, what do we do? I don't want to get thrown out of the hotel. I love the hotel. I want to marry the hotel and have little alcoholic, gambling-addicted kids with it. Is that wrong?" - Seth, The Strip

mark84 
11/2/05 2:57:05 AM
Primarch

Mmmm nice 'n' sticky

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"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"-Sir Winston Churchill

XP 3000+|ATI 9800 PRO 128MB|Leadtek NCR18D|Audigy2 ZS|120GB HDD|1GB RAM|Aero 7+ HSF|Xaser III case (won it from atomic ya know!)

silhouette 
11/2/05 3:22:12 AM
Guru

Thanks for the info :)

Good stuff, zebra!

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my karma ran over your dogma

*confetti*

zebra 
11/2/05 6:53:17 AM
Hero
Guru


:-D.

Later today, I will also be adding the latest Sony model to the ever-growing list.

-----
#liteonchat on liteonchat.no-ip.com on IRC!
-------------
www.speedlabs.org - home of optical fanatics

www.users.on.net/zebra

chakkerz: "you aren't a unix admin if you use a mouse for more than 2% of your work"

Radius 
11/2/05 8:35:55 AM
Overlord

Very Nice Work

• Book type setting is convoluted. Requires the Piodata kernel and firmware

DVRflash compatibility with the A/109???

Piodata equivalent to the A/109???

How you gonna' flash with an unsupported tool, a firmware that doesn't exist?? (as yet?)

Postings at RPC1 indicate to me that there is a deal of work yet to be done by the manufacturer and software developers to bring the 109 up to the 108's quality. Soppose it is early days yet though.

I can see no reason to bin my 108 at this stage.

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