Best optical to buy today? (DVD-+RW)


Apr 23, 2011
Curious what you all think would be the smartest choice for my new rig in terms of DVD RW drives.

Taking into consideration, accuracy, speed, quality, and how quiet it is.

I'd totally love to skip optical all together, stupid dead technology.. But I need it to install OS/games etc.
It's far from stupid and it's far from dead technology, but that's another thread. :)

I'd recommend something from Lite-On, LG, or Pioneer if you can afford 'em. Samsung has some decent drives as well, but the place to go for real info are the forums over at (used to be, still should be as far as I'm concerned but whatever).

That's the source for optical drive reviews and recommendations, media info/reviews, anything to do with optical it's there.
It's far from stupid and it's far from dead technology, but that's another thread. :)

I'd recommend something from Lite-On, LG, or Pioneer if you can afford 'em. Samsung has some decent drives as well, but the place to go for real info are the forums over at (used to be, still should be as far as I'm concerned but whatever).

That's the source for optical drive reviews and recommendations, media info/reviews, anything to do with optical it's there.

I'd just really like to see a massive migration to mainstream data/games/os's etc provided on flash data, boom usb port! faster more reliable, more attractive than a big optical :(

Hey OP. Don't you have another identical thread? How about consolidating?

fishing with multiple lines in the water, I apologize. :)
If you think Flash-RAM devices like USB sticks are more reliable than optical media, well... I got a drawer here with about 19 USB sticks, all of them just up and died at some random point, and when I say died that's just what I mean: instantaneous death, no hope of any recovery, the drives just died and are no longer functional in any manner.

Contrast that with maybe 2 CDs that I can no longer read in an optical drive and were burned back in 1997, which are the only 2 optical discs I've ever "lost" because of time and usage.

Yes, Flash-RAM tech is faster but, more reliable... no no, not yet. It's getting more reliable, yes, but... I still use DVD media for long term storage and will for years to come. It's a proven technology, at least for me, and hasn't failed me yet (and I've got some DVDs I burned back in 2003 that still work just fine too).

Had a friend of mine get a 64GB USB stick a few weeks ago 'cause it was on sale at Fry's and he had some store credit from a previous purchase so he grabbed it, loaded it up with a ton of data, like 50GB full, and less than a week later... *poof* totally dead. He didn't lose anything since he already had it on his hard drive, but the sheer fact that a brand new USB stick died so quickly was just another indicator that it's not quite there just yet in terms of reliability.

I don't trust 'em completely, and for my purposes, I never buy anything larger than a 4GB USB stick anyway. Not interested in "losing" that much data when I might require it, but that's just me.
I don't mean to thread-jack, but I have the same question but with more requirements than the thread starter. I've cruised back to both cdrlabs and cdfreaks/myCE in the last month and it's really hard to find anything other than really long posts full of scan data and almost no analysis or discussion. Add to this the fact that I can't even decode why manufacturers are making all of the different drives they make because the features read the same.

Here's my situation:

- I have a BenQ DW1640 that I'm perfectly happy with. It's currently connected to the JMicron PATA port on my P5B-E. New SB boards with PATA ports are nearly unobtainium.

- I purchased a SATA-to-IDE adapter, but it doesn't work with my P8P67Pro no matter how much I fool with compatibility settings. I got the Marvel controller to hang at the detection phase with one set of settings, but any other port/settings just ignore it. It's either defective or simply isn't going to work with the P8P67. I have a drawer full of Promise PATA cards (Ultra66, Ultra100TX2, etc...). They only support HDDs, from the looks of things, and definitely cannot boot from optical. I've tried to defer buying a new optical drive but it looks like I may not be able to in order to get this SB build working.

- I burn and read mostly DVD SL media, but it must work well with CD and DL media too.

- It must support scanning. I can live with 8ECC if necessary.

- I usually burn YUDENT03 SL, MCC03RG20 (Verbatim Archival) SL, MKM001 (Verbatim AZO 2.4-8x) DL, or TY CD-Rs

- I want no riplocks

- I have been entertaining the idea of getting a BD-ROM capable drive, or even a BD writer if it can still burn DVD/CD well. I don't have an immediate need to burn BDs but playing/ripping would be nice.

- I don't have much of an opinion on Lightscribe, Labelflash or similar technologies. If it was a couple of dollars I would probably opt for whichever is more popular - I haven't looked at what my bulk media provider has for sale.

- I'm in Canada and can shop at Canada Computers (in person no shipping), N-C-I-X, or

I appreciate any insights. Joe Average: you seem to still be following along with the optical forums. That's probably a lot easier than trying to jump in and figure things out.
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Had to solve this problem quickly. Ended up with a Sony Optiarc AD-7260S.

The Pio 219 had some promising points, but it looks like Pio went with a Mediatek chipset and a review said that even with that it could not do parity scans. No scanning is a deal killer for me.

I looked at some LiteOn reviews (for the 524 I think) and they made quite a number of out-of-spec disks on lots of media. I was kind of shocked (this was cdrlabs, I think, so they should know what they're doing). Lots of toys, gizmos and custom firmware options but the burn quality wasn't there.

Considered the Pio BDR-206 BD writer. It's 6x the money, but I was planning on some BD action on my next upgrade (if I wasn't forced into it quite yet). I found that these drives do DVD media at 8x at best. Phooey.

Saw a few places where LG/Samsung 24x units were disappointing a lot of people compared to the previous 22x units.

In the limited time I had, the Optiarc seemed like the best choice.
The 7260 is an excellent choice and gets great reviews (and the resulting scans posted over at MyCE can back that up, given the quality media being used).

I bought an Asus DRW-B241ST a few months ago from Fry's, got it home, did the obligatory research on it, discovered it's actually a LiteOn iHAS-324, found the proper stock firmware (since there's been no updates so far, and C0deking from MyCE says there probably won't be given the nature of the firmware being encrypted, or something to that effect), and did the crossflash and now it's the LiteOn iHAS-324 it actually is.

I use TDK branded media that's typically Ritek F16 stuff, low end but it's workable. Yes, I'm a bit cheap, just can't afford having TY and proper Verbatim media, and I've been using TDK branded for 7 years now, it's never been an issue. I don't burn at rated speed, ever not even in a situation where I do happen to have some decent media, it's just not done.

I burn all these 16x media at 8x, with verify, always and without exception. Been using that methodology for 7 years or so and the discs I burned 7 years ago still read without issues even on that old media (Ritek F15 and some Promedia stuff in there too).

I was lucky once, and I don't know how or why it happened, but I got a 50 pack of TDKs (branded) and got 'em home, broke open the spindle, fired up CD-DVD-Speed (this was like 5 years ago) and did the obligatory test disc burn then quality test and didn't even pay attention the actual media code till it was all done. Gave me a 98% (my highest ever, even now) and then I noticed it was Taiyo Yuden media... I got in the car and made a beeline back to that Circuit City to grab a few more spindles but damned if they weren't all gone when I got there - and there were like 25+ on the shelf when I was there not an hour before... damn.

Ya snooze ya lose I guess. :D

Anyway, I still don't own a Blu-ray drive of any kind, don't see the point in them currently. I'm simply not going to pay twice for the same movie just because it's in a higher resolution format, that's just not going to happen anytime soon. My Wife and I both use our 'puters as our HTPCs of a sort, hardly ever watch actual TV (which we do own) and the DVD or the *cough*rips*cough* that I acquire at somewhat higher resolutions are more than acceptable for the time being. :p

Guess I just wouldn't trust that much data in one piece of media, I don't know. I don't own any hard drives over 320GB; the thought of losing a few terabytes of data in a split second if a drive dies is... well, I'm not going to let it happen to moi, so I keep backups of nearly everything I have on DVDs, all verified, all regularly checked maybe once every 2 years or so, and for the really really important stuff I even have DVD sets where I've got PAR data (taken from PAR technology from Usenet postings) where I have recovery data included in the burned DVD data spread across the number of discs in the set(s). Even if I lost 1 entire disc in a 4 disc set, I can rebuild it, every last byte... I can't do much more than that for keeping the data safe.

Bleh, I'm babbling now. That 7260 should do great for you considering the media you stated - wish I could have been affording the 'good stuff' the past few years but, this TDK branded stuff burned at 8x on a solid burner is just as reliable in my experience. That might change but, so far so good.

I don't burn a really high volume of discs but mostly what I burn I really need to read back. If I was burning tons of torrents every week or something that would be a different story. There's a media wholesale company ( that I started buying from. Their new website is a little splashier than it used to be but they would post media codes from everything they sold and you could count on what you were buying. I used store-bought TDKs, Maxell and Verbatims for a while but you never knew what was in the package until you got it home and checked it. I grew tired of checking for particular SKUs and "Made in Singapore" instead of "Made in Taiwan" and crap like that trying to guess whether I was getting Maxell media or rebranded RiData etc.... I just started buying genuine TY in tape wrap at a discount. Now 100 blanks will last me a year, maybe more. I returned two 100 disc spindles of -R and +R TDKs to Costco (great price on sale) because they turned out to be utter crap as compared to what was usually in their TDK cakeboxes which looked identical.

I actually think I got a bum batch of YUDENT03s the last time. I split 100 with my dad who needed some at the same time. I noticed PE peaks at the outside of every disk but everything was in spec. Now there are some out of spec PF peaks in those same places of disks I wrote a year ago and some are unreadable. Lucky I burned archive material to one TY disk and one RG20 archival disk (which I used to recover the data). I'm thinking of contacting the vendor or TY to see if there's any compensation - it looks like they have a 100 year guarantee or something now. On the other hand, I don't want to have to mail 100 discs of personal data to them in order to get them replaced. On my serious archival disks I printed the CD-DVD scan graphic and taped it to the jewel case - it's easy to see any degradation.

Do you burn -Rs or +Rs? I was a TYG02/TYG03 user for a long time with great scans but I remember reading a lengthy article about why the +R writing scheme is superior to -R and how +Rs can have greater compatibility in set top boxes and such so I switched to YUDENT03. Darnit if I can't find it now. I wasn't just a pontification of opinion, it looked at pit spacing and how it was fundamentally less prone to errors etc... nuts... At any rate, my lowest error burns were TYG02 and TYG03 on the DW1640 with YUDENT03s always being >95.

I'd still like to be able to read BD - maybe some other time in some other reader. I couldn't find a BD-ROM which also clearly scored high praise as a DVD writer so I let it go. That doesn't mean it isn't out there, I just didn't find it in time.

Thanks for babbling.

EDIT: This touches on some of the topics I read about +Rs, but it isn't the same article:
I never really cared about the -R and +R differences - in all honestly, when I got my first DVD burner so long ago, I grabbed a pack of +R and that's what I've been using ever since. I've never done any real research into the pros and cons of each format but I've seen articles and mention that +R is "supposed to be better" and that's about it.

For a while I did some rather intense scrutiny of every cakebox I bought - used to be 50 at a time but as most things do come down in price, I can typically find these TDKs in 100 packs now for $18 or less almost constantly at OfficeMax or OfficeDepot - if one doesn't have that price the other does and vice versa.

I'd get it home, open it up, pull 4 random discs out and then do quality testing but, I gave up on that last year at some point - I probably wasted 200 discs over the past 7 years or so for no good damned reasons. A good burner + even half-ass media burned at half the rated speed of the media = consistent results which has been my method and experience. I get 95 for a quality score consistently with this Ritek F16 media burned at 8x and verify and that's better than what most folks get (but they actually try and get it to burn at 16x reliably... fat chance of that). Sometimes I'll get a batch that tests at 90-95 but far more often than not the 1 disc I use to test nowadays gives me 95 solid every time (meaning I just pull one from the middle of the stack and not four to test).

After I made that post above I pulled out 2 discs that I burned way back in mid-2003 at the almighty awesome speed of 1x on a Plextor burner and they read just fine in the LiteOn 324 I have, no issues. I'd do a quality scan but, it's a waste of time and more wear and tear on the drive for no reason. I did a 1:1 copy of the content to the hard drive and it all copied over without issues, without any CRC errors, nothing, and the byte counts match. I could do an actual CRC check of every file but why bother... there's a point of diminishing returns, and the shit works so that's that. :D

I suppose I should take some of the oldest media and files I have and redo them with more current media and use PAR files for that stuff but, I'm lazy at this point and again, the shit works so I leave it alone.

Everything I have is in paper sleeves, nothing is scratched or damaged, and the majority of the blank media I purchase is for backing up the retail DVDs that I own more than anything else. The Wife likes TV shows of all kinds and I grab boxed sets when they're on sale or from people on craigslist that buy 'em, copy 'em, then dump 'em for a quick turnaround on the cost and get a nice discount. Then I'll either make a 1:1 copy if possible (and if I have some blank dual layer media which I really don't like using), or I'll hit the disc with DVDShrink at max sharpness/quality settings as the backup, then put the originals in storage for safe keeping and let the Wife use the backups for whatever.

I've got a shitload of DVDs with my CD collection (over 2,100 discs collected since early 1985, also safely in storage) that have the CD content in FLAC form, about 71 DVDs in a shoebox that have nothing but FLAC rips on 'em. I use those to transcode to other formats as required (LAME mp3 or Ogg Vorbis) and that's about it.

As for downloading, I don't really do that much. I have a decent connection with Cox and the only things I acquire are usually TV shows that I miss or like to be able to watch when I want. I'm not a big fan of streaming so, I just grab shows as they come up - like tonight's season finale of Justified which just finished unpacking with SABnzbd+ so, I'm gonna go watch that and then I'm headed to bed. :D
I haven't used my dvd burner in over a year. I don't even know if it still opens.