The laser diode in older drives may be getting weak, they don't last forever. The original DVD burning drives were running the diodes right at their limit to get the fastest burn rate. With age/use the output power falls off rather quickly when they are run this hard. Good burning software does a calibration test to measure the output before each burn then selects a suitable speed to produce a good quality burn. As the diode fades, the burn speeds get slower and slower.
Originally Posted by Ian in Northampton
Exactly! The newer drives have much better laser diodes. My first burner, an NEC 1100, slowed then crapped out after about 50 hours burn time. My Memorex x16 DL drive has twice that time on it and it still does x16 burns.
Mind you, at £20 for a new 16x dual layer drive, I'm not sure why I'm bothering...
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