Accu DVD's not so "Accurate"
Got a cake of 25--silver top, purple bottoms with cases, $30.00. Scan with no mfg. ID code, only as "LD" and my A04 defaults to 1X only regardless of what firmware I've tried.
Primo was able to snap off my first 5 from the cake no problem at 2X (they passed init, so it stayed at 2X--FFX burned in about 30 minutes, so it wasn't an oversight), then they started to fail. I lost 2 on movies, and one on Onimusha 2 at 2X attempt about midway through the burning. I've taken to running a "Test then burn" with 2X, and have had to revert back to a 1X burn for Data, Movie, and PS2 DVD's with my last 8 burns.
I guess these are cheap...for a reason ($1.20 each with DVD case, no shipping). Don't be mislead by the claims at the websites selling these. They are only confirmed to be successful with the Sony drives with a specific firmware at 2X. The compatability with the other drives is not guaranteed at 2X--only 1X. (duh....huh....) Maybe it is different with an A03 or 105 drive, but as for the A04--it has been best for me to burn these Accu silvers at only 1X. (Guess I shoulda' gone with that A03, eh Balto?...hehe)
I would not recommend these for PS2 backups unless you are strapped for cash and don't mind waiting longer to burn and the occasional hickup during loading or video streaming. DO NOT try these with streaming/transitioning games (GTA, FFX, LOTR: 2 Towers) unless you don't mind jerky FMV and SSSLLLOWW scene transitions. No matter how I burned Ice Age, the Features disc would hesitate for as long as 45 seconds switching from chapter to chapter (and b/t menus) on the features disc--my certified 2X's played just like the originals with a straight rip via Smartripper and data burn via Primo at 2X. I guess that's why we pay 20 cents more per disk for them.....
Finally Got AWccu's to 2X on A04
OK, it took a while, but I finally got my firmware back to an earlier version that seems to work with these disks....but it was a bit tricky. Pioneer put a lock on the firmwares after 1.32, preventing you from going to an earlier firmware (without 4X media bug fix) to prevent potential drive failures with 4X media. Fortunately, some guys found ways around this lock to allow you to move freely among most of the earlier versions. To get a comprehensive list of all firmwares and hacks for this drive, check out this site:
They've got a good bit of stuff on several drives. They put up some pretty good info on each firmware as well, you just need to read up on them before you try to update anything. I thought I was going to be stuck with my post 1.31 firmware for good--until I scrolled down towards the end of page 2 of the 104 firmware page and actually read the details on the downgrading hacks. I had linked to this page from somewhere else, and was just running the utilities without matching up the right firmwares--and they kept failing to update properly.
There are two versions of a downgrading hack out there. One is for version 1.33 firmware, and the other is for version 1.40. Dummy me had been using what I thought was the latest release, which in fact was the 1.33 version downgrade. The two versions were released only 2 days apart, and I had been linked to the older one from a forum posting. Make sure you get the right hack(s) for the firmware you currently have loaded.
Ultimately, what is needed is the hacked up 1.31 version firmware, supporting 2X for all media. There are several 1.31's out there. One official and 2 hacks are listed on this site. One is just 2X for all media, the other has Region Free patching (RPC1). They both have identical date/time stamps and fileszes on thier files, so I can't tell which one I ultimately loaded. I think it was the 2X for All patch. I was having trouble getting the RPC1 patched firmwares to load since I was stuck on the 1.32 release, which prevented any earlier release from being loaded. Try the 2X for all first, unless you desire region free patching on your PC drive. I always hack the ifo during my Smartripper extraction to the hard drive anyway, and don't have any imports, so RPC1 is a mute issue for me.
The tricky part is knowing where you are, and where you want to go. If you are at a version before 1.31, all you have to do is load the 1.31 version straight up. If you get the wrong 1.31, you won't be able to go to another 1.31 without going back to an earlier version, or going to a newer version and using the hacked update files to go back to a different 1.31 version.
Confused? It can be. I was having no luck going back to the 1.20 stock fw, since I had goofed and gone to 1.32, 1.33, 1.33 hacked, 1.40....and so on. Ulimately, I had managed to get back to 1.32 somehow and given up--then I noticed there were 2 upgdvdhack files out there. I had been using the 1.33 which seems to be plagued with sketchy success. So, this morning, I grabbed the newer release labeled "A04 HACKED UPGDVDHACK" here:
This seems to be the one to use. I upgraded to the official 1.40 release (from the pioneer website--no hacks). Unzipped my hacked 1.31 fw to a folder and then unzipped the A04 Hacked UPGDVDHACK into this same folder. Run this upgdvdhack and go grab a bite to eat. It will start searching your firmware to find the key to unlock it, then force the 1.31 downgrade. The process can take a while--about 20 minutes to unlock mine. It can be run from inside Win98SE, and it is recommended the drive be Master on the Secondary IDE from your motherboard. Mine was hooked up to the secondary on my Promise Ultra 100 PCI add in controller as Master, and it worked fine. If it doesn't get recognized in your system, shut down and move the cables so it is on the mboard's IDE2 configured as Master by itself and run the utilities from a safe DOS boot (ie. Win98 ERU boot disk, hold F5 to boot in safe mode). This way you don't monkey up your drive assignments and settings in Windows. I hate having to go back and reselect drive letters and DMA settings, rebooting......pain in the @$$.
Anyway, you can get these Accu's to work at 2X on an A04 with the 1.31 2X hacked firmware--the trick is getting it loaded. I've been comparing the load times with a 2X burn vs. a 1X burn of the Ice Age NTSC Bonus disk, and they are almost identical. I chose this to compare because it's been having poor load times on this media. My other movies and my FFX dupe seem to be loading fine (FFX was the first 2X burn with my 1.20 stock firmware, other movies were mixed 1X/2X burns across various firmwares--Ice Age is the only one I've burned at 1X on 1.40, 1X on 1.32, and 2X on 1.31 fw's). On my APEX AD-1100W (hacked Macro and Region Free), the 2X loads 4 seconds slower, and a few menus lag a second or 2 behind the 1X burn. However, on my unhacked AD-1500, they both load the same--newer laser unit I guess.
Anyway, it appears the 2X burns will be fine if you have the right firmware--but may run into some lag with more intense games like GTA, LOTR2:2T, etc. that have streaming data/FMV and direct FMV to action transitions. If so, a reburn to 1X may solve the problem. I will continue with the 2X for now until I run into such a problem, and post the experience here. I only have a handful of these left, so I may not run into that problem before I run out. I don't plan on buying anymore of these, I think I'll try the meritline or ritek white tops next since they seem to be more reliable--but those of you who are using these Accu's, please feel free to post your successful 2X configurations for others to see.