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optical drive reviews

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Retired Moderator
Thread Starter
Jan 28, 2007
I recommend visiting these sites and reading their reviews:

1. http://cdrlabs.com/reviews/


3. http://www.cdfreaks.com/reviews/

What drives do I recommend? I don't like to recommend burners. That said,

1) a) I have a Pioneer DVR-215 (sata). These are excellent for dvd burning. They are quite bad, however, for anything involving cd audio ripping and also do not officially support booktyping dvd+r media (this can be overcome easily). The +R DL scans I'm seeing online for this drive are absolutely fantastic. And if you know that I mostly use +R DL blank media, then you also know that's why I would be attracted to this drive. This drive can be made to auto-support bitsetting to "dvd-rom" (and also made region free) for all media types using MCSE: Visit Zebadee's Guide to learn how to accomplish this. I tend to use this drive as a writer.

b) By the way, I have a Pioneer dvr-216 (sata) that arrived recently. Preliminary testing indicates to me this drive requires firmware development before I can safely recommend it. That said, the optimal writing speed utility seems promising:
http://www.pioneer.eu/files/support/utility/Optimal Writing Speed Utility.zip

I currently prefer the dvr-215 over the dvr-216, but that may change.

2) a) I also think the Samsung SH-S203B is a decent SATA burner (and probably the only Samsung burner that I think is decent; I did not like older Samsung burners; in fact, I hated most Samsung burners until I tested this drive). It's also decent for ripping in general; this drive is a pretty decent reader. So I tend to use this drive as a reader.

b) I also have the Samsung SH-S223F (sata). It's not a great writer (in terms of producing quality burns over a wide variety of blank media) at 22x, nor is it a good cd-r writer. But it's a very fast, good dvd reader--especially after using patched firmware: visit http://forum.slysoft.com/showthread.php?t=18626

3) I use the Plextor PX-760a (ide/atapi) for pi/po, jitter, and general error testing. If you intend to buy a Plextor PX-760a (this is the last real Plextor burner), ensure you're not getting an early TLA. I do not use the PX-760a as a reader (with the exception of running disc quality scans). Chances are you won't be able to find this burner anywhere anymore.

4) I have an LG GGC-H20L (SATA) for Blu-ray and HD-DVD playback. I am currently not interested in burning in either format, so this drive suffices for now.

In summary, I use the Samsung SH-S223F (with patched firmware) as a reader, the Pioneer as a writer, the Plextor for disc quality scans, and the LG combo drive for Blu-ray and HD-DVD playback.

There are some drives I simply won't use due to jitter and poor pi/po performance. Some drives do burn faster than others; those tend to produce terrible jitter and, in turn, produce questionable burn quality at higher speeds. In my opinion, those that claim inital pi/po and jitter scans are meaningless can come back to me after 10-15 years when their burned backups no longer play due to inferior quality burns that have degraded over time as a result of the organic dye in the blanks also degrading over time. All things being equal, a good quality burn will last longer than one that is simply mediocre.
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