The NEC has riplocks where as the Sony (rebadged Lite-On) doesn't. You can get a patched firmware (check www.cdfreaks.com) for the NEC to disable the riplocks and then it should read as fast as the Sony.
After more than three weeks with my XPS-2, I can agree with the points about the Sony ripping/reading media more quicker than the NEC and aborting reads because of a scratch. I also think the burner I have in my XPS is more quiet than my NEC one (that thing sounds like there is a laser light show going on in the drive).
My only gripe is the write speeds. I wish there was a list of DVD media that definitely give you 8X write speeds, as I can only get 4X (utilizing Nero) and 2.4X (utilizing Alcohol) using Dynex DVD+R.
Just a quick update to my post above (#20)... Using the Sony drive, I have tried Sony DVD+R 8X media, it maxed out at 6.35X just like TDK DVD-R 8X medias. I have also tried Verbatim DVD-R 16X. It was pathetic! It maxed at 2.2X which is even worse than Fujifilm DVD-R 8X (4.35X). I have burned 3 Verbatims, all maxed out at around the same 2.2X speed. I will reinstall the NEC tomorrow and try the same tests with the Sony and Verbatim medias.
i have the Sony and usin' the new firmware, i burned a Memorex DVD+R DL last week (usin' DVD Fab Gold for the rip and burn, i usually use Fab to rip and Nero Recode to burn but it didn't want to do it) and it was a flawless copy...
just wish DVD-R DL would come out, it's 4x and the +r DL is 2.4...
btw, it was NCAA March Madness... just LOVE that championship game...
Just another update to my posts (20 and 26) above. I have reinstalled the NEC to my XPS2 and tried Verbatim (DVD-R 16X) and Sony (DVD+R 8X) medias. Both actually maxed at 8X! However, I have decided to send the NEC back and keep the Sony. At this point, I'm willing to sacrifice some burn speed for faster read/rip speed and more reliability in reading scratched discs. This is just my personal experience/preference so NEC owners need not take offense. I'm sure your NEC burners are much better than the NEC that Dell Support sent me ; )
Anyway, I'll just hope that future firmware releases for the Sony will improve the burn speed. For now, I'll stick with TDK and Sony medias and deal with the 6.35X max burn speed.
Well I've been playing with my Sony burner, and compared to my NEC 6500, it's much, much better. It's quieter and reads media more consistently than my NEC. I burned off a DVD on my NEC 6500, and the NEC itself reported errors in the burn after verifying it. Heck, even my desktop NEC 3520 16x DVD+-DL drive had trouble copying the files off. The Sony drive just reads it like a champ. I'd gotten tired of all the NEC read inconsistencies so this is really a nice treat.