DVD writer advice

I need to get a DVD writer for my PC. Uses will be making DVDs from video and data storage. I’d also like it if I can use it for everything and get rid of my current CD-RW - it is loud as a Pratt and Whitney and has been having other problems.

I remember reading an article a while back that recommended a Sony drive that seemed to be good with all of the 873 current DVD “standards”.

Recommendations? Drives to stay away from?



There are several mult-format drives out now. Sony, NEC and (gasp) Pioneer all make one. Plextor is coming out with one next month. The Sony and Pioneer units both seem solid (haven’t tried the NEC yet). The Plextor may be the one to get, though, if you’re willing to wait.

What Loyd said.

I’ve played with a number of drives, and tested discs in various settop players, and here are the salient points:

  1. DVD-R discs are generally the most compatible with older DVD players. (I remember reading more than once in either Maximum PC or CPU that they thought DVD+R was the most compatible. That’s hooey.)

  2. DVD+RW is the most compatible rewritable format with settop players, but rewritable disc compatibility is pretty poor overall. Best to do your test runs on a PC and then burn an -R for TV playback.

  3. DVD+RW apparently has better support for packet writing – using the disc as a giant floppy. I don’t use my drive this way, though.

I early adopted and bought a drive before the four-format drives came out, so I went with a Pioneer -R/-RW drive for maximum compatibility.

If I were buying today, I’d probably wait for the upcoming Plextor if possible, otherwise I’d go for Pioneer’s new multiformat drive. (Sony’s not a bad option, I’m just very happy with Pioneer A03.)

On media, go for DVD-R for write-once and DVD+RW for rewritable.

Another concern: The software you use to build your DVD can affect compatibility with discs you distribute. I’ve had good luck with Ulead’s DVD Workshop, although it’s a bit pricey. Pinnacle Studio 8 is a nice, inexpensive video editing program that now included DVD burning functions, but menu creation is a bit arcane so I haven’t tried them yet.

there’s a boatload of multi-format writers out there now, you just have to decide how much you want to pay for one.

the sony drives are almost the “gold standard” of the writers out there right now- 4x on -R/+R, 2.4x on +RW, 2x on -RW, 8MB cache… unfortunately, you end up paying for the Sony name that comes on the unit more than anything else…which isn’t that bad of a thing.

the big questionmark with all the various drives are “what media is compatible with it?”. sure, they all say “4x +R/-R” , etc, but there’s typically a very limited list of branded media that they will claim that on. you’ll have to do some digging around if you want to find out if the drive will write at the speeds you want it to with the media you (want to) buy.

that being said, you’ll have to do that with ALL the drives out there, not just the Sony drive… but the Pioneer, the LG, the Optorite, the NEC, the Plextor, …

the Plextor denny mentioned is probably the first of the “3rd generation” multi-format writers that can really truly replace your CD-R/RW drive, as it can write to cd-r media at 40x…which is kind of even below the lowest generic cd-r/rw writers now… of course, you’ll pay a price… it IS a plextor… and it IS the first of the 8x +R writers (does 8x media even exist yet?) … but, it’s the big badass on the block now… for another couple weeks, at least…

… and a note to Denny: the pioneer multi-format has been shipping for a couple months now… the plextor drive just started shipping 2 weeks ago in limited quantities.

i personally own an Optorite (yeah, cheezy generic “name”) DD0203, and have had no real problems with it thus far- the only “problem” i’ve had has been finding out what 4x media i can use on it without buying some to try it first. :)

  • mlatin - ever lurking -

Well I recommend going to this site listed below. It helped me decide which to get. Basically I read their reviews and benchmarks and narrowed it down to the Optorite and Pioneer models. Then I just did a google search for user reviews and finally decided to purchase the Optorite DD0203.

The Optorite is quite noisy when its being accessed. It is also a bit picky about which media to use, luckily though I read through enough forums and knew which media types to buy and which to avoid. I purchased it mainly though because of a feature called HD-BURN. It allows for burning regular CD-Rs’ to hold 1.4GB of data instead of the usual 600-700MB. The only problem with the feature is that the CD-Rs’ can only be read by drives that support the technology. Of course, a drive can read it if someone were to release a firmware upgrade allowing it to read the HD-BURN disc.

Here is the link CDR-Info

Available for Pre-Order

$299.00 as Pre-Order price. Once it goes retail I hear the price will be $299.99.

You pay for the Plextor name on the CD-RW side of things, but this is a very nice price for what you get. Great deal.

I have a Pioneer DVR-A04 (2x DVD-R writing speed) that has worked wonderfully for me (did bios upgrade on it so it could write to 4x media). I don’t even use the “Recommended” media and have had zero issues with it (Memorex media always works for me in my 40x plextor or this).

Plextor always makes solid drives, and often their drives are repackaged by other people and sold (Lite-on did this with the 32x drives I think).

Yep, I worked at a company that develops CD/DVD mastering/verification software, and every dev/test machine was equipped exclusively with Plextors as standard. (as a side note these rascals were involved in the development of c-dilla and other nefarious protection schemes).

I have the dual format sony DRU-500a, and there are very few Dvd players I’ve found that won’t play at least one of the formats (+r, -r, +rw, -rw). When you get to newer Dvd players it seems like they will play all formats.