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DVD Burner Comparison 75

Posted by timothy
from the to-boot-from-to-boot-to-boot dept.
mikemuch writes "While you're waiting for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, you may want to check out ExtremeTech's roundup of dual-layer DVD burners. Starting at about $43US, some of them are quite powerful, come with nice bundled software, and are pretty good deals, to boot."
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DVD Burner Comparison

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  • skip the crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by spacemky (236551) * <nick@nOspAm.aryfi.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:17PM (#15474034) Homepage Journal
    Do not pass go; go directly to the summary page:
    Final Thoughts: What to buy [extremetech.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:24PM (#15474089)
    One area the article completely ignores is the quality of the burns? They don't mention if they had any troubles playing back anything that was burned on these drives. Compatibility with existing dvd players is a big deal and it would have been nice to see some mention of this in the test. Having the ability to burn a dvd that only half of my friends/family can play twice as fast (or half the cost) is useless.
    • by goombah99 (560566)
      I'd also like to see a site reviewing the quality of media for CD-R and DVD-R. The thing I care about is not speed, but reliability. And the Media may affect that more than the burner itself. There's a wide variety of prices on media but nothing to really guide you on quality and longevity.

      Over the long run the cost of the burner may be small compared to the cost of the media, so there's no big reason to scrimp on the burner price. But there's a big reason to scrimp on the media. Plus of course unre
      • As has been the case with CDR, DVD+/-R media is really a matter of buying Brandname stuff. Avoid the the Generic or Store Brand stuff as it is junk. There is only a couple of places actually making the discs, so most Brands are really the same. The generics just use used stamps, lower quality dye, and cheap reflective layers. A fried bought some CompUSA brand DVd-R discs and was wondering why he wwas having problems reading the discs 6 months after burning. I checked out one of the discs and asked my f
        • Not necessarily, because even some of the name brands can sometimes be borderline quality.

          For example, Memorex media is almost always made by CMC Magnetics. In my experience, while they're far better than the likes of Princo, they are not a manufacturer I will trust. Even many of the generic noname brands are better than CMC-sourced discs, as in my experience anything made by Ritek is far better than CMC media, and Riteks are almost never sold as name-brand.

          Verbatim media used to be high-quality almost al
          • Only a few of the name brands are guaranteed to give you the same original manufacturer every time because they ARE the original manufacturer. Off of the top of my head, the only two examples of this I can think of are Sony and TDK.

            Incorrect, at least as far as Sony is concerned. I bought a spindle of Sony DVD-R discs recently, and the media code on them reveals they are rebranded Taiyo Yuden discs. Maxell is another that has made their own discs but also rebrands other makers' discs (e.g. Ritek).

      • I'd also like to see a site reviewing the quality of media for CD-R and DVD-R. The thing I care about is not speed, but reliability. And the Media may affect that more than the burner itself. There's a wide variety of prices on media but nothing to really guide you on quality and longevity.

        Read the media forums at http://club.cdfreaks.com/forumdisplay.php?f=33 [cdfreaks.com]. You'll find way more information than you ever wanted about media quality.

        • If you go to CDfreaks you will see people rate Ritek highly. But which Ritek? Ritek makes lots of different versions with highly different prices. You will see that brands like verbatim have different plants with different disks. And some of the allegedly top shelf labels like Plextor don't even make their own disks.

          Most manufactureres make both blue and green and sometimes gold CDs. So simply saying buy "Maxell" doesn't really clear up the matter. Furthermore when you scan the forums you mostly see u
          • If you go to CDfreaks you will see people rate Ritek highly.

            You must not have visited the media forum in a long time. Ritek, especially the G05, is considered junk by most. They used to be considered good, but that has changed. There are reports of Ritek G05s becoming unreadable a few weeks after being burner.

            But which Ritek? Ritek makes lots of different versions with highly different prices.

            If you look at the PI/PO scans in the media forum, the MID (Media ID code) is clearly shown. Learn to read these sca
            • f you look at the PI/PO scans in the media forum, the MID (Media ID code) is clearly shown. Learn to read these scans, you'll learn a lot.

              Okay but how does this help me when I go to buy a CD or DVD-r. The stores don't list those.

              You must not have visited the media forum in a long time. Ritek, especially the G05, is considered junk by most.

              Here is a poll [cdfreaks.com] currently on Cdfreaks, regading manufacturers (DVD) quality. You will see that Ritek is highly favored (third place) . And here is another [cdr-zone.com] comprehens

      • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Monday June 05, 2006 @06:05PM (#15476304)
        Over the years, since the early days of CD-Rs to modern DVD-+R, there has been on constant - Taiyo Yuden. Their quality has always been top-notch. The worst that has happend with them has been counterfeiting - so if you can trust the merchant selling you TY discs is selling legitimate product, you can trust that you are getting media of the highest quality.

        What you can also count on with TY is that you will pay a premium. But compared to some of the 'name' brands like Sony, or Memorex, etc (some of whom often - but not always - produce batches that are just rebranded TY's) it may still be cheaper to buy the spindles of TY's.

        For me, the premium of 10-20 cents per disc is well worth it - I never worry about the stability or longevity of the burns I make with TY media.
  • by 4of11 (714557) on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:25PM (#15474101)
    Why do these kinds of reviews always focus on speed alone? Who cares if it takes a couple of minutes longer to burn a DVD with one drive versus another? It's not like you have to sit there with baited breath as the DVD burns -- you can do other things.

    I'd rather see a comparison of noise or rate-of-coaster-production. I recently got a new DVD burner which works rather well as far as speed and reliability, but is way too noisy, even when I'm just playing a DVD with it. I have to use my old DVD-ROM drive for playback.

    I guess its harder to test those things, though. You can't just load up some benchmark it let it run.
    • And a drive compatiblity test. From my experience, compatibility with dual layer DVDs is much lower than with single layer DVDs when burning them yourself.
    • I agree, though noise measurement isn't that hard to do, the typical hardware site is probably too lazy to do it. Thankfully Storage Review measures hard drive noise (and heat, and I think power), but lately, that is negligible, now the focus has to be put on optical drive noise.

      Reliability is harder to measure though, if it doesn't make a coaster during the normal round of tests, then it is probably assumed to be good enough.

      There are enthusiast sites like CDFreaks that check P1 and P2 error rates on the
    • Adjusting the speed of your DVD or CD drive is the best way to reduce noise. If you're copying a bunch of data, you probably do want it spinning at max speed, but if you are watching a DVD or something similar (where noise is also usually much more annoying), reducing it works VERY well.

      I've been using CD Bremse [cd-bremse.de] for years, both for CD and DVD drives, with no problems. YMMV. Word of warning: The site is in German (but the program itself is in English). It's not too hard to figure out the site, though. Clic

    • http://www.cdfreaks.com/ [cdfreaks.com]
      http://www.cdrinfo.com/ [cdrinfo.com]
      http://www.cdrlabs.com/ [cdrlabs.com]

      Reviews from people that actually understand the tech and know how to test it. Beware though, you wont get simple answers like "This one is best, buy it".
    • Bingo bro...until I can write to a 4.7GB optical disc in under 30 seconds, well, who gives a *&#$^???
  • Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mkosmo (768069) * <mkosmo@gmail.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:26PM (#15474108) Homepage
    And still no comments on whether or not the Linux support will be alright. Whether the burner is good or not doesnt matter to me until I know I can run it at home. Am I the only Linux user concerned? Considering Im posting on /., and other /.ers are reading, I imagine not. But I could have missed some major article or something concerning it. Would somebody shed some light for me?
    • by wampus (1932)
      IDE and SATA drives work just swell in Linux. They have for some time.
    • Re:Linux (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BobNET (119675)
      Probably cause the chances that a DVD burner doesn't work in Linux (or any other OS) is pretty small these days; the drives are almost always MMC compliant [chalmers.se]. There might be a few features on the more expensive drives (e.g. Plextor with GigaRec, etc.) that aren't supported by burning software, but it'll almost certainly still burn DVDs, which is what it's supposed to do...
    • I've just never heard of an optical drive being unsupported by Linux. I've certainly never run into one myself. It's only been 2 years, and 4 optical drives, but still..

      Has anyone here had a problem?
    • It will work unless it's some weird proprietary interface, and you're unlikely to see that in a new drive. All IDE/ATAPI ones should work. I've never come across a CD or DVD that doesn't.

      THe only thing to consider is the bundled software. DVD burners seem to perform the same, the value adding being in the bundled software. If you only use Linux, you're not interested in the bundled software and therefore you can get the cheap OEM one that doesn't have any.
      • True. But you still have to burn the DVD using some software. Which would you recommend?
        • Most distros come with burning software. I use K3B and it works well. I'm sure there's a Gnome equivalent, and there's XCDRoast, but I'm not sure if that can do DVDs. Don't see why not.
  • TFA only compares 4 drives in their "roundup" (ExtremeTech calls it that--thankfully the submitter or editor changed it for the title here).

    I tried posting a link to the printer-friendly version, but ExtremeTech doesn't seem to like people doing that. Gotta spread that 1 page article out over 9 pages, y'know...
  • by jbridges (70118) on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:27PM (#15474124)
    Besides being the least expensive choice in the review, it's also the only model of the four which is supported by K-Probe.

    http://www.cdrlabs.com/kprobe/ [cdrlabs.com]
    or
    http://www.k-probe.com/ [k-probe.com]

    And if you actually care about burners, read the reviews from a quality site that actually reviews virtually all the models, does far more exhaustive tests, and has a very active technical forum. CDR Info.

    http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/Reviews/Home.aspx? CategoryId=1 [cdrinfo.com]
    • I was just about to say the same thing...
      CDRInfo has a much better roundup....and true to the word "roundup"
      Though it still doesn't cover the NEC 35x0 line of burners I have (I have the 3520, 3540, and the 3550), it's still much better than just 4 burners from 3 companies.
      CDRInfo also has an article that covers burner and media reliability.
      In their tests, the Pioneer was the most compatible with various media (which I agree with though Pioneer's tend to be pricey). The next one in line was the NEC and we a
    • Lite-On is supported by K-Probe, yes...but Nero CD/DVD-Speed supports lots of burners. What you're looking for is burn quality. This means a drive/medium combination that works well. Check CD Freaks [cdfreaks.com] for loads of test postings.

      To give you one data point -- my own experience -- I go with NEC burners and Taiyo Yuden DVD+R media (which I get without problem from Rima [rima.com]). I get good results, whether scanned by the burning drive or a Lite-On I got before I knew better (which only gives mediocre burning results)
  • To boot? (Score:3, Funny)

    by cffrost (885375) on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:32PM (#15474158) Homepage

    "Starting at about $43US, some of them are [...] pretty good deals, to boot."

    I can't speak for other users, but I don't boot from CD enough for booting performance to factor in at all when selecting optical drives. This guy has gotta be some die-hard Windows Me enthusiast.

  • by eclipz (630890)
    Although the price of Dual Layer (DL) media has come down, it's still $2 - $4 a disk, vs $0.50 - $1.00 for comparable Single Layer disks. So, although you do need two disks, burning information to a single layer disk is still cheaper, about twice as much. I bought a DL burner quite awhile ago, but I'm still waiting for good news regarding media. IMHO, until the media comes down, Dual Layer just doesn't cut it.
    • But DL is very good for convenience. Say you have a tv series you want to burn (not me, of course, I don't do those things :) and it takes 7 GB. You could recompress the whole thing in lower quality, or put in on one DL disc straight away. Easier to keep track of too.

      ....Or, you could burn it on 2 SL discs and put them in a double-disc jewel case...

  • I've been using HP DVD burners (both single and dual layer) for quite some time. I've found that they perform very well on Windows, OS X, and Linux. I've had some trouble with the Lite-On drives but the HP units have never failed to perform. I know that Plextor is supposed to be the best CD/DVD drive maker, but I'm really not interested in paying their asking price.
    • but I'm really not interested in paying their asking price

      Or worse. I bought a plextor SATA burner, the PX-755SA, and I didn't bother to look at the chart for what motherboards it was tested against, after all, why would I? I've never had a bad Plextor product . . . but now I question that. Is this a bad drive? I can't say. My motherboard is not on the 'works with' list and, it turns out, this drive does not work with any of the various computers I have around the house.

      Should I have read the lis
  • NEC? Sony?
    I have owned both and NEC makes a very nice dual layer burner for the price and is very popular. Why not include it in the comparison? (While we are at it, how about Ben-Q? Their prices are rock bottom but I always wondered if the quality was as well...)

    Their previous article linked on the first page had a Sony drive but no NEC.
    http://www.extremetech.com/print_article2/0,1217,a =143191,00.asp [extremetech.com]
    • Indeed, the first thing I noticed was the lack of NEC's burners. I recently put an ND-3550A into a new system I built, and it's first-rate. It'll burn single-layer DVD+R or -R at 16x if you have suitable media, and DL +R discs at 8x.

      Even better - you can get one for about $40.
    • It is my impression that most "reviews" are fraudulent. NEC isn't listed because NEC is the best.
  • Pioneer DVR-111D (Score:3, Informative)

    by LanMan04 (790429) on Monday June 05, 2006 @02:07PM (#15474448)
    Pioneer DVR-111D [pioneeraus.com.au]

    Great IDE Dual-Layer burner, Mac compatible [macsales.com] (works with Toast out-of-the-box, I used Patchburn [macupdate.com] to make it "Apple Supported/Shipped"), apparently Linux compatible [linuxquestions.org], and dirt cheap ($35.99) [newegg.com].

    Kicks ass, no coasters, does just about every format. 'nuff said.
    • Re:Pioneer DVR-111D (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have an older version of that Pioneer, and I agree it does what it says it does. However,...

      Why aren't reviewers taking DVD makers to task for being so behind the curve on everything else? S-ATA isn't exactly new. Apple has been releasing almost nothing but slot-loading drives for a while now (except for the PowerMac line).

      And yet it's hard to find either a slot-loading DVD burner, or a S-ATA DVD burner -- and AFAICT impossible to find one that's both.

      S-ATA is an improvement over (P-)ATA because it use
    • I've had positive experiences with my Pioneer DVR-111D as well. It plugged and played when I replaced my old DRV-104 without any "patch". It's max burn rate is 8x DVD-R and 48x CD, which is plenty for me since I favor quality over speed: I've had exactly one coaster CD out of hundreds of burns. It reads faster than it writes.

      The only problem I've noted is that it's slightly more fragile about reading highly scratched DVDs than my old 104.

    • I've read it's a very good drive (unliked the previous 110), but many folks online seem to think the Benq DW 1650/1655 just edges it out, especially in terms of burn quality.
    • A pity it's crippled with RPC-2 for DVD playback.

      Anyone know of a way to fix this?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @02:57PM (#15474839) Homepage Journal

    Today we're going to look at four dual-layer DVD burners from HP, Lite-On, and Plextor

    Well, that's nice. Too bad only one of those in signficant in the Optical drive mass market - Lite-On. HP drives are going to pretty much be in HP systems. Plextor offers the most expensive drives around and they're just not that interesting to people.

    Maybe they should have included Sony, ToshibaSamsung, NEC, or some other companies that actually sell a shitload of drives on the retail market. Lite-On was a good call, though.

    • Maybe they should have included Sony, ToshibaSamsung, NEC, or some other companies that actually sell a shitload of drives on the retail market. Lite-On was a good call, though.
      Sony doesn't make their burners anymore. They outsourced this to Liteon quite a while ago.
      • Thanks for the heads-up. The point still stands, though... In particular NEC and ToshibaSamsung make cheap, ubiquitous drives, and the NEC has a reputation as being best for burning on crappy media.
  • ..and are pretty good deals, to boot.

    That last sentence seems so incomplete. To boot from. To boot off of. To make boot discs on. The possibilities are endless.

  • I mean, how the hell can you take this thing seriously when on the second page it greets you with:

    All of the drives are nearly the same compact size, so you shouldn't have problems fitting them in a small form factor PC.

    Wow, seriously, wow, thanks ExtremeTech for remembering us that these 5.25" devices use the same standard 5.25" form factor that's been used since, like, the release of the first CD player for PC, we couldn't have thought about that ourselves !

    (and compact? don't make me laugh, anyone w

    • The first 'CD player for PC' was a big ugly form factor, and external.

      But anyway...
    • Wow, seriously, wow, thanks ExtremeTech for remembering us that these 5.25" devices use the same standard 5.25" form factor that's been used since, like, the release of the first CD player for PC, we couldn't have thought about that ourselves !

      (and compact? don't make me laugh, anyone who's ever built a PC knows that a standard 5.25" CD/DVD drive is nowhere near compact)


      I do hope you were trying to be facetious. Don't you think they might have been talking about length rather than height? Some older 5.25" d
  • Am I the only person tired of tray loading optical drives? Are we ever going to see slot loading adopted by major manufactures of high quality drives?

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