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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Thursday, June 23, 2005
BenQ DW1640

1. Introduction

After the release of the BenQ DW1625 LightScribe enabled drive, BenQ thought that they should move forward to a higher Double Layer writing speed. Their latest drive, the BenQ DW1640 offers 8x +R DL writing speed and exceptional performance, as you will see in this review.

By adding DVD-R Double Layer media support, this new burner can write almost any media available on the market. It is not a coincidence that many well known manufacturers chose this burner to use as their OEM device. The BenQ exclusive Dual Cooling System (DCS) features Anti-Dust Cooling System (ADCS) and Air Flow Cooling System (AFCS) to effectively reduce the potential for over-heating during high-speed reading and writing. With an integrated heat chimney design, ADCS redirects the heat flow out of the drive and still provides for protection from dust. AFCS accelerates the circulation inside the drive and speeds up the heat elimination through the drive's steel housing.

- Drive Features

The BenQ DW16xx series which of course includes the DW1640, supports the following unique features:

  • Over-Speed burning technology (allows media to be burned at higher recording speeds than rated)
  • Seamless Link: buffer under run protection as with all previous BenQ DVD burners.
  • High-Speed Signal Algorithm: As the writing speed is increased, signal loss becomes the key cause for the significant decrease in writing quality. BenQ’s High-Speed Signal Algorithm manages the high EFM (Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation) frequency signal loss that often takes place at high-speed writing - ensuring superb writing quality.

  • WOPC + BLER OPC: Unlike other drives which preset the writing power before the actual writing of data, the WOPC II (Walking Optimal Power Control) algorithm evaluates the writing quality constantly and adjusts the writing power accordingly in order to ensure the best possible writing quality over the entire disc. The BLER OPC (Block Error Rate Optimal Power Control) further enhances the writing quality near the end of the disc, where the risk of warping is higher.


  • Tilt Control: BenQ's Tilt Control always keeps the writing angle at 90 degrees to the disc's surface to ensure uniform writing.
  • Sliding Cone Mechanism: With Sliding Cone design, the disc position on the turntable is improved considerably. This greatly helps to reduce data access time and also to deliver superior reading and writing quality.

- Specifications

Performance Writing Speed

16X +R
16X -R
8X +RW
6X -RW
8X +R DL
4X -R DL
48X CD-R
32X CDRW
48X CDROM
16X DVDROM

Reading speed

Max. DVD Reading speed 16x
Max. CD reading speed 48x

Seek time 120ms (DVD) / 120ms (CD)

Weight 0.82 kg
Dimensions (LxWxH) 146 x 178 x 42 mm
Buffer Size 2MB
Interface E-IDE/ ATAPI
Writing Mode DVD+R/+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

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]
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

OS Compatibility Windows XP / 2000 / ME / 98SE
Power Requirement DC 5V +/- 5%, ripple 100mVpp
DC12V+/- 10%, ripple 200mVpp
Environment Conditions Operating temperature: 5°C~50°C (41°F~122°F)
Operating humidity: 8%~80% RH
Non-operating temperature: -40°C~60°C (-40°F~140°F)
Non-operating humidity: 5%~95% RH
Reliability characteristics MTBF: 125.000 POH (20%)
Non-recoverable read error < 1 block in 1012 bits (CD and DVD)
System Requirement IBM PC compatible Pentium III 550MHz CPU or above
128MB DRAM, 100MB free HDD space for CD/DVD recording related software installation. 1GB free HDD space for CD Image recording

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 and DVDInfoPro:

- Tested Kit / Software Bundle

The test kit that arrived at our labs included only the burner. However, BenQ offers a wide range of tools and utilities in the retail package. You will find QVideo 2.0, an easy way to make your own DVDs and transfer video from any TV, AV and DV source. You will also find BenQ's Q-Suite, that offers four built-in functions: Book Type Management, QScan, Test Write and WOPC enable/ disable. You can easily change the default parameters of your burners with this powerful utility. However, we strongly advise you not to change the default values, if you are not completely sure of what you are doing, since burning quality might be reduced.

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

We received a black coloured drive, but there is an option to choose between this or a white coloured burner. 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. The ID label located on the underside of the drive (see photo below) shows that our drive was manufactured during April 2005 in Malaysia.

The sample that we received came with firmware version BSHB.

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 Philips' Nexperia PNX7860E chipset.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "BENQ DVD DD DW1640 ".

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

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the Sony DRU-800A and the Pioneer DVR-109.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.80
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v3.00
  5. PlexTools v2.21
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.51
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.13
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.4.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.54
  10. Alcohol 120% 1.9.5 build 2802




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