A first look at dual layer DVD+R writing

Posted 07 May 2004 01:57 CET by OC-Freak




Preview: BenQ DW830A Dual Layer DVD-Writer
Provided by:
Firmware: B4A8
Manufactured: April 2004

It has been a while since last time we looked into a BenQ drive, so it will be interesting to see where they are now and how their products are. The drive they sent us is their latest DVD-Writer; the BenQ DW830A. The drive we got here is a pre-release drive with unfinished firmware so we find it a bit useless to do a full review before the final firmware arrives. What we will take a look at is the features and the dual layer writing capabilities as they are now. Just to give you a taste on what to expect from the first generation dual layer capable drives. We will try to look at compatibility, quality and speed.

Drive specifications:

These are the specifications of this drive, found at the BenQ's webpage:

World's First DVD+R Double-Layer DVD Re-Writer


Max. DVD writing speed 8x (10800KBps) + R, 4x (5400KBps)-R
Max. DVD Re-writing speed 4x (5400KBps) +RW, 2x (2700KBps) -RW
Max DVD DL writing Speed 2.4X(3240KBps)+R
Max. CD Writing Speed 24x (3600KBps), CLV  / CAV (24x)
Max. CD Re-writing Speed 10x (1500KBps), CLV
Max. DVD Reading Speed 12X (16200KBps), CAV
Max. CD Reading Speed 40X (6000KBps), CAV
Seek Time 160 ms (DVD) / 120 ms (CD)


1 kg

Dimensions (LxWxH)

146 x 198 x 42 mm

Buffer Size



ATA/ATAPI (ATA 66 above)

IDE Mode

PIO mode 0/1/2/3/4
DMA mode 0/1/2
UDMA mode 0/1/2

Disc Size


Writing Mode

DVD Data and Video

Packet writing
CD Digital Audio
Direct Over write on CDRW
Simulation Writing

Disc Formats

DVD+R 4.7GB 
DVD-RW 4.7GB (Close session)


CD-ROM XA (m1, m2f1/m2f2)
Bootable CD
Photo CD (single & multi-session)
Video CD
Super Video CD
Mixed-mode CD

OS Compatibility

Windows 98SE / ME / 2000/ XP

Power Requirement

DC 5V +/- 5%, 0.8A Max
DC12V+/- 10%, 1.9A Max

Environment Conditions

Operating temperature: 5°C~45°C (41°F~113°F) at the humidity of 50% RH
Non-operating temperature: -40°C~60°C (-40°F~140°F)
Non-operating humidity: 5%~95% RH

Reliability characteristics

MTBF: 50.000 POH
Non-recoverable read error < 1 block in 1012 bits (CD and DVD)

System Requirements

IBM PC compatible Pentium III 550MHz CPU or above
128MB DRAM, 100MB free HDD space for CD/DVD recording related software installation.
1GB free HDD space for CD Image recording


Value Softwares bundled for DVD Burn / Playback / Edit

* Sonic Record Now 7.1
* Sonic DLA 4.9
* Intervideo WinDVD 4.0
* Intervideo WinDVD Creator Plus 2.0
* BenQ exclusive Qvideo 2.0
* BenQ Book type management 8.2

ATA66 cable bundled ensuring high speed

Premium Double Layer disc *0F2 model

The most important feature of this drive is of course the Dual Layer capabilities. Beside this it doesn't seem to be very special, but let's forget that for now and concentrate on the dual layer writing capabilities. We will of course come back with a full review including updated dual layer tests when the firmware and media is finalized.

Test machine:

For this review we will be using a computer with the following configuration:


         Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-8KNXP with Intel i875P chipset.
         Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2,8GHz 800MHz FSB with Hyper Threading support.
         RAM: 1Gb PC3500 DDR
         GFX: ATI Radeon 9800 pro
         Sound: SB Audigy 2
         Hard disks: 2 x Hitachi Deskstar 7k250 160Gb S-ATA in RAID 0 on the i875P S-ATA RAID controller.

System set-up:


The BenQ DW830A was connected as Primary Master and identified itself as ATAPI DVD DL 2X8X4X12X. DMA (Direct Memory Access) and autorun was enabled for all devices.


Windows XP professional is installed on the computer along with Service Pack 1 for windows XP. We will be using the following software in this article:

         Ahead Nero Burning ROM version
         Ahead Nero CD/DVD Speed v2.20
         Ahead Nero InfoTool v2.21
         K-Probe v2.1.0
         DVDinfoPRO v2.47
         Lite-On Smartburn Media Identifier 3.18
         DVD Decrypter

Head on to the next page and find out what we received…

Waiting on Activation
Posted on: 07 May 04 04:34
Thanks for the insight.
0 Agree

Senior Moderator
Posted on: 07 May 04 06:38
I enjoyed reading this (p)review. Good work as always Tor!
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 07 May 04 08:34
Enjoyed the article. Early days yet though, the technology will come on leaps and bounds over the next year or so.
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 07 May 04 14:25
Ok, so under the "Read" specs, it says it supports reading DVD-10 and DVD-18. Are these just 10 and 18 gig sized DVDs? I've never heard of this spec, but I haven't followed very closely the past year or so.
0 Agree

CD Freaks Member
Posted on: 07 May 04 15:00
DVD-18 DVD-18 in an acronym that means a two-sided DVD disc with two layers of data on both sides of the disc -- in other terms, it is a two-sided disc that holds DVD-9 disc on both sides of it. DVD-18 disc can contain upto 15.9 gigabytes of data on it (with 7.95 gigabytes on each side). Other regular DVD size acronyms are: -DVD-5 -DVD-9 -DVD-10 -DVD-14 DVD-14 DVD-14 is an oddball format that doesn't really exist anymore, but was used for a short period of time back in late 1990s and in early years of new millennium when manufacturing of DVD-18 discs was complicated and expensive. DVD-14 is a two-sided DVD disc that has one side which contains single layer of data and one side which contains two layers of data. In easier terms, the other side of the disc is DVD-5 and the other side of the disc is DVD-9. DVD-14 disc can hold upto 12.33 gigabytes of data. DVD-10 DVD-10 means a two-sided DVD disc that hold single data layer on both sides. Effectively this means that DVD-10 is a dual-sided DVD-5 and can hold 8.75 gigabytes of data with 4.38 gigabytes on each side. Two-sided discs need to be flipped over in order to access the other data side. Unfortunately many blank DVD media advertisers mislead customers to believe that these discs are actually blank DVD-9 discs in hope that they could copy their dual-layer discs directly to blank discs. But as dual-layer writable blank media is impossible to create, customers get misled. DVD-9 One form of DVD discs that means a single-sided dual-layer DVD disc. DVD-9 can hold approximately 7.95 gigabytes of data, even though marketers like to use the 8.5GB value instead, but this is misleading and is calculated by using so-called "Japanese gigabytes" which means that gigabyte is calculated as 1,000 megabytes, but in real computer terminology, gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes. DVD-9 DVD-Video discs are problematic for DVD-R owners, because writable DVD discs can only hold the same amount of data that DVD-5 discs contain, due technical reasons. DVD-5 DVD-5 is an acronym that means a DVD disc that is one-sided single-layer disc and can contain upto 4.38 gigabytes of data on it. DVD disc manufacturers love to use marketing terms and sell their discs as 4.7GB discs, but this is not true -- the 4.7GB is calculated by using so-called "Japanese gigabytes", where the power of calculations is 1,000 instead of 1,024 (and 1.024 is the correct way to calculate everything in computer world -- so, 1024 megabytes == 1 gigabyte). DVD-5 DVD-Video discs are nice, because DVD writers (this applies to both, DVD-R and DVD+R standards) can only write single layer discs.
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 08 May 04 08:52
I'd love to see these tests performed when bitsetting becomes and option and then tested on various players.
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 10 May 04 19:19
nice review! I wonder if DVD+R CERTIFIED dvd-players accept these DL discs :d
0 Agree

No longer with us
Posted on: 10 Sep 07 08:28
what is duel lear cd and how its work
0 Agree

New on Forum
Posted on: 04 May 09 14:18
do u smell what charo is cookin!!!!? :X
0 Agree

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