DVD writer advice ...

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Looking to buy my first DVD writer for the PC. It's a old PC built in 1999
(supplied by Tiny), 128MB RAM PIII 450 processor. Hopefully I can use a DVD
writer with this low spec machine??

Wondering if someone can offer any recommendations on what to buy please?

Many thanks.

Ian Edmont.

Re: DVD writer advice ...

On Sun, 1 Jan 2006 13:11:10 -0000, "Ian Edmont"

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The primary requirement would be that the hard drive be fast
enough.  If you have a semi-modern hard drive already that's
sufficient, but if not you may have trouble.  Otherwise the
age of the machine is not an issue, except perhaps that with
only 128MB of memory, your system might be trying to access
the hard drive for virtual memory if you're running any
newer OS such as Win2K or XP, though 2K less of a problem at
the 128MB point than XP if you left the system alone while
making DVDs.

Of course this is also under the presumption that you will
not be trying to use the system simultaneous to burning
discs, in which case it could have a lot do with exactly
what youre doing, both from the standpoint of CPU and memory
load AND I/O to the hard drive.  

As for models, generally the newer ones, check your favorite
vendor for a Benq or NEC.  The NEC has better media
compatibility but the Benq reads marginal discs better, as
least so I've heard, I have not put them side-by-side and
tried same disc reading and writing in both.

Re: DVD writer advice ...

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Thanks for the information Kony. Fairly modern hard drive and running Win2K.

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No, I never carry out other tasks with the machine when burning discs. In
fact I also try to burn at a slower speed than the max to prevent bad burns!

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Just been looking at Ebuyer. Two particular models stand out ... the NEC
ND3550A and the LG GSA-4167.

Any thoughts?

Ian Edmont.

Re: DVD writer advice ...

On Sun, 1 Jan 2006 14:11:35 -0000, "Ian Edmont"

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Taiyo Yuden 8x will burn properly at 8x.

16x should be burned at a lower rate.

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Check out Directron.com and Newegg.com for the NEC 3550. $40.

NEC burners have the widest following, so you will always have
support. Check out CDFreaks for particulars.

Use TY 8x +R.


Re: DVD writer advice ...

On Sun, 1 Jan 2006 14:11:35 -0000, "Ian Edmont"

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Get the NEC then update the firmware.

Re: DVD writer advice ...

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The NEC 3550 (latest version, allegedly Riplock free) prefers +R if
you want prettier quality scans. But it is known that the NEC drives
do not work well with scanning tests yet it has nothing to do with
actual quality of the burns. If you must use a scan test - CD-DVD
Speed for example - pay attention only to PIF. BenQ 1640 is the latest
darling but I believe it is more for experimenters.

Whatever you do, use only Taiyo Yuden discs.


All the rest are pure crap or a crap shoot. Not only do you want to
avoid coasters, but you want longevity. Also, be sure to run Verify -
you will catch coasters in the making.

Some DVD experts swear by 8x TY burned at 8x. These people recommend
burning 16x TY at either 12x or 8x.

Re: DVD writer advice ...

It is somewhat unlikely that that low of a speced machine can successfully
run a DVD writer.  I believe most DVD writers require a MINIMUM of a 500 MHz
CPU and 256 MB RAM.


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Re: DVD writer advice ...

Here's a quick guide to buying a DVD writer. Please consider these
factors before buying one :)

1) Double the layers, double the capacity
Double-layer technology brings big benefits to DVD storage. About 4GB

The only writers and media to support this technology so far have come
from the +R camp. The write-once discs hold 8.5GB of data, but may only
be written to at speeds much slower than their single-side
counterparts. Double-layer compatibility is usually indicated by the
letters "DL" following the drive or disc type. The price tags for these
advanced drives and media may also be a little longer, too.

Double-layer technology is not as recent a development as it may seem.
Commercial DVD-ROM discs, such as those used to distribute movies, have
long used double-layer technology. Therefore, any double-layer disc you
record should be able to be read by most DVD-ROM players.

2) DVD writer speeds
The speed with which DVD writers write to media varies, and depends on
both the standard and the product you select. You will need to check
the box of the specific product for this information. Currently 16x is
the average speed for writing to any type of write-once media, while 4x
is the most average rewrite speed. Either disc type can be read at 12x.

DVD+RW writers maintain the fastest rewrite times when compared to the
other standards, while DVD-RAM writers record the slowest speeds for
writing to disc.

PC World tests were based on how long it took to copy 1.45GB of data
from the hard drive to a DVD disc. Two samples of DVD+RW writers took
between nine and 12 minutes to copy this amount of information to
DVD+RW discs. DVD-RW writers ran the second best times, taking around
11 minutes to copy the same amount of information onto DVD-R discs.
However, when writing to its own DVD-RW media,

The DVD-RAM writer was the slowest performer, taking twice as long as
its counterparts to write 1.45GB of data to both DVD-RAM and DVD-R

3) Price
DVD writers vary in price depending on the quality of the equipment and
whether it is an internal or external drive. Drive prices start around
$100 (internal) and $200 (external). While there isn't a large price
difference between the DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM drives, there are
differences in the cost of media used by each, which may affect your

4) DVD media
* DVD-RAM: DVD-RAM discs come in two types of cartridges. Type 1 is a
non-removable disc, and Type 2 a slightly more expensive cartridge from
which users can remove the internal disc. A total of four sizes are
available across these two forms: 2.6GB, 4.7GB, 5.2GB and 9.4GB.
DVD-RAM media are easily the most expensive of the standards, with
prices starting at just over $10 a disc.
* DVD-RW: DVD-RW media tend to be significantly cheaper than their RAM
competitors. DVD-RW media come in two types: Authoring, for
professional use, and General, a less-expensive consumer media.
* DVD+RW discs, like DVD-RW, are available in 4.7GB format for about
the same price.
* DVD-R and DVD+R: The most popular of the media types are also the
cheapest. There are two types of -R disc available: data (for PC use
and one-time video recording only) and authoring discs, designed to be
used to record video, audio and multimedia imaging for professional
content developers and software producers. DVD+R media are sold as one
general use type.

You shouldn't pay more than a couple of dollars for one -R or +R
general use disc. Once again, these disc types hold 4.7GB and are
produced by a range of manufacturers.

5) Mt Rainier support
Mt. Rainier, also known as EasyWrite, allows an optical disc to be used
just like a floppy disk. That is, being able to read from and write to
the disc without special burning software. It differs from traditional
packet writing software in that it performs most of the tasks (such as
background formatting and handling defect management) in the hardware
of the drive itself.

Few drives will have Mt Rainier support built-in, until the technology
is included as a standard part of the next Windows release, Vista
(formerly code-named Longhorn). Mt Rainier is available for DVD+RW

6) Authoring & editing software
Whether you're writing to the + or - standard, there's a good chance
you'll be able to edit your favourite digital camera footage on the PC,
burn it to disc, and then view it in your DVD player -- complete with
interactive menus.

To do this, you need DVD authoring software. This is often sold with
DVD writers.

Authoring software not only provides the tools to edit your video
footage, it also creates the indexing system at the front of the disc,
which the player needs in order to read the information stored on it.
Without this indexing system, the player will most likely be unable to
read the information on the disc. In short, authoring software gets
your finished video (or data) onto disc.

Authoring software also has the ability to encode your video footage in
either lower or higher quality (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2) formats. Professional
authoring packages take this technology much farther, and offer the
ability to create multiple soundtracks and camera angles, add subtitles
and surround sound. There are many DVD editing software programs
available, from entry-level products to professional editing tools.

The options aren't so bright in copying commercial DVD discs with a DVD
writer. You can make copies of commercial DVDs, so long as they don't
have copy protection and you've got sufficient space on your disc (most
DVD videos use around 8.4GB on a dual-layer disc; more than the amount
of space offered on most general purpose DVD media). Remember though,
duplicating copy-protected commercial DVDs is usually illegal.

7) Buffer size
A buffer is a data area shared by hardware devices or program processes
that operate at different speeds or with different sets of priorities.
The buffer allows each device or process to operate without being held
up by the other.

Basically, the rule of thumb with buffer size is the bigger the better.
The buffer size in most DVD writers is commonly 2MB.

You may also want to read this article for more information:

Gary Hendricks

Re: DVD writer advice ...

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Thanks to all for the excellent information. Much appreciated.

Ian Edmont.

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