Hey everyone.

I'm curious if anyone has ever done any extensive research into the capabilities of various drives when it comes to discs that are hard to read or discs that contain a lot of defects/scratches.

A while back, I was in the market for some drives that, while incompatible with DIC, I could still get at least some kind of dump from some of the harder to read CD-Rs that I have. I have a lot of prototypes on various brands of recordable media, but the issue is that I don't have a single drive that can read a problematic disc consistently at all. Most of the discs appear completely fine on the surface (zero scratches at all), but sometimes the amount of errors can be alarming. There are some drives that fare better than others, but to my knowledge I don't think there was ever research done as to what drive can handle problematic discs the best - either due to great hardware (laser stength?) or great firmware.

I brought this up with olofolleola4 over a year a go, and he recommended these drives for scratched discs:

BenQ 5224W:
ALi M5501
ALi M55U3
OPU: Sony KRS-340C

BenQ 5224WU:
ALi M5501
ALi M55U3
OPU: Sony KRS-340C

Philips PCRW5232:
ALi M5501
ALi M55U3
OPU: Sony KRS-350C

BenQ 5232X:
ALi M5505
OPU: Sony KRS-360C
Source: https://club.myce.com/t/benq-5224w-wu-5 … /314586/15

Plextor PX-230A:
ALi M5505
OPU: Sony KRS-360C
Source: https://diit.cz/clanek/plextor-px-230a-52x32x52-ide

Basically ALi chipset according to public knowledge, but I haven't confimed that myself.

Anything that uses the ALi chipset seems great for discs with scratches. For discs that are hard to read, he recommended these:

Regarding "hard-to-dump", based on my LaserLock tests, these ones seems to be the best ones to use:
#1: Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-R2102
#2: Lite-On DVD SOHD-167T
#3: GoldStar CD-ROM CRD-8322B
#4: Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1401
#5: Plextor DVDR PX-708A

Source: http://wiki.redump.org/index.php?title= … ofolleola4

A while back I also found this thread that ranked a few drives that were good at reading heavily scratched discs:
https://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread … S-ON-GOING

Of course, not every drive is the same and there are many contributing factors at the end of the day. But still, I'm curious if there really is a drive out there that seems to be a decent all around solution for discs that are just difficult to read because of issues in regards to the media itself.

2 (edited by scsi_wuzzy 2022-05-25 03:36:38)

I don't know any specific models right off the bat that are generally believed to be great with damaged discs, but you might take a look at cdrinfo.pl. Over the years, they did some pretty extensive tests of how different drives perform on various types of damaged media. Most of the content is in Polish (which I don't speak), but Google Translate does a reasonable job with it. Their benchmarks are how I learned that my Plextor drives that are awful at reading damaged discs are actually probably performing normally... (at https://www.cdrinfo.pl/artykuly/Plextor … rona14.php) And their summary of the BenQ 5224W indicates that they found it to be good at error correction (at least for audio discs -- I believe they're saying it's not good for data, but I couldn't get that chart to load and the translation isn't quite clear) (https://www.cdrinfo.pl/artykuly/Benq-5224W/strona8.php), so that matches up with what you were told.

I can say from my own experiences that, when I have a damaged disc, I have pretty good luck with LG BD-RE drives (like the WH14NS40 or similar). Optiarc and TSST/Samsung DVD+/-RW drives have also done quite well.

You've probably already observed this yourself, but it seems to be the case that drives perform differently depending on the type of damage present on the disc (or maybe even the specific manufacturer of the disc or some other variables?). Some discs my LG BD-RE can read fine, but the TSST/Samsung drives struggle, and for others, the TSST is best, or the Optiarc. Basically, if you're dealing with damaged discs, it seems like the best plan of attack is just to get a bunch of drives and start trying them all. IsoBuster has some functionality that makes this pretty convenient, where you can save an incomplete image (i.e., one where not all sectors could be read) and then try to complete the image using different drives.