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Does it matter which DVD writer I choose?

Last response: in Storage
November 12, 2010 5:59:37 PM

Hi all - prepping myself for first time build with Sandy Bridge in Jan.

Haven't focused on the DVD writer piece yet, except that I see they're generally around 20 bucks on Newegg. At this point I don't need BR writing or reading I don't think. I don't watch movies on my PC and I think if I get an AVCHD camcorder later that I might just make the DVDs that can be read by my PS3, or maybe I'll buy a BR writer at that time.

Anyhoo, should I do any research on the "best" DVD writer or should I just buy one on Newegg that has a bunch of good ratings and is around 20 bucks? I guess I could even just re-use the one I have now that's 5 yrs old but I can't recall if its SATA and it might only be 8X or 12X instead of 22X or 24X.

If the answer is just that they're all "fine" and its like buying a gallon of white milk, just go for the cheapest, then I just want to know that too.

a b G Storage
November 12, 2010 7:32:12 PM

Well, they aren't all the same. The speed difference does matter. And IDE is becoming obsolete.

Other than that, the new drives are all pretty much the same. I would look for one that's at least 20x DVD RW. Most people have a brand preference, but it pretty much either works or doesn't.

I've had good luck with LiteOn, Optiarcs, Asus, and LG. Find something that has a good deal on it, and go for it. If you're getting a retail motherboard, it'll come with the cables, so you can get an OEM DVD drive. OEM drives don't come with the SATA cable, and are a few $$ cheaper.
November 12, 2010 7:57:52 PM

I guess I meant between a 22X drive from Mfr A and a 22X drive from Mfr B is there any real difference, or do they all just "work fine"

Thanks for the advice. Again the price is so cheap I probably won't put too much thought into it. I'd pay more if it were truly a better drive, but it sounds like that might not be provable.

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a b G Storage
November 13, 2010 12:05:40 AM

As I said, the only real difference, is the speed and the interface.

Though, if you see a particular model with tons of bad reviews, I would probably avoid that one.
a b G Storage
November 14, 2010 12:28:45 AM

My first choice is Samsung, followed very closely by LG. I have not had either one of them fail. I had a LITE-ON fail after about 9 months.
a c 415 G Storage
November 14, 2010 4:24:28 PM

My preference is to buy a drive that can report raw error rates from the DVD. If you burn DVDs, you really have no idea whether the burn is any good or not unless you can run a scan with a tool such as Nero that reports the raw error rates:

The problem is that if you just read or play back a DVD it may play perfectly because the ECC codes correct the data on the fly - so that tells you absolutely nothing. In fact the burn may be so bad that the drive is just *barely* able to correct all the errors, and any slight degradation may render part of the disk unreadable.

The last drive I bought that can report raw error rates was a Lite-On iHAS424. The Sony Opticarc drive I bought could NOT do this.
November 15, 2010 3:52:50 PM

Hmm interesting. I'll keep that in mind. I wonder if that is one of the "specs" that would be reported on Newegg. Otherwise how would I find out who does and who doesn't report the raw error rates?

a c 415 G Storage
November 15, 2010 8:11:24 PM

I've found it to be very frustrating trying to figure out which drives do raw error reporting and which don't. It seems to be a closely guarded secret. The way I figured it out was to go to the Club CD Freaks web site and see which drives people were using to run their error scans with.
November 17, 2010 6:08:45 PM

Thanks for this thread - it's exactly the advice I needed to hear as well. And I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling I don't need anything blu-ray related ;) 
November 17, 2010 10:37:46 PM

I hardly watch BRs on my 61 inch TV, but I can't believe that I will notice BR quality on my 20" Dell monitor. And BR recording discs are so expensive vs DVD
November 27, 2010 5:23:37 AM

Some other differences are noise (when it's running) and the software bundle. The Asus drive is pretty good in both, but seems to be very badly available - can't get it in this country... LiteOn iHAS424 is another drive that's reported to be pretty quiet.

Do OEM versions of the drives come with the same software bundle? Am I looking for anything more than Nero Essentials and maybe some energy saving soft?

I suppose LightScribe support is nice, probably that comes just from the h/w and the drivers for the drive.

Reliability is a factor too, have little idea on that. I suppose it depends on who makes the actual mechanism of the drive - at least in the CD-RW era we had just like 2 manufacturers for the drive internals although the vendors were plenty :) 

Would the Samsung SH-S223L 22X DVD+/-RW be nice or which other models should I be looking for?
a b G Storage
November 27, 2010 1:14:25 PM

Nero comes with some of the drives, but it's not necessary.

The main difference, is OEM drives won't come with the cable.

I've never noticed certain drives to be much quieter than others. They are all about the same.