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Appeared on: Monday, November 29, 2004
BenQ DW1620 (vB7P9)


1. Introduction

BenQ DW1620 - Page 1

after the release of the DW1620A model, a new firmware revision has been released which according to the manufacturer, improves the writng quality of the burner, especially with the DVD-R format. In order to confirm any kind of improvements, we retest the drive with firmware B7P9.

Anyone new to this drive is advised, before proceeding, to read the original DW1620A review that contains the full reading tests.

- Drive Features

The BenQ DW16xx series support 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:

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "BENQ DVD DL DW1620". We flashed the drive with the B7P9 firmware revision.

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

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.40
  2. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  3. PlexTools v2.17 (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)
  4. DVDInfoPro v2.63
  5. BenQ Booktype Management v8.30
  6. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.1

2. DVD Recording Tests

BenQ DW1620 - Page 2

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The BenQ DW1620 supports 16X DVD±R and 4X DVD+R DL writing.

The maximum supported speed for DVD±R is 16X (6X~16X CAV), 4X CLV for DVD±RW and 4X for DVD+R DL media.

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 will 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 DW1620 burner. Click on the screenshot for the full CDSpeed graph.

Click for details

Click for details

Click for details

Click for details

Click for details

Click for details

- 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 the 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

  • DVD-R media

  • DVD+R media

- DVD Overburning Test

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested if the BenQ DW1620 DL can overburn using DVD±R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning with DVD±R media.


3. Supported Media List for Fw B7P9

BenQ DW1620 - Page 3

Supported Media List for Fw B7P9


4. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

BenQ DW1620 - Page 4

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 16X

TDK 8X DVD+R @ 16X

Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 16X

3A 8X DVD+R @ 12X

Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- Summary

The writng quality is not only improved but also very good.


5. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

BenQ DW1620 - Page 5

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

Optodisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

The writng quality has been improved with the specific media and is now very good.


6. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

BenQ DW1620 - Page 6

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

Sony 8X DVD-R @ 16X

Taiyo Yuden 8X DVD-R @ 16X

 

- Summary

The writing quality here is also very good and also impoved in comparison with the previous firmware revision.


7. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

BenQ DW1620 - Page 7

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

CMC 8X DVD-R @ 12X

Mitsubishi/Verbatim 8X DVD-R @ 12X

 

- Summary

Once again the writng quality is very good, if not excellent.


8. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

BenQ DW1620 - Page 8

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

Datawrite 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Intenso 8X DVD-R @ 8X

TDK 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Traxdata 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Summary

Very good performance...


9. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

BenQ DW1620 - Page 9

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

BeAll 4X DVD-R @ 4X

BenQ 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Intenso 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Mam 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Mitsubishi Chemicals 4X DVD-R @ 4X

MMore 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Optodisc 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Traxdata 4X DVD-R @ 4X

Taiyo Yuden 4X DVD-R @ 4X

 

- Summary

High recording quality from the BenQ drive.


10. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

BenQ DW1620 - Page 10

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

Optodisc 4X DVD+RW @ 4X

Mitsubishi Chemicals 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

Optodisc 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

Traxdata 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

 

- Summary

While the writng quality with RW media is good, we believe it could be better.


11. DVD+R DL- Page 1

BenQ DW1620 - Page 11

DVD+R DL- Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned Verbatim, Philips and Traxdata 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 in ISO format (single file). We used the latest version of CopyToDVD software to burn the image file to the Traxdata Double Layer media. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the BenQ burner to start burning.

The recorder needed sometime to initialize the inserted media and the recording process started after some seconds. Total burning time reported by CopyToDVD was 37:50mins with 2.4X average writing speed.

We then repeated the same procedure with Verbatim Double Layer media. CopyToDVD reported 24:21mins total burning time with 4X average writing speed.

And finally, with the new DL media from Philips. CopyToDVD reported 39:58mins total burning time with 2.4X average writing speed.

For comparison reasons, we post some burning results from other DL writers, which all burned the same content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1), using the CopyToDVD software:

Drive Time ( min)
BenQ DW1620 24:21
TDK 1616N (4X)
22:51
NEC ND-3500A (4X)
22:52
Pioneer DVR-108A (4X)
23:10
ASUS DRW-1604P (4X)
23:10
Samsung TS-H552 (2.4X)
37:19
SONY DRU-710A (2.4X)

37:25

LG GSA-4160B (2.4X)
37:59
LiteON SOHW-1633S (2.4X)

38:37

BenQ DW1600A DL (2.4X)
40:16

12. DVD+R DL- Page 2

BenQ DW1620 - Page 12

DVD+R DL- Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the DVD+R DL writing quality of the BenQ burner, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712A drives.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R DL @ 4X

Philips DVD+R DL @ 2.4X

Traxdata DVD+R DL @ 2.4X

- Summary

In all cases the writing quality is rather good.


13. QScan Utility

BenQ DW1620 - Page 13

QScan Utility

What is TE and FE?

TE (Tracking Error) shows how well the drive follows the predefined track on the disc. FE (Focus Error) shows how well the drive is able to focus the laser on the disc. When the laser beam cannot focus horizontally and vertically, TE and FE will occur and can be recorded. That means, lower and smoother TE and FE error level indicates laser beam can focus more precisely on disc tracks.

Importance of TE and FE

1. A good quality disc will have clear track so a drive can write data on it more easily. And a correctly focused laser will make a correctly defined pit. Therefore, low TE/FE error level can maximize the writing strategy performance of the drive.
2. When burning at low speed, drive servo usually has the ability to compensate small TE/FE variance of the disc. But when burning speed increases, TE/FE plays important role to help us identify if the disc can successfully burn under desired speed. Imagine when you drive at high speed, the smooth level of the road will decide if this is going to be a bumpy ride.
3. Here we have 3 graphs to demonstrate TE and FE using BenQ's QScan (detail description of QScan will be covered in Part 2). X-axis describes disc track location and Y-axis marks TE and FE error level. Criteria are set as: TE 500 and FE 450. They are relative values rather than absolute ones. When the measured TE or FE value goes beyond defined criteria at some disc location once, QScan will determine the disc as "not recommended" for burning under selected speed, because disc will likely to encounter write fail or read fail at that address.
4. Based on our previous description, a disc that makes writing strategy deployed well should have (1) TE/FE measurement beneath criteria and (2) stable line shape. For example, disc of Graph-1 meets both requirements. Usually this kind of discs will be qualified as "good" or A-grade discs.
5. It's worth noted that even a disc that has TE/FE beneath criteria like Graph-2, if the drawing line is quite "bumpy" (i.e. TE/FE has big variance), it's not good for writing strategy either.
6. The disc shown in Graph-3, which neither meets requirement (1) nor (2), will almost encounter high PI or POP.

Below are the results of scans of two media, both from Mitsubishi Chemicals, at two different speeds for each media.

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD+R scaned for 16X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD+R scaned for 4X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 4X DVD+R DL scanned for 4X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 4X DVD+R DL scanned for 2.4X

According to the results, both discs burn acceptably at the selected speeds.


14. Conclusion

BenQ DW1620 - Page 14

Conclusion

With the new firmware revision, the BenQ burner has been impoved and many problems solved, especially some issues with the -R format writing quality. So combining the good reading capabilities with the new writing qualtity, and if we consider the $63 price tag, we have an excellent overall burner.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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