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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Tuesday, September 07, 2004
BenQ DW1620A


1. Introduction - Retail Package

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 1

released the first ever 16X recordable drive, the DW1600A back in June, supporting only 16X DVD+R writing. Since then, other manufacturers have shipped 16X DVD±R solutions along with 4X DL, leaving BenQ behind in the speed race.

Recently, BenQ announced that by the end of August, all DW1600A buyers would have the chance to upgrade their drives up to 16X DVD-R writing! The long awaited firmware finally arrived at almost the same time as the DW1620A hit the market, supporting 16X DVD±R but not 4X DL.

At this point, it is very intersting to see how well BenQ's 16X DVD-R and 4X DVD-RW implemetation works, since we already know that the DW1600A is one of the best recorders for +R/+RW formats, thanks to the chipsets used (Philips) and the unique recording technologies implemented, as will be explained below.

- Drive Features

The BenQ DW16xx series supports the following unique features:


- Specifications

Interface:
E-IDE/ATAPI (Ultra DMA Mode 2)
Writing Speed:

DVD±R: 16X, DVD±RW: 4X, DVD+R DL: 2.4X

CD-R: 40X, CD-RW: 24X
Read Speed:

DVD+R/-R/+RW/-RW: 16X max

DVD-ROM: 16X, CD-R/RW: 40X
Random Access:
DVD: 120msec, CD: 120msec
Buffer Size:
2MB

Supported Disc Formats:

DVD: DVD+R DL 8.5GB, DVD+R 4.7GB, DVD+RW 4.7GB, DVD-R 4.7GB (closed session), DVD-RW 4.7GB (closed session), DVD-Video, DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18
CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM XA (m1, m2f1/m2f2), CD-R, CD-RW, Bootable CD, Photo CD (single & multi-session), Video CD, Super Video CD, CD-Extra, Mixed-mode CD, CD-Text, CD-Graphics
Supported Writing Types:

DVD±RW: DVD Data and Video

  CD-R/RW:Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Multisession, Packet Writing (fixed & variable packet), CD Digital Audio, Direct-Over-Write on CD-RW, Test Write

The drive does not support Mount Rainier and it uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. DVD-RAM media is also not supported for either reading or writing. Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- Tested Kit / Software Bundle

The retail package that arrived at our labs, included the BenQ DW1620A DL drive along with Sonic's RecordNow Burning Software, InterVideo WinCinema (WinDVD + Win DVD Creator) DVD Authoring/Editing Software and BenQ's QVideo 2.0 (easy DV, TV, AV to DVD). The BenQ Book Type Management v8.3 program was also included to ensure media backward compatibility with older DVD players.

The retail package further included one 16X DVD+R media (Philips C16 Media ID), an ATA66 ribbon cable (BenQ states this is necessary in order for the drive to work properly), 4 mounting screws and an Audio cable. Lastly, two printed small software/hardware guides are included for less experienced users. Now let's take a look at the drive itself.

The front bezel has changed compared with the previous DW1600A series, with the eject button being much smaller, something we didn't like. The DVD+RW, DVD+R DL, USRW and DVD-R/RW logos are present stating the drive's reading/writing features. The drive continues to come with a black-colored tray that according to BenQ, minimizes jitter and enhances readability and burning quality. The activity led lights up green when a disc is present, blinks green when reading or accessing a disc and red when burning.

On the rear panel you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input. Our drive was manufactured during July 2004 in Malaysia.

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. You can click on the mainboard picture for a higher resolution image:

Click To Enlarge!

The heart of the drive is the Philip's Nexperia PNX7860E chipset.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "BENQ DVD DL DW1620". The drive arrived with firmware revision B7G9 and since a newer firmware version had been released, we flashed the drive without problems to firmware revision B7H9. Newer firmware updates are expected to support more media for 12X and 16X writing speeds.

Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the ASUS DRW-1604P and the Pioneer DVR-108.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.21
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.22
  5. KProbe v2.4.0 (Readers: For DVD media LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q Reading speed 8X CAV, for DL media LiteON SOHD-167T firmware 9S04 reading speed 6X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.16 (Reader: For CD/DVD Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.04, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R and 2X CLV for DVD media with medium accuracy)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.63
  8. BenQ Booktype Management v8.30
  9. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.20

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The BenQ DW1620A DL supports up to 40X reading speed.

All tested drives support up to 40X reading with CD-ROM and CD-R media, and 32X with US-RW media for the ASUS and Pioneer, 40X for the BenQ. The BenQ DW1620A showed very good performance with all test discs, and was the fastest with USRW media, due to the fact that both the ASUS and Pioneer drives can read US-RW media up to 32X, not 40X.

-DVD Format

The DW1620A can read PTP Single Layer DVD-ROM discs at 16X CAV. The average read speed was 12.08, which was enough to get first place.

With a PTP DVD-ROM disc, the starting point of the two layers is at the inner part of the disc. The drive reads from the beginning of each layer (inner part) progreesing towards the outer part of the disc. The reported average speed for the BenQ drive is significantly lower than the other two drives since the DW1620A reads the outer parts of the disc which is the end of each layer, at a speed of 8.08X (3~8CAV).

With an OTP Dual Layer disc, the first layer structure is the same as the first layer on a PTP disc. The drive reads the first layer exactly the same way as PTP discs, and at the same speed. The starting point of the second layer of an OTP disc is located at the outer part of the disc. The reported average speed was 6.00X (3~8CAV)

The DW1620A reported similar speed results when reading single layer DVD±R/RW discs with 3~8 CAV resulting in a 6.25X average speed.

The DW1620A ripped a full dual layer DVD-Video disc at an average speed of 7886kb/sec, which is a good performance.

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defective discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

The drive doesn't support C2 error information.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1101705
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 55578
Avg: -73.7 dB(A)
Max: -34.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3525
Avg: 1.3 Samples
Max: 537 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
76.3 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The DW1620A DL drive displayed quite good performance with this test disc. The total error count (1101705) is about average, the maximum error loudness level of -32.6dB(A) is low where the human ear cannot hear it, as are the error loudness and muting sample counts, while there were no skipped samples. The final score of 76.3 is good.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 0
Avg: -174.0 dB(A)
Max: -174.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
100.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

We observe the best possible performance from the BenQ DW1620A DL with the Abex TCD-726 test disc, where it received a perfect score of 100.0.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
BenQ DW1620A
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
2/5

The DW1620A passed 5 out of 5 plays for the first four Check Levels of the test, while in the fifth level, it managed 2 out of 5. This is indicative of very good error correction capabilities. Very few drives ever manage to play up to the fifth level.

- Conclusion

The BenQ DW1620A offers very good CD error correction, performing extremely well with all our test discs. The fact that the drive doesn't support reporting C2 pointers is a drawback, which of course is needed by expert users.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media
ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The DW1620A read the disc climbing up to a speed of 16X CAV. The scratched area did not affect the reading process. The performance reveals good error correction capabilities with scratched single layer DVD-ROM discs.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

Again, the drive read the disc without any read errors. Reading speed was not reduced when the drive read the defective areas.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is an 8.5GB dual layer single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.

There were no errors during the reading process, nor any slow downs over the scratched areas.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints.

The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

The drive did not have any problem reading the TDR-845 test disc.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm.

It also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

The DW1620A showed excellent behavior with both the TDV-541 and TDV-545 test discs. Linear, smooth graphs means very good performance!


5. Protected Disc Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.
Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
00:58 min
1558 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
44:35 min
125.3 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
2:46 min
2070 sectors/sec

The BenQ was exceptionally fast with the PSX disc (Lybcrypt). During SecuROM v2 ripping, the drive was slightly slower than the two other drives, but when it comes to SafeDisc v2 disc, all tested drives are very slow...

- Writing Tests

The DW1620A DL recorder supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.
Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1x

Sims Superstar
SD v2.9x
Sims Unleashed
SD v2.8x
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.50.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
No
No
No
No
No
Creative CD5233E

BenQ DW1600A DL

Yes
Yes
Yes

The above table indicates that the DW1620A DL is not a suitable drive for copying SafeDisc protected discs. Only some versions of Safedisc protection could be backed up, and the backups played only when the DW1620A was used as the reader.


6. DAE Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The DW1620A supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

The DW1620A has very good performance and was behind the DVR-108A by only a very small margin. As EAC reports, the drive cannot cache DAE, supports accurate stream and cannot report C2 error information.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The DW1620A achieved a perfect quality score of 100 in Nero's CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The drive can read Leadin data, CD Text and Subchannel data, but cannot read Leadout data. The reported average speed was 26.92X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

The drive can also read and rip 90/99min Audio CDs without any problems.


7. Protected AudioCDs

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session, causing problems for readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The DW1620A DL recognized up to the 12th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, it recognized the 13th Data track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
BenQ DW1620A DL
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks

The BenQ DW1620A DL could rip both Key2Audio/CDS200 protected audio discs. Both discs were recognized and their contents were ripped at maximum speed. The drive rips 100% accurately, and EAC did not report timing problems and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for all tracks.

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected with specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the wav file produced from the Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a disc with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors and for BETA/Jitter errors with PlexTools software using Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.04).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
BenQ DW1620A DL
Reading performed without any errors, writing produces C2 spikes.

The C1/C2 error graphs indicate that the drive produced a 100% error free disc. After extracting all wav files with the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTools DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled, no errors were reported. The drive can backup the disc accurately:


8. CD Recording Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 8X, 12X, 16X (CLV), 32X and 40X (P-CAV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive reached the maximum 40X speed. The test started at 17.73X and finished at 40.53X having an average speed of 30.32X. Click on the image below to see more detail.

- CD-R Recording Times

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom and recorded the data on a 700MB disc. The DW1620A finished the task in 3:37 minutes when writing at 40X. The ASUS DRW-1604P and Pioneer DVR-108 cannot really compete due to their lower recording speed (32X).

The writing performance varies according to the inserted media, as our tests showed. Below is a chart listing the corresponding recording times for various media.

- Other features

The DW1620A supports overburning, writing up to 99min. and can read/write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

The DW1620A supports 16X CLV, 24X P-CAV rewriting speeds with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW). The drive also writes at 4X/10X CLV with HS-RW discs, while NS (1~4X) CD-RW media is not supported. Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals. The average writing speed was 23.40X!

We also used Nero Burning Rom in order to burn a 24X US-RW data disc from MC. The data compilation we burned had a size of 651 MB and the duration of the recording process was 3:58 minutes.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier Tests

The BenQ DW1620A DL does not support the Mount Rainier format.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

On this page we present the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs when using various media burned at the 40X CAV writing speed.

- 3T Pit results

The drive's performance was very good with most media used. The only media that had very high 3T Pit jitter values was Waitec 52X media, which also had C2 errors. The best results came with BenQ 52X media.

- 3T Land results

Again the worst performance came from Waitec 52X media, while SKC 52X media had really low values.

On the following page we check the C1 and C2 error rates of the same discs, to come up with more specific conclusions.


10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate of the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software used was PleXTools Professional v2.16, and particularly the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.04).

BenQ 80min 52X @ 32X

Maxell 80min 48X @ 32X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

Taiyo Yuden 80min 48X @ 32X

Verbatim 80min 48X @ 32X

Waitec 80min 52X @ 32X

- Summary

The DW1620A drive produced high C2 errors with SKC and Waitec CD-R media. Using BenQ, Maxell and TY will produce the best results.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon.
79m59s74f
Maxell 48X
97m15s17f
Ritek Co.
79m59s70f
SKC 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Verbatim 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
79m59s73f
Waitec 80min 52X
97m28s26f
Multi Media Masters & Machinery SA
79m59s74f

11. DVD Recording Tests

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The BenQ DW1620A supports 16X DVD±R and DVD+R DL writing. BenQ DW1600A users can upgrade their drives to the DW1620A with a simple firmware upgrade. BenQ will not continue supporting the DW1600A in terms of firmware upgrades, since all improvements will be included in the DW1620A firmware. It's highly suggested to upgrade your drives to the DW1620A even if you don't burn DVD-R media!

The maximum supported speed for DVD±R is 16X (6X~16X CAV), 4X CLV for DVD±RW and 2.4X for DVD+R DL media. The current competition offers the same DVD±R writing speeds but higher DVD+R DL writing speeds (Pioneer DVR-108A and NEC 3500A).

Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below.

The drive burns CLV at 2.4X and 4X, P-CAV at 8X/12X and CAV at 16X. With DVD-R/RW media, 1X/2X writing speeds are not supported, meaning older 1X/2X rated DVD-RW media won't burn at all. BenQ has found that 8X DVD+R media can over-speed up to 12X and even 16X with good burning quality. Firmware upgrades improve the compatibility list, meaning more media would be supported and burning quality improved.

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed's "create disc" function, we are able to see the 8X, 12X and 16X recording technology being used by the DW1620A DL recorder. For the following graphs, we used Philips 16X DVD+R media.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 8X in 8:33mins. It started writing at 5.03X, reached a maximum writing speed of 8.09X and clocked in an average speed of 7.70X.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 12X in 6:27min. Starting at 5.12X, it reached a maximum writing speed of 12.27X and reported an average speed of 10.40X.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 16X in 5:50mins. It started to writing at 4.46X, reached a maximum writing speed of 15.99X and reported an average speed of 11.52X.

Below is a table with several 12X and 16X recorders, reporting the average writing speed as measured by Nero CDDVDSpeed, showing that the BenQ DW1620A is the fastest 16X recorder:

Drive
Writing Strategy
Writing Speed
Average
Writing Speed
Plextor PX-712A
P-CAV
12X
10.62X
LG GSA-4120B
Z-CLV
12X
9.87X
BenQ DW1620A
CAV
16X
11.52X
ASUS DRW-1604P
Z-CLV
16X
10.11X
Pioneer DVR-108A
Z-CLV
16X
10.03X

- Supported media list/Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc. With current firmware (vB7H9) not many media are supported at 16X, especially for the DVD-R format. Future firmware releases are expected to support more media at 12X/16X for both DVD±R formats.

- Writing Time Results

According to BenQ, there's one more media supported at 16X, SONY's 8X -R, which we didn't test:

Several Nero screenshots are placed below:

3A 8X -R Burning Error

BenQ 16X -R writing...

Maxell 8X -R at 12X writing...

The following table illustrates more supported media for 16X speed, most of them haven't yet been released to the public ;-)

Below are two Nero screenshots from BenQ DW1620A:

BenQ 8X +R at 16X!

And the lowest ever recording time with Philips 16X +R media!

- Comparison with other drives

The BenQ DW1620a is the fastest writer at 16X for both ±R formats as the test results showed. The ASUS and Pioneer drives cannot compete, due to their Z-CLV implementation.

With DVD re-writable media, the Pioneer and ASUS burners are faster with -RW media but slower with +RW.

- DVD Overburning Test

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested if the BenQ DW1620A DL can overburn using DVD±R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning with DVD±R media.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The drive doesn't support the Mount Rainier feature.


12. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 12

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

While PlexTools showed good quality with BenQ 16X -R media, the PI errors as reported by KProbe were very high. With TY 8X -R media, both KProbe and Plextools showed good quality, however keep in mind that the disc didn't burn at 16X (burning time 10:18mins), where during the burn process the DW1620A dropped speed to 4X.


13. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 13

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

12X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

The PIF scans with Plextools shows low levels, while the KProbe scans in most cases, were the opposite.


14. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 14

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

Plextools report read error!

Plextools report read error!

- Summary

The writing quality at 8X seems to have serious problems. Two burned media were un-readable with the PX-712A drive, the 811S gave very high PI error rates, while the Verbatim 8X -R media results were very good.


15. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 15

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

4X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Here too, the two graphs show a totally different picture. The PIF scans with Plextools were low, while the KProbe scans in most cases were the opposite. The best results came with Maxell and Verbatim 4X rated media.


16. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 16

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

The writing quality at 16X was good, according to Plextools.


17. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 17

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

The recording quality at 12X +R speed was good with most of the tested media!


18. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 18

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Excellent performance with all tested media!


19. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 19

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the burned DVD±R media . The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.4.0, and the reader is the LiteOn LDW-811S with "HS0Q patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. In addition, all discs have been scanned with the PX-712A (v1.04 firmware) using PlexTools v2.16 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe and PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speeds, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

4X DVD-RW Writing Speed

The LiteON 811S failed to recognize the two burned 4X DVD-RW media, whereas the LiteON 167T DVD-ROM did, so we don't know if the problem is with the reader or the burned discs...

4X DVD+RW Writing Speed

- Summary

The recording quality with most DVD±RW media needs improvement.


20. DVD+R DL - Page 1

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 20

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- DVD+R DL BookType Setting

The DW1620A is capable of writing Double Layer discs, nearly doubling the capacity that can be stored on one disc. BenQ was one of the first companies to add DL support in DVD+R recorders. For our tests, we used the only two available DVD+R DL media from Verbatim and TraxData.

The BenQ Book Type Management v8.3 program ensures media backward compatibility with older DVD players. This program allows us to freely choose a DVD+RW, DVD+R or DVD+R DL disc to be written as DVD-ROM book type, the most recognized disc format for DVD players. There is also an easier way to change the Booktype setting, from within Nero 6.0 right before the writing process begins, just tick the DVD-ROM box.

- Writing Tests

We burned two DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content. The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First, we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter as ISO format (single file). Afterwards, we used CopyToDVD v3.0.0.26. After choosing the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image we selected the BenQ DW1620A DL burner.

After pressing "OK", the burning procedure started, without any unexpected delays:

The writing process was finished after 40:03minutes. The average speed was 2.25X as reported by CopyToDVD software. The recorded disc had DVD-ROM format booktype setting.

The drive didn't have any problems writing the Ritek DL media, while the burning time was 5secs longer:

For comparison reasons, we post DL burning results from other writers, with the same disc content and same recording software:
Drive
Time (mins)
NEC 2510A
37:17
BenQ DW1600A DL
40:16
BenQ DW830A
39:14
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A

38:39

LG GSA-4120B
38:12
ASUS DRW-1604P (4X)
23:10
ASUS DRW-1604P (2.4X)
38:08
Pioneer DVR-108A (4X)
23:10
Pioneer DVR-108A (2.4X)

38:23

BenQ DW1620A
40:03

As was expected, the ASUS and Pioneer drives have much lower recording times, since they support the 4X DL writing speed.


21. DVD+R DL - Page 2

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 18

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

* Verbatim 2.4X DVD+R Double Layer Media

Using KProbe v2.4.0 and the LiteOn SOHD-167T at 6X, we saw a major increase in PI errors on Layer 1.

Using the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTools, we also noticed increased PI errors on Layer 1.

* TraxData 2.4X DVD+R9 Double Layer Media

The recording quality seems very good, with much lower PI error rates on both Layers 0 and 1 compared with the Verbatim DL media.

- Compatibility

The BenQ DW1620A will burn directly all DVD+R9 projects with DVD-ROM booktype, making sure you will get maximum compatibility.


22. DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 1

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 22

DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 1

The BenQ DW1620A can report PI and Jitter values from burned DVD recordable/re-writable media. What's rather disappointing is that the drive cannot read the media at high speeds, since even at the 8X reading speed setting, the real speed is around 0.5~1.3X. The scanning interval also is not 1ECC but 8ECC, dropping the accuracy of the drive, since the sample count is low.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific, tested BenQ DW1620A DL drive. Using other DW1620A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The PI and Jitter error rate trend lines follow that of the SA300 scans, which is very encouraging. However, we have to see how the drive performs with the other test media.


23. DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 2

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 23

DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 2

The BenQ DW1620A can report PI and Jitter values from burned DVD recordable/re-writable media. What's rather disappointing is that the drive cannot read the media at high speeds, since even at the 8X reading speed, the real speed is around 0.5~1.3X. The scanning interval also is not 1ECC but 8ECC, dropping the accuracy of the drive, since the sample count is low.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1620A DL drive. Using other DW1620A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The reported PI errors from the BenQ DW1620A are totally different than from the CATS scan. We would not recomend using the drive to scan DVD recordable media.


24. DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 3

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 24

DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 3

The BenQ DW1620A can report PI and Jitter values from burned DVD recordable/re-writable media. What's rather disappointing is that the drive cannot read the media at high speeds, since even at 8X reading speed, the real speed is around 0.5~1.3X. The scanning interval also is not 1ECC but 8ECC, dropping the accuracy of the drive, since the sample count is low.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1620A DL drive. Using other DW1620A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#3nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The DW1620A read the disc at an extremely low speed of 0.4~0.6X. The reported PI error rates are very low, indicating a perfect disc, which is correct compared with the CATS results. The reported DC Jitter from the drive is low indicating good disc quality.


25. DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 4

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 25

DW1620A DL vs. SA300 - Page 4

The BenQ DW1620A can report PI and Jitter values from burned DVD recordable/re-writable media. What's rather disappointing is that the drive cannot read the media at high speeds, since even at 8X reading speed, the real speed is around 0.5~1.3X. The scanning interval also is not 1ECC but 8ECC, dropping the accuracy of the drive, since the sample count is low.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1620A DL drive. Using other DW1620A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#4nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The PIF error rates are low enough just as in the CATS scan, even though the values are not at the same levels. The reported Jitter tends to increased in Layer 1, which is also reported with the CATS scan. The reading speed is low, 0.9~1.5X, so it will take much time to scan a disc, not reccomended for most users...


26. Booktype BitSetting

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 26

Booktype BitSetting

The BenQ DW1620A supports booktype management with the use of the included software:

The user can easily change the booktype, according to his/her wishes, despite recommendations to leave the default setting (DVD-ROM):


27. Conclusion

BenQ DW1620A DL Recorder - Page 27

Conclusion

The DW1620A drive comes to fill the gap that the DW1600A had left, supporting -R and -RW formats. The 16X recording race has already heated up with shipments from ASUS and Pioneer 16X recorders, giving users a good platform for comparison.

We already knew that the DW1600A was a very good +R/+RW recorder, the greatest challenge for BenQ would be to make an equally good recorder for -R/RW format, using Philips chipsets. Judjing from our recording tests, we can say that the attempt needs improvement. While the drive will burn almost every ttype of inserted -R/RW media, the produced discs may not be readable in specific cases. Other discs which are readable, may have high PI error rates, while there were some specific cases where the burning quality was good..

We believe that BenQ will improve the compatibility and fix the problems with -R media with a new firmware upgrade.

With DL writing, the drive cannot compete against the ASUS and Pioneer 16X drives, due to its 2.4X writing speed. The DW1620A won't have any problems writing both Verbatim and TraxData (RITEK) DL media. The writing quality with CD-R media is good with low C1/C2 errors and 3T Jitter, but needs improvement with specific media.

The CD and DVD error correction capabilities of the drive are excellent, however the drive cannot read C2 pointers, which might disappoint experienced users. When backing up copy protected discs (games), you will face problems, since the used chipsets cannot reproduce accurately most SD2 weak patterns. On the other hand, audio protected discs were no problem, and perfect backups were created as if there was no protection at all.

The DW1620A can be used to measure (scan) DVD recordable/re-writeable media, however we don't recommend using it for such a purpose, since the reading speeds are very low 0.4X~1.2X and the produced results did not compare with the CATS.

Concluding our review, if you mainly burn +R/+RW media, the drive won't disappoint you, offering high recording speeds and burning quality. If on the other hand you mainly burn -R/-RW media, you have to limit your media options to the ones that work best with the drive, else you might face problems...

The price of the drive is around US$82 (wholesale) and US$117 (retail kit), while the Pioneer DVR-108 sells for around US$89~95.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed



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