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

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

  • Over-Speed burning technology (will be explained later on this review).
  • Seamless Link: buffer under run protection as all previous BenQ DVD Recorders.
  • High-Speed Signal Algorithm: As writing speed is increased, signal loss becomes the key cause of a 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 on the disc 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

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




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