DW1620A DL Recorder -
the first ever 16X recordable drive, the DW1600A back in June, supporting only
16X DVD+R writing. Since then, other manufacturers have shipped
solutions along with 4X DL, leaving BenQ behind in the speed race.
Recently, BenQ announced that by the end of August,
all DW1600A buyers would have the chance to
upgrade their drives up to 16X DVD-R writing! The long awaited
firmware finally arrived at almost the same time as the DW1620A hit the market,
supporting 16X DVD±R but not 4X DL.
At this point, it is very intersting to see how well BenQ's 16X DVD-R and
4X DVD-RW implemetation works, since we already know that the DW1600A is one
of the best recorders for +R/+RW formats, thanks to the chipsets used (Philips)
the unique recording technologies implemented, as will be explained below.
- Drive Features
The BenQ DW16xx series 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 all previous
BenQ DVD Recorders.
- 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
E-IDE/ATAPI (Ultra DMA Mode
DVD±R: 16X, DVD±RW: 4X,
DVD+R DL: 2.4X
CD-R: 40X, CD-RW: 24X
DVD-ROM: 16X, CD-R/RW: 40X
DVD: 120msec, CD: 120msec
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
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:
- Tested Kit / Software Bundle
The retail package that arrived at our labs, included the BenQ DW1620A DL
drive along with Sonic's RecordNow Burning Software, InterVideo WinCinema (WinDVD
QVideo 2.0 (easy DV, TV, AV to DVD). The BenQ Book Type Management v8.3 program
was also included to ensure media backward compatibility with older DVD players.
The retail package further included one 16X DVD+R media (Philips C16 Media
ID), an ATA66 ribbon cable (BenQ states this is necessary in order for the
drive to work properly),
4 mounting screws and an Audio cable. Lastly, two printed small software/hardware
guides are included for less experienced users. Now let's take a look
at the drive itself.
The front bezel has changed compared with the previous DW1600A series, with
the eject button being much smaller, something we didn't like. The DVD+RW,
DVD+R DL, USRW and DVD-R/RW logos are present stating the drive's reading/writing
The drive continues to come with a black-colored tray that according to BenQ,
minimizes jitter and enhances readability and burning quality. 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. Our drive was manufactured during July 2004
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:
The heart of the drive is the Philip's Nexperia PNX7860E chipset.
The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized
as "BENQ DVD DL DW1620". The drive arrived with
firmware revision B7G9 and since a newer firmware version
had been released, we flashed the drive without problems to firmware revision B7H9.
Newer firmware updates are expected to support more media for 12X and 16X writing
Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.
In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the ASUS DRW-1604P and
the Pioneer DVR-108.
- Testing software
In order to perform our tests we used:
- Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.21
- CDVD Benchmark v1.21
- ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
- Nero Info Tool v2.22
- KProbe v2.4.0 (Readers: For DVD media LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q Reading speed 8X CAV, for DL media LiteON SOHD-167T firmware 9S04 reading speed 6X CAV)
- PlexTools v2.16 (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)
- DVDInfoPro v2.63
- BenQ Booktype Management v8.30
- Nero Burning Rom v126.96.36.199