1. Introduction - Upgrade procedure
BenQ DW800A Dual Recorder - Page 1
Recently BenQ offered all BenQ DW800A users the chance to upgrade their drive(s)
from single (+R/RW) to dual (±R/RW) format. BenQ charged users
$10 for each drive they wanted to upgrade, mainly due to
royalty fees. The
firmware upgrade allowed 2X DVD-R and 1X DVD-RW recording, with some
limitations of course... After a while, BenQ released a new firmware, increasing
the DVD-R writing
Let's see how the drive performs at 4X with various DVD-R media.
- Upgrade procedure
Before upgrading your drive, you must visit the BenQ website
and read the instructions carefully. After paying the $10 fee, an email
confirmation includes all the necessary details (download link and
complete the procedure. Let's see this step by step. The details of the
DW800A drive are available below:
After downloading the -RW firmware, the updater utility prompts us to enter
our serial number before flashing the drive. Note that you must be connected
in order to allow the flasher to check the validation of the serial number
and proceed with the update process. This way, BenQ ensures that all users
will pay to upgrade their drives...
Below is the flash tool's opening window:
As we mentioned, an internet connection is required here. Insert your serial
the "FLASH" button. If the serial is valid, the process begins:
Once the flashing procedure has ended, you now need to reboot your PC in
order for Windows to find the recorder's new ID.
Let's now see our "new" recorder. The drive is identified
DUAL 8X4X12" and supports DVD-R/-RW writing as DVDInfoPro and CDSpeed
Although the drive's ID remains the same,
the firmware revision changed to the B3D7, which is final
since no newer firmware should be expected in the near future, according
to BenQ. For unknown
reasons, the B3D7
firmware was removed from the BenQ website only a couple of days after its
initiall availability. For all those who are interested, you can download it
2. DVD-R recording tests
BenQ DW800A Dual Recorder - Page 2
- Test Setup
For testing the writing performance of the BenQ DW800A Dual recorder with
a variety of DVD-R media at 4X, we used the following software:
Nero CD-DVD Speed
- Create Disc
- Transfer Rate (with the BenQ BW800A Dual recorder)
- Reader: LiteOn SOHW-812S firmware US0F/G
- Settings: PI/PO Sum: 8 ECC
- Settings: 4X CLV reading speed for all tests
Below are the KProbe scans for each media and the corresponding CDSpeed graphs.
Imation 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Intenso 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Mam 4X DVD-R @ 4X
It is interesting that although KProbe returns a very high amount of PI
errors, the disc is readable with the BenQ drive. This certainly strengthens
the arguments that the measurements taken by KProbe may not be all that reliable..
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Mirror 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Again, it is strange that the drive reports an unrecovered read error at the
3.3GB mark, where the PI error level is very low at this point.
It is more logical to have expected a read error within the
few GBs of the disc, where the PI error rate is quite high.
Noname 4X DVD-R @ 4X
PONY 4X DVD-R @ 2.4X
BulkPaq Red 4X DVD-R @ 4X
When the PI error rate reaches 600, the BenQ DW800A dual drive stops reading.
Sentinel 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Despite the high spikes in the PI error rate, the CDSpeed graph was perfect.
SKC 4X DVD-R @ 4X
The BenQ DW800A lowers its reading speed to 1.98X.
TDK 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Verbatim 4X DVD-R @ 4X
Overall the BenQ DW800A performed well in the 4X DVD-R writing tests. With
quality media, the drive will produce low error rates (PI) as the KProbe scans
and the CDSpeed graphs are perfect (4~8X CAV).
However, we noticed problems with non branded media, like:
- BulkPaq Red (Princo based),
- Mirror (Manufacturer(?): AN31) and
- Noname (Manufacturer(?): VanGuard),
where the BenQ DW800A reported either unrecoverable read errors or dropped
the reading speed. The BenQ DW800A Dual drive also lowered its reading speed
media. Lastly, the PONY (RitekG04) was burned at 2.4X while most other burners
support 4x for this disc.
The BenQ DW800A had a good reputation as a quality 8X DVD burner for +R format,
and we can say the same holds true for -R format. When used with quality
-R media, the results were very good and a future firmware update (if any)
possibly keep the recording speed at 2.4X for a few media types, in order
to maintain better writing quality.