Tux Tested! BenQ DW1620

A week before Christmas, in a fit of panic, I decided to buy a DVD writer so that I could transfer the movies I made, of my now five month old son, onto DVDs to give to our parents and other family members. Yeah, I know . . . but new parents are like that. Anyhow, I headed out to the local Future Shop more or less blindly trusting that whatever I bought would just work on my Linux system. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, I settled on a BenQ model DW1620. Here's how it went.

BenQ DW1620. 16X+R 16X-R DVD+-RW/R
8.5 GB Double Layer
Purchased at Future Shop for $160 Canadian, a few days before Christmas 2004.

This is an internal drive with an IDE connector so the first step was to install the unit in my computer. I only had one free slot so I exchanged the CDROM drive that was there with the new DVD writer. The drive went in without a hitch and showed up when I booted Knoppix on my test system. Since my test system needed an OS (I replaced the hard drive as well), I decided to install SUSE 9.1 and booted its installation disk from the my new BenQ DW1620. Everything worked perfectly. The experiment was such a success that I followed it up with a Mandrake 10.1 install, also from the DWD writer.

All told, the drive worked successfully with SUSE 9.1 Professional, Knoppix 3.7, and Mandrake 10.1. The system on which it is currently installed is the Mandrake system.

Once the install was complete, I used Kino to read and edit the digital video from my camcorder. Then, I installed the dvdauthor program along with another program called DVDStyler to create the DVD complete with menus and chapters. Finally, I used K3B to burn multiple copies of the DVD. I won't say that my DVD authoring work turned out to be studio quality, but not one of my burned DVDs turned out to be a coaster and each one worked perfectly.

All told, I'm thrilled with my BenQ DW1620 DVD writer purchase and would give it top marks. Recommended!

Editor's Note : This is an experimental column whose idea grew out of discussions from an online Linux User Group I run (the WFTL-LUG). From time to time, someone will ask about a particular piece of hardware, be it a printer, webcam, scanner, or whatever. Recommendations and discussions follow and someone invariably says that it would be nice if this sort of information were regularly available. On that note, I'd like to try this experiment. If you have recently bought some cool new hardware toy, (a Christmas gift, perhaps) and you are excited about it, this is your opportunity to recommend it to other Linux users. Send me an email to marcel@tuxmagazine.com and tell TUX readers what you purchased (make and model), where you bought it, and how much you paid for it. Then, tell us what Linux distribution you used it with and, if applicable, what software.

One more side note : I'd like these to be user reviews and I will need to confirm your email address before posting.

Marcel Gagné - Thu, 2020-12-30 10:25.

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Dual Layer media?

Have you tried burning on Dual Layer media in linux yet? If so, how did it go?

I just purchased a Plextor DVD burner, since they provide a link to a Linux binary, that is capabale of performing firmware updates. I like to support companies who support linux :-)

- Bruce

Bruce Garlock (not verified) - Wed, 2021-02-09 15:52.

No DOS/Linux firmware uploader

Oh and there's no DOS/Linux based firmware uploader, so if you want to update your drive's firmware you have to use a computer with a win32 OS.

Tiago Cogumbreiro (not verified) - Thu, 2021-01-20 15:12.

Firmware upgrading with Linux

Not for much longer! I'm working on a firmware flashing API (along with UIs and plugins) and support for BenQ DVD burners is top on my priority list (eg: why I started writing the program). The author of the Windows BQFlasher program is helping out with the plugin, so it should work soon :)
Input formats are CVT, HEX, and BenQ_EXE

... unfortunately even with the latest firmware, I still can't get the dual layer burning to work :(

Luke-Jr (not verified) - Sat, 2020-11-26 21:39.

And know the page of this

And know the page of this firmware-update for linux?


An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-12-07 15:33.

Great drive, no cd-text

It's a great drive if you compare features versus price, the only thing i missed is that it doesn't write CD-TEXT

Tiago Cogumbreiro (not verified) - Thu, 2021-01-20 15:09.

Need to Import Video from vcr or 8mm

Hi and thanks for the DVD writer review.

I have a question.

Has anyone tried a TV-in/VCR-in Video board with LINUX? I'm leaning towars an ATI Radeon all in wonder card but can't afford to buy and not have it work.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? I have about 200 video cassetes to convert to dvd.

Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated

nicsmr (not verified) - Tue, 2021-01-11 13:30.

Benq DVD Writer

I just bought the same DVD drive, although you should know it's available online for $78.40 CAD from NCIX. I had it two days after ordering it Dec 21.

Thanks for your post....makes me wait with anticipation for my new linux distro...


Robert Smits (not verified) - Thu, 2020-12-30 15:18.

I saw this item in a PC Upgra

I saw this item in a PC Upgrade magazine.

If the $78 is Canadian, how much for Stateside, plus shipping?

Also: What software does the unit come with? I am
currently using the supplied software (in 98SE) supplied
with a Sony CDRW. It's called B's Recorder Gold and
I've never used anything else.

Will the unit play dvd's from the store? This is a simple
question, but I've been avoiding buying a simple dvd
player because it doesn't have one or another feature.

The ideal unit would have the EZ View feature to
make a letterbox film full screen. And the unit would have
an LCD or LED panel to to show tracks from audio cd's.

Can I use the BenQ in this way until I pop for a
dvd player?

l - inapplet - (not verified) - Thu, 2020-12-30 15:46.

Software. The EASY way for

Software. The EASY way for a windows user to get started burning cd's and dvd's in Linux is to use K3b which is the cd burning software that comes with KDE. It runs pretty much like the burning programs that run in windows. ( Or at least close enough that you can figure it out without too much strain.)

After you have gotten familiar with linux and perhaps learned to write a couple of really simple bash scripts you will find that depending on the project it can be easier and faster to just use cdrecord from the command line, --or maybe you won't but at least the option is there to explore.

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2021-02-07 14:43.


Nero now has a Linux version available.

Vince (not verified) - M - , 2020-05-02 16:37.

BenQ DVD writer

The only software that comes with the drive is Windows software -
Sonic Record Now, InterVideo Win Cinema, BenQ QVideo 2.0, Book Type Management, and Users Manuals. BenQ 's US website is at http://www.benq.com/storage/dvdrw_index.html
so probably you can find more infor there. Yes,of course it also plays DVD's.

There is no LED or LCD panel. This is an internal IDE drive.


Robert Smits (not verified) - Fri, 2020-12-31 15:31.

Tus Tested! BenQ...

This is exactly what newbies need: how and why things work well (or don't work at all!). I'm using a different CD RWR and have had the same experiences, but it was just blind luck.

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2020-12-30 14:08.

LG GSA-4081B DVD burner

This fall l bought an LG DVD burner GSA-4081B and it works like charm. I use it with SimplyMepis and ProMepis.


Wayne Whalen (not verified) - Thu, 2020-12-30 15:03.

Thanks (twice over)

Hi there.
First, in August 04 I bought Marcel's book "Moving to Linux" and that did it for me: I DID!

Secondly, I came across this site and what do you know? Here's me looking for a DVD burner and here's Marcel reviewing his new toy - a DVD burner, and in Mandrake too.

Hence the heading. Thanks twice over.

Patrick (not verified) - Sun, 2021-01-02 05:53.


I guess the thing that chaps my a** more than anything else is the lack of support for Linux. Yes, with kb3 the benq works great and I am grateful for that but being stuck without an option to upgrade firmware sux. Now...Lacie is going to begin a FULL support of linux, firmware, software...the whole nine yards and will be optimized for use with k3b. How cool is that? As good as the benq works with my PCLinuxOS machines, I am afraid Lacie.com will get all of my companies business from now on. And no, I don't care how much it costs. If they support Linux, I support them. Hey Printer Manufacturers, you paying attention?


helios (not verified) - M - , 2020-05-23 14:06.