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Appeared on: Monday, July 05, 2004
BenQ DW1600A DL


1. Retail Package - Installation

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 1

released its first 16X recordable drive, the DW1600A. At this recording speed, a single layer 4.75GB disc can now be recorded in a little less than six minutes. The drive supports only DVD+R/+RW recording, but according to BenQ, a firmware upgrade will be available in August 2004 to allow it to support DVD-R/-RW recording. In addition, the drive features DVD+R Double Layer recording at a speed of 2.4X, nearly doubling the capacity of recordable discs.

Although drive performance is an important point for all end users, writing quality should be taken under consideration as well, especially at 16X recording speed, as more 16X DVD recording capable devices will hit the market soon. So, let's get down to it...

- Drive 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. Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool. VSO Inspector and DVDInfoPro:

- Tested Kit / Software Bundle

The package that arrived at our labs, included the BenQ DW16700A DL drive along with Sonic 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 v8.2 program was also included to ensure media backward compatibility with older DVD players (will be explained later on this review).

Now let's take a look at the drive itself.

We received the DW1600A DL drive with black-colored tray. BenQ claims that dark-colored trays minimize jitters and enhance readability and burning quality. The activity led lights up green when a disc is present, blinks green when reading / accessing a disc and red when burning. On the front, the user will distinguish the DVD+R DL logo.

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 May 2004 in Malaysia with SN #3.

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 PNX7860 chipset.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "BENQ DVD DL DW1600". The drive arrived with firmware revision B5A9 and since a newer firmware version had been released, we flashed the drive with no problem to firmware revision B5B9, and later to revision B5C9. Newer firmware updates are expected to support more media for 12X and 16X writing speeds.

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

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the Optorite DD0405 and the LiteOn SOHW-832S.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.01
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.21
  5. KProbe v2.1.0 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S13, LiteOn XJ-HD165H firmware CH11, and LiteOn LTD-163 firmware GH5S, Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.14 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.01, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.54
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.15
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.2.2.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.19.33

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The BenQ DW1600A DL supports up to 40X reading speed.

The DW1600A is faster than Optorite's drive, but cannot match the LiteOn 832S when it comes to pressed CDs, with 31.52X average transfer rate speed. Using CDR media, the drive performed as fast as the 832S, and was again faster than the Optorite DD0405.

Using US-RW media, DW1600A performed excellently and gave the highest speed value among the three drives. The drive's maximum speed is stated as 40X. It reached 41.58 in our tests, with an overall average speed of 31.36X.

-DVD Format

The DW1600A can read PTP Single Layer DVD-ROM discs at 16X CAV. The average read speed was 12.07, a great performance at this point. The maximum speed achieved was 16.12X.

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) towards the outer part of the disc. The reported average speed was slightly lower than the other two drives. Biggest speed difference is reported when DW1600A is reading the outer parts of the disc, at the end of each layer, with a speed of 8.07X (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 with 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 6.05X (3~8CAV)

DW1600A reported similar speed results when reading single layer -R/-RW and +R/+RW discs. Always slightly faster than LiteOn's drive and slightly slower than Optorite's drive. But such differences in speed are not worthy of notice (again 3~8CAV).

The DW1600A ripped a full dual layer DVD-Video disc with an average speed of 8814kb/sec. Again, slightly faster than LiteOn's drive and slightly slower than Optorite's drive.

-Appendix

Seek Times

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

BenQ DW1600A 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.

Notice that the drive doesn't support C2 error information.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1102682
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 55429
Avg: -73.7 dB(A)
Max: -32.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3488
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 DW1600A DL drive displayed quite good performance with this test disc. The total error count (1102682) is about average, but the maximum error loudness is very low at -32.6dB(A), 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: 21
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 14
Avg: -86.2 dB(A)
Max: -74.9 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
92.9 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

We observe great performance from the BenQ DW1600A DL with the Abex TCD-726 test disc. The total test result score of 92.9 points is very good.

- 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 DW1600A DL
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
2/5

The DW1600A 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

Combining the test scores from the ABEX discs, we get and average score of 84.6.

Rather good performance from BenQ's drive with our test discs.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the BenQ DW1600A DL 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 DW1600A read the disc at 12X 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 a 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 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. However, when reading over the scratched areas, we observe a dense patch as the drive made numerous speed changes to compensate for the defects.

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 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 upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Reading process started at 3.35X and smoothly increased while reading the first layer, reaching 8.07X when reading the outer part of the disc.The drive read both layers without reporting any read errors, and reached an average speed of 6.05X.

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 has also 65 - 75 micro meter fingerprints.

 

The DW1600A showed exact same behavior here as it did with TDV-541 test disc. Even the average speed and the starting speed were the same as before. It managed to read the disc without any errors. Very good performance from the BenQ drive.


5. Protected Disc Tests

BenQ DW1600A 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 PSX disc (Lybcrypt). During SecuROM v2 ripping, the drive was faster than the 832S and DD0405, but when it comes to SafeDisc v2 disc, the drive was very slow. It completed the ripping process in 44:35 min. However, all discs were read successfully, regardless of the ripping speed.

- Writing Tests

The DW1600A 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 DW1600A 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 DW1600A was used as the reader.


6. DAE Tests

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The DW1600A supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

When a pressed CD was used, the DW1600A was slightly faster than the DD0405 and slower than the 832S, but when CD-R media was used, BenQ's drive was the slowest among the three drives.

Of course, firmware updates can improve this performance. As EAC reports, the drive cannot cache DAE, supports accurate stream and cannot report C2 error information.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The DW1600A 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 29.16X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 90min Audio CDs at an average speed of 31.94X (42.24X max speed).

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

The drive can also read/rip 99min Audio CDs with no problem. The reported speed in this case was 33.23X (44.56X max speed).


7. Protected AudioCD Tests

BenQ DW1600A 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 DW1600A DL recognized up to the 12th Audio track of CDS200 disc,

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

 

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
BenQ DW1600A 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 DW1600A 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 v1.03) and LiteOn LDW-811S (firmware vHS0Q).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
BenQ DW1600A DL
Reading performed without any errors, writing produces C2 spikes.

 

The C1/C2 error graphs indicate that the drive didn't manage to produce a 100% error free disc.

Lets try to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTools DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files, despite the high spike (C2) PlexTools reported around 40minutes. The drive's error correction mechanism corrected the errors.


8. CD Recording Tests

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 8X, 12X, 16X (CLV), 32X, 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 the whole graph.

- CD-R Recording Times

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, recorded the data on a 700MB disc. DW1600A finished the task in 3:30 minutes, when writing at 40X, 14 seconds slower than the other two drives.

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.

The best performance came with Taiyo Yuden 80min 52X media with 207secs (3:27mins). The highest recording time was with Mam 80min 52X media at 348secs (5:48mins) as the drive could not write at the maximum speed with this media and only 16X writing speed was achieved.

- Other features

The DW1600A supports overburning, writing up to 99min. and can read/write CD-Text.

- CD-RW Format

The DW1600A supports 16X CLV, 24X Z-CLV rewriting speeds with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW). The drive also writes at 4X CLV with NS CD-RW and 10X CLV with HS-RW discs.

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals. We also used Nero Burning Rom in order to burn a data disc with 24x US-RW media from MC. The data compilation we burned had a size of 651 MB and the duration of the recording process was 3:49 minutes.

It should be noted that when trying to write at 24X with firmware version B5B9, the drive supported 24X P-CAV but a different curve was produced. WOPC must have been added for CD-RW media in the B5C9 firmware. Also, using B5B9 firmware version, it was not possible to write at 16X, getting an error message from Nero software. Of course, this problem was solved with the new firmware version B5C9. You can check the graph produced from Nero CD-DVD Speed and the error message when trying to burn at 16X below:

- CD-RW Mount Rainier Tests

The BenQ DW1600A DL does not support the Mount Rainier format.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

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

- 3T Pit results

The drive's performance can be characterized as average with most media used. The highest 3T Pit jitter reached was 42nsec with TraxData 52x media, which is way above the Red Book limit of 35nsec and was the worst performer among the media used. It should be noted that the DW1600A can write TraxData 52X media at 16X maximum speed, an issue that should be sorted out with a new firmware update from BenQ. The best results came with BenQ CD-R media which was the only media that managed to stay below the 35nsec limit.

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results were similar to those with Pit jitter. The maximum 3T Land Jitter reached 42nsec and again, TraxData 52X CD-R media produced the worst results, while Verbatim and to some extent BenQ (it had high Jitter towards the end) CD-R media produced the best.

In 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 DW1600A 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 v2.13, and particularly the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.02). All media was burned with B5C9 firmware.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 40X

Intenso 80min 52X @ 40X

Mam SGUltra Golden Dye 80min 52X @ 16X

SKC 80min 52X @ 40X

TraxData 80min 52X @ 40X

TY 80min 48X @ 40X

Verbatim Super Azo 80min 52X @ 40X

- Summary

The DW1600A produced good quality burns with some exceptions. C2 errors were reported with BenQ, Intenso, Traxdata and Verbatim media, but always at low levels. Of course, C2 errors can be corrected but a good burn shouldn't produce them in the first place.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
Verbatim 80min 52X
97m34s23f
Verbatim
79m59s73f
Intenso 80min 52X
97m32s19f
Prodisc
79m59s71f
SKC 80min 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
Mam SGUltra 80min 52X
97m27s58f
Mitsui Chemicals
79m59s74f
BenQ 80min 48X
97m22s67f
Daxon Technology
79m59s74f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
TraxData 80min 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f

11. DVD Recording Tests - Page 1

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests - Page 1

- Writing Performance

The BenQ DW1600A supports only DVD+R/RW and DVD+R DL writing. However, BenQ will provide support for DVD-R/RW writing with the DW1600A in a firmware update in the future.

The maximum supported speed for DVD+R is 16X (6X~16X P-CAV), 4X CLV for DVD+RW and 2.4X for DVD+R DL media. Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below. Notice that the drive burns CLV at 2.4X and 4X writing speeds for DVD+R formats .

A new feature that is supported by the DW1600A DL recorder is over-speed burning. As there aren't many 16X DVD+R media available on the market, BenQ claims that users can still experience 16X and 12X writing speed with 8X DVD+R media. 10 brands of DVD+R media were tested, and according to BenQ, the over-speed burning media support list is shown in the table below (based on f/w B5C9, a newer version will support more 8X DVD+R media in over-speed burning):

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 DW1600A DL recorder:

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 8X in 8:52min. It started writing at 5.26X, reached a maximum writing speed of 8.05X and reported an average speed of 7.51X.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 12X in 6:53min. Starting at 6.07X, it reached a maximum writing speed of 12.05X and reported an average speed of 10.38X.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 16X in 6:07min. It started to writing at 6.08X, reached a maximum writing speed of 16.01X and reported an average speed of 11.44X.


12. DVD Recording Tests - Page 2

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 12

DVD Recording Tests - Page 2

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD+R, DVD+RW media. (We remind you that -R/-RW media is not supported with this drive yet). We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc.

Below are all the results with the various media types used.

At 4X, there were no big surprises with the writing speed, with the fastest burning time being 878sec, with Taiyo Yuden 4X media.

At 8X speed, the fastest burning time came with CMC Magnetics 8X media, at 503sec.

When we tried to burn at 8X speed, we observed that the drive supports up to 12X for 3A and Philips 8X media (over-speed burning). We used the maximum speed allowed for these discs, along with normal 12X media. The best results came with Maxell 12X media (387sec).

BenQ claims that more 8X media will be recorded at 12X in the future as new firmware revisions will be released to support a wider range of over-speed burning compatible media. The following figure indicates the supported writing speeds for Philips 8X media under Nero.

At 16X, Philips media performed better than Plextor/TY 16X media, achieving 358sec burning time (5:58min).

It is very interesting to investigate the writing quality for 16X. Comments on the writing quality test results can be seen later on this review.

- DVD Overburning Test

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.01, we tested if the BenQ DW1600A DL can overburn using DVD+R media. Unfortunately, the drive does not support overburning, when it comes to DVD+R media, giving the following error with all inserted media.


13. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 13

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots, you can see the PI/PIF scans for DVD+R/RW media we burned with the BenQ DW1600A DL. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.1.0, 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. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.14 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/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 speed, since when the error rate increases at a specific region on the disc, 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 for the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

3A 4X DVD+R @ 4X

CMC Magnetics 4X DVD+R @ 4X

MCC 4X DVD+R @ 4X

MMORE 4X DVD+R @ 4X

ProMedia 4X DVD+R @ 4X

TraxData 4X DVD+R @ 4X

Taiyo Yuden 4x DVD+R @ 4X

- Summary

The drive produces great burns at 4X speed. The worst results came with 3A 4X DVD+R discs, but these results could still be described as error free. After all, good quality burns were expected at this speed, as higher writing speeds might produce errors, but at low speed there really isn't any excuse for errors.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
3A 4X
POMSC001 002
4X
14:56
TY 4X
YUDEN000 T01
4X
14:38
MMORE 4X
MBIPG101 R03
4X
14:45
MCC 4X
MCC 002
4X
14:40
CMC 4X
CMC MAG F01
4X
14:42
TraxData 4X
RICOH HJPN R01
4X
14:50
ProMedia
AML 001
4X
14:43

14. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 14

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD+R/RW media we burned with the BenQ DW1600A DL. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.1.0, 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. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.14 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/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 speed, since when 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 writing speed

CMC Magnetics 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Intenso 8X DVD+R @ 8X

TraxData 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

Again, very good results from the DW1600A. Only a small scale PI problem is reported with TraxData 8X media, when KProbe is used. However, PlexTools 2.14 reported better quality than KProbe.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
TraxData 8X
RITEK R03
8X
8:32
Intenso 8X
PRODISC R03
8X
8:27
CMC 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
8:23

15. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 15

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD+R/RW media we burned with the BenQ DW1600A DL. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.1.0, 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. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.14 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/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 speed, since when 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 writing speed

3A 8X DVD+R @ 12X

Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 12X

Philips 8X DVD+R @ 12X

LiteON 8X DVD+R @ 12X

- Summary

Some of the media that was recorded at 12X was 8X media. The DW1600A managed to make successful writings at 12X by using over-speed burning technology. As there isn't a lot of variety in 12X media on the market, this is a clever approach by BenQ. Good quality burns were reported by both KProbe and PlexTools. Minor quality problems reported with 3A 8X media (writing speed 12X) are not worthy of notice. It should be noted that with LiteOn 8X @ 12X media, KProbe scan reported a better quality burn than the Plextools scan.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
3A 8X
Plasmon1 C01
12X
6:33
Philips 8X
PHILIPS C08
12X
6:28
LiteON 8X
RICOHJPN R02
12X
6:28
Maxell 8X
MAXELL 002
12X
6:27

16. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 16

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD+R/RW media we burned with the BenQ DW1600A DL. The software we used for all measurements is KProbe v2.1.0, 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. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition, all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.14 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/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 speed, since when 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 writing speed

Philips 16X DVD+R @ 16X

Plextor 8X DVD+R @ 16X (DVD-ROM Format)

Plextor 8X DVD+R @ 16X (DVD+R Format)

- Summary

Plextor 8X media was recorded at 16X. The writing quality at this speed was not expected to be as good as at lower speeds. Plextor 8X media produced a "read error" near the end of the reading process. The media was supposed to be written at 8X but instead was written at 16X. So, this error is reasonable. It should also be noted that the error occurred with the DVD+R format, while the disc with DVD-ROM format reported no read errors. Philips 16X media produced better results than Plextor 16X media, but results from both media were more than acceptable. Very good performance from the BenQ DW1600A DL.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
Philips 16X
PHILIPS C16
16X
5:58
Plextor 16X
YUDEN000 T02
16X
6:06

Plextor 16X (DVD-ROM Booktype

YUDEN000 T02
16X
6:08

17. DVD+R DL - Page 1

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 17

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- DVD+R DL BookType Setting

The DW1600A 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 media sent by LiteON for our tests, based on Mitsubishi Chemicals with the following information, as reported from DVDInfoPro software:

BenQ Book Type Management v.8.2 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.

After pressing the "Set to DVD-ROM Type" a warning message informed us that the BookType setting can be changed before burning:

Unfortunately, we cannot change the BookType setting for already burned media with the BenQ DW1600A DL. As BenQ said, the BookType setting highly improves the compatibility with DVD players. Due to the limited amount of DVD+R DL media, we didn't have the chance for now, to test how the Booktype setting affects compatibility.

There is also an easier way to change the Booktype setting, within Nero 6.0 right before the writing process begins.

- Writing Tests

We burned a DVD+R DL disc 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 v3.0.0.16. The friendly wizard prompts us to choose from among the main tasks:

For our test, we used the "Movie & Pictures" option, and then the "Write DVD Video".

The software prompts us to select Video_TS/ISO image folder. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the BenQ DW1600A DL burner.

After pressing "OK", the burning procedure started, without any unexpected delays (such as 50secs delay with the LiteON 832S). It should be noted that the Booktype setting was not changed, to test if it will be changed automatically by the software:

The writing process was finished after 40:16 minutes. The average speed was 2.24X as reported from CopyToDVD software. The recorded disc was in DVD-ROM format, with the booktype setting having been changed automatically by the software.

For comparison reasons, we post some burning results from other DL writers, which all burned the same content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1), using CopyToDVD software:
Drive
Time (mins)
BenQ DW1600A DL
40:16
BenQ DW830A
39:14
NEC 2510A
37:17
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A

38:39

The best recording performance comes from the NEC 2510A, while the BenQ DW1600A DL came last with 40:16mins.


18. DVD+R DL - Page 2

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 18

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the BenQ DW1600A DVD+R DL writing quality, we used not our usual readers (LiteOn LDW-811S/Plextor PX-712A) but the LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S13, LiteOn XJ-HD165H firmware CH11, and LiteOn LTD-163 firmware GH5S. Similar results were reported from all three drives.

Using KProbe v2.1.0, we got a very good scan, indicating very good quality performance from the drive with the DL media recorded. Notice that the disc is not read at 3~8 CAV, but at 2.5X~5X CAV (DVD+R DL media).

Using the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTools, we were able to scan the DVD+R DL media with DVD-ROM booktype:

The reported PI error rate did not reach the 280 limit and no PO failures were reported, giving again an image of a very good quality burned disc.

We also tried using Nero CD-DVD Speed and its "Disc Quality" utility to ensure that the reported results are correct. Using two different LiteON drives we got the following results:

LiteOn LTD-163 firmware GH5S

LiteOn XJ-HD165H firmware CH11

Both drives gave worse scans than Kprobe and Plextools reported, and they both gave a quality score of 76. The disc was read without any problems for both layers.

- Compatibility Matrix

For our compatibility tests, we used the burned DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" Disc1) and PowerDVD v5.0. The disc was also checked with several stand-alone DVD players.

We moved front and back around the layer change to ensure that the movie can be playback without any glitches or skips. The results are shown below:

Device
Firmware
DVD-ROM Booktype
LiteOn SOHW-812S
vUSOJ
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LDW-811S
vHS0Q
Disc size recognized under CDSpeed but not disc contents under Windows
LiteOn SOHC-5232K
vNK07
Playback is perfect
Panasonic LDF-511
vA112
Playback is perfect
Philips DVDR824P
vP1.2
Not recognized
Pioneer DCR-111
v1.26
Playback is perfect
Pioneer A06
v1.07
Playback is perfect
BenQ DW822A
vB3HC
Not recognized
Samsung SH-W08A
v1S30
Not recognized
Optorite DD405
v1.50E
Playback is perfect
Optorite DD203
v2.25
Playback is perfect
TEAC DV-516E
v2.01
Not recognized
BTC BDV-316B
v0.47
Playback is perfect
Plextor PX-712A
v1.01
Playback is perfect
Plextor PX-712SA
v1.02
Playback is perfect
NEC 2510A
v2.15
Playback is perfect
NEC 2500A
v1.07
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LTD-163D
vGH5S
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LTD-165H
vCH11
Playback is perfect
Toshiba SD-1502
v1012
Playback is perfect
Toshiba SD-1612
v1004
Playback is perfect
LG DV8600
-
Playback is perfect
Sony DVP - NS330
-
Playback is perfect
Sony DVP - NS730P
-
Playback is perfect
Sony DVP - PQ2
-
Playback is perfect
Waitec DVD-X4
-
Disc recognized, playback is jerky
Waitec Vision-HR
-
Disc recognized, playback is jerky
Sony DVP - NS730P
-
Playback is perfect

19. DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 1

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 19

DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 1

For checking exactly what the DW1600A DL reports, we used different media, burned by other recorders. These four media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

We used Nero CD/DVD Speed and its disc quality utility. We compared those measurements at various reading speeds:

  • 3~8X CAV
  • 2~6X CAV
  • 4X CLV

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1600A DL drive. Using other DW1600A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

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

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

The PIF error rate trend line follows that of the SA300, however at lower levels. Similar results were reported for all speed conditions. At the end of the disc, the PI/PIF error rate increases. The SA300 system also measured similar performance. Nero CD/DVD Speed gave this disc a quality score of 0.


20. DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 2

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 20

DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 2

For checking exactly what the DW1600A DL reports, we used different media, burned with other recorders. These four media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

We used Nero CD/DVD Speed and its disc quality utility. We compared those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1600A DL drive. Using other DW1600A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

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

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

Totally different results were reported from CD/DVD Speed Disc Quality utility and from SA300 series. The use of the DW1600A DL as a reader is not recommended at this point, because it reports the disc to be in perfect shape, giving very good results and low error level rates.


21. DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 3

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 21

DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 3

For checking exactly what the DW1600A DL reports, we used different media, burned with other recorders. These four media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

We used Nero CD/DVD Speed and its disc quality utility. We compared those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1600A DL drive. Using other DW1600A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

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

#3nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#3nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

When the drive was reading at the extremes (inner and outer regions) of the discs, it reports lower error level rates than the SA300 series did. However, when reading in the middle region of the discs, the error level rates were reported as they should. But again, the DW1600A is not recommended as a reader, as it was unable to report error levels in certain areas of the disc.


22. DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 4

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 22

DW1600A DL vs. SA300 - Page 4

For checking exactly what the DW1600A DL reports, we used different media, burned with other recorders. These four media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

We used Nero CD/DVD Speed and its disc quality utility. We compared those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested BenQ DW1600A DL drive. Using other DW1600A DL drives can produce totally different results. Be aware!

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

#4nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

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

The tested disc was a Double Layer disc. The reported error level rates are again different from the actual errors reported by the SA300 series, and much higher when the reader was starting to read the second layer. However, they better approach the actual errors. Again, the DW1600A DL is not recommended as a reader for this disc.


23. Conclusion

BenQ DW1600A DL Recorder - Page 23

Conclusion

The DW1600A DL is the first recorder that introduces 16X DVD recording, taking the recording capabilities to their limits. Over-speed burning technology is something that end users will enjoy, as media can be recorded at a higher speed than the media's supported writing speed. Considering the cost of 16X DVD+R discs, and the availability of these discs, it is a clever approach by BenQ. Burning quality is a headache at these speeds, but the High-Speed Signal Algorithm shows its teeth, producing good quality burns at 16X. Overburning is not supported with DVD+R media, along with reading of DVD-RAM media.

When it comes to ripping capabilities, the DW1600A's performance is not as good as other drives on sale. However, ripping speed might be increased with future firmware releases. And end users should remember that it still is a fast drive for ripping.

CD error correction tests showed that the DW1600A is one of the best in this category. No major problems were reported with the Abex series test discs. In DVD error correction tests, again with Abex series test discs, the drive gave no errors at all when discs with artificial black dots, scratches and defective areas were used. An excellent performance from BenQ's drive.

Copy protection discs is one of the weak points of this drive. Although reading tests with these types of discs were completed successfully, reading process of SafeDisc protected discs took a long time to complete. The DW1600A DL is not a suitable drive for copying SafeDisc protected discs. Only some versions of Safedisc protection could be overcome, and only when the DW1600A was used as a reader. On the other hand, audio protected discs were no problem for the DW1600A, and perfect copies were created as if there was no protection at all.

The BenQ DW1600A DL supports up to 40X CD-R writing speed, which is not the fastest speed available, but still fast enough. Overburning is supported (up to 99min). When writing CD-RW media at 16X with various media, the drive kept on failing at 81%. We were happy to see that this problem was resolved with a simple firmware update. When the new firmware was installed, 16X CD-RW burning was no problem for this drive.

Writing quality of CD-R/RW discs was rather good, with low jitter values and low C1/C2 error rates. However, Traxdata 52X media could only be recorded at 16X, an issue that should be sorted in the next firmware release.

As a last word we list the positive/negative points of the drive.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed



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