June 22, 2006

Buying Blank Media

Now that most computers come standard with a disc burner choosing the correct media to use for burning is important. The type of burner you chose when purchasing your computer will impact your choice of media. Lower end computers generally ship with CD-RW/DVD drives. These units are capable of writing to CD-R and CD-RW media but not DVD’s. CD-R’s can hold around 700Mb of data and are compatible with CD Players. Higher end computers now come with DVD-RW drives – these drives are capable of writing to DVD media and can hold a maximum of 4.7Gb. Some DVD-RW drives also come as DL (Double Layer) meaning you can write 4.7Gb of data to each side of the DVD. This effectively doubles your storage capacity.

Some media is ‘write’ once ‘read’ many (R) and others are ‘write’ many ‘read’ many (RW). RW media is always more expensive then R media – typically 40% more, so deciding on the purpose of the burn is important. If you want to keep re-writing data on to the same disk you’ll need to choose RW. If you just want to archive data you’ll only need R media. If you plan to use your burnt DVD’s in consumer players always use DVD-R’s not RW discs.

The brand of media and storage are also critical. Better brands are more expensive however the disks are more durable and last longer. Again, you’ll need to determine how critical the data is that you are burning. If your disks are stored in a case in a cool dark place they will last longer. Also, try to limit the amount you use the disk as frequently ejecting a disk from a drive can cause scratching to the disks surface and ultimately make it unusable.

When buying blank media you’ll also need to decide about buying in bulk. For example, if you purchase 50 blank DVD-R’s on a spindle you’ll pay around 0.70c per DVD. If you buy them in a 5 pack expect to pay $1.00 per DVD. Individually DVD-R’s can cost $2.50. DL media is more expensive at around $6.00 per disk.