Special thanks to Newegg for supplying hardware for this comparison test.


How much faster will optical drives get? CD-ROM drives and CD burners topped out at 52X after years of jumping up the ladder from the original 1X speeds, and it seems as though DVD-ROM drives and DVD burners are following the same path; obviously, there is a trend here. Beginning at 1X, then raising the bar to 2X/2.4X just like the old days of CD burners, DVD drives have made it to 16X speeds in only a matter of a few years, thanks to the research that the big name companies performed during the compact disc hype. Two competing standards probably don't hurt acceleration development either.

Before the world takes on the newly-forming standards for high definition discs, like Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs, the life of current 4.5GB/9GB DVDs still has a ways to go. Current audio/video content does not have a high demand for storage space and since there is only a small amount of hardware that can play high definition video, current 4.5GB/9GB DVDs will suffice for a while. Backwards compatible HD-DVD drives are already slated for deployment next year, and Blu-Ray isn't far behind either, but those standards will take a while to be fully adopted. So, we continue our quest to push the limits of current technologies in use today.

Back in August, we looked at Pioneer's 16X burner, the DVR-108D, and compared its performance to that of Plextor's 12X PX-712A, not as a fair competition, because obviously they are of different speeds, but rather as a general measure of how much faster 16X burners are compared to their 12X predecessors. The DVR-108D performed extremely well and carried great features like Dual Layer +R read/write and DVD-RAM read capabilities. Dual layer writing capabilities have become a standard in newer DVD burners. If there is a 16X burner introduced, it had better have the ability to write to a dual layer disc with at least 2.4X speeds, or it most likely won't make it in the market. Many of the big name manufacturers are seeing this as a standard and will not put a stripped down drive in stores for that reason. Other features such as a PI/PO read back ability as well as the newly-introduced bitsetting feature, which we will explain in a bit more detail later, are becoming just as popular as the dual layer feature.

We had mentioned before that as soon as we got our hands on more 16X models from various manufacturers, we would compare each drive's performance, and we have done just that. We pitted Pioneer's DVR-108D against BenQ's DW1620, MSI's DR16-B, NEC's ND-3500AG, Sony's DRU-710A, NuTech DDW-163, LG GSA-4160B and LiteOn's SHOW-1633 to see which unit will rule them all!

Picking the Right Drive
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  • Operandi - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    For future reference if you are going to bother taking pictures of the drives take a picture of somthing useful, the drive bezel. nobody cares what the circut board PCB looks like.
  • xsilver - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Also is there somewhere where I can find tests on reading regular dvd-9 movies? my liton 16x reader goes completely ape when there is any scratches on the disc, the 106d is much slower but plugs through.
    This is when using dvd decrypter

    and who the hell uses cd's anymore? dvd's are so much cheaper per m/b to store data.... if someone doesn't have at least a dvd reader, I say quit trying to buy that l33t AMD64 / 6800 and get something useful!
  • PuravSanghani - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    The bitsetting feature on this model is very limited with the current firmware in that only DVD+R DL media will be autoset to the DVD-ROM booktype.
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    >Also the 108d is the same price as the 3500a where I am.... would it be recommended then?

    I would still recommend the NEC-3500A. The faster CD writing is worth it.

  • xsilver - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Can the bitsetting option on the pioneer 108d be explained more? what will it auto set to?

    I have a 106d I want to upgrade and have found the pioneer to be much better than something like a liteon....
    Also the 108d is the same price as the 3500a where I am.... would it be recommended then?

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