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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

1. Introduction

Sony is one of the largest manufacturers worldwide and its name is synonymous with reliability and quality, after all it's a Sony. Lately, most of Sony's optical drives are OEM from various other manufacturers such as Optorite in the past, LiteOn mostly but also BenQ. This time we received the DW-Q30A which is an OEM SHW-1635S.

Sony claims that this drive is mostly for B2B customers, such as semi-professional users who don't require the additional bundled items in the retail package and is fine balance between price and content.

- Features

- High Speed Dual Layer DVD-RW drive
- Read and write compatible with all major DVD media formats, including: -R, +R (single and dual layer) and -RW and +RW (single layer)
- Up to 8X recording speed on DVD+R dual layer discs and up to 16X on the single layer DVD recordable discs
- Buffer Under Run protection features for smooth, reliable writing
- Turbo boost safety feature 9change from 40X to maximum speed)
- CD-R/RW capability as ultra combo drive
- Internal ATAPI drive for installation in a Microsoft Windows operating system environment
- OEM models are available in Pearl White, Black, White, Grey and Silver

- Specifications

Below are the main specs for the DW-Q30A from Sony.

Write Speed 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL, 16x DVD+R, 16x DVD-R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 48x CD-R, 24x CD-RW
Read Speed 16x DVD-ROM, 48x CD (max)
Buffer Memory 2MB
Dimensions (mm) 145.8 x 41.8 x 165 (W x H x D)
Weight 900g
Mounting Horizontal or Vertical
Power DC 5V +/-5%, 12V +/-10% (Supply Voltage)
Interface ATAPI

Below are the specs for the drive as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- Nero InfoTool

The RPC II region control is used, allowing the user to change the drive's region no more than five times. This is however is something that can be disabled, of which you'll learn more of in the following pages.

- DVD InfoPro

- The Package

We received the white blazed Sony DW-Q30A.

The package includes:

- The internal ATAPI recorder
- Screws (4)
- Warranty Card
- User Guide
- Nero Express Mastering software
- Nero Packet Writing InCD software
- Nero Jukebox Media player
- Nero Toolik (Drive Tool Utility software)

- Front panel view

The sample we received was white.

- Rear panel view

On the rear panel you will find the power input, IDE connector, IDE master/slave/cs selector pins, and the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF).

We don't recommend removing the drive's cover, since this will void the warranty. Instead, you can take a look at the drive's electronics by clicking on the image below for a larger and more detailed view.

The drive uses the same Mediatek MT1888E chipset as the LiteOn SHW-1635S model.

Picture of Sony DW-Q30A

Picture of LiteOn SHW-1635S

- Installation

The drive came with the YYS2 firmware release which happens to be the latest one, so no further flashing was needed. It was identified as "SONY DVD RW DW-Q30A " under WinXP. Below is a screenshot from Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

Throughout this review and for the sake of comparison, we will be posting the Q30A test results along with the results from two other drives, the NEC ND-4551A and the Philips DVDR1648P.

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