Which DVD Drive?

Hey all,

Thinking about purchasing a DVD burner. The first and only one I ever bought was years ago and it was a DVD-RAM. Now there's more formats and drives available. I know the functionality I want but which drive/brand to go with that has all that is another story.

Basically I want a multi-format drive. One that supports all the formats. I want to be able to read/write DVD-RAM disks for backup purposes. I want to be able to read/write the DVD-RW and DVD+RW and those family of formats for more compatibility for sharing purposes and such.

So what drive do you guys recommend? I usually go with Plextor drives since I have had good luck with them for years but I'm open for suggestions on this.

I realize there are other threads on this and I've looked them over. What I'd also like besides drive recommendations that support multiple formats is your thoughts on the formats themselves.

I have always thought DVD-RAM was the best format for backups mainly because of the large amount of storage space. But what about price/per gig ratio? Are one of the other formats better and cheaper?

So confusing. Basically what I'll be using this drive for are:

Data Backups (Ghost Images, Downloaded appliations and other multi-media files)
DVD Movies (May capture some stuff and want to create a DVD of it that will play most DVD Players)

That's mainly it. I have a 24x Plextor CD Writer so I'm not really looking for that although if it burns CDs and such really well I may replace the Plextor as I'm running out of IDE channels :)
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
23 answers Last reply
More about which drive
  1. I'd say Plextor PX-708A is the best dvd-burner in the market.
  2. I'm leaning towards that one as well. I'm a long time Plextor user and have NEVER had a problem with any of them. I guess the only thing left is to read more on it. I read a blurb but I don't recall what formats it supports and how well.

    Also, I'm still not sure if the DVD-RAM format is the best (greatest capacity / cost effective) for making my backups. So if a drive, like this Plextor, doesn't support DVD-RAM should I let that stop me from considering it.

    In other words, how much should support for that format concern me. Heh I have some old DVD-RAM disks from my old drive. I've forgotten what was on em even.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  3. Damn, you got me there, good point though. I actually forgot that 708A model did not support DVD-RAM, DVD-RAM is nice and sure is a luxury but you think it's really required? And I am not sure how things are in the US, but in Europe DVD-Ram isn't so much spread or used.....And even if it is used, it's expensive as hell...but still we have no idea how it will turn out in the future, maybe dvd-ram's gonna be the bomb and every other format's gonna bail? We'll never know! But for now I think the plextor 708a would be a nice choice , at least for me.
  4. As far as I know, DVD-RAM never got really popular and is incompatible with a ton of things. The only purpose I would have for using that format is personal backups. But I will use one of the other more compatible formats if I can get similar capacity and for a good price/gig ratio.

    I don't really know the current state of things. How DVD-RAM media prices compare to DVD-RW or DVD+RW media and how much can I store on a standard DVD-RW or DVD+RW. I remember that double sided DVD-RAM discs could hold something like 9 gigs or so? It's been a while and I'm still searching.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  5. I believe there are several versions of the DVD-RAM format. They go something like this:
    Single sided, Single layer : 4.7 GB
    Double sided, Single layer : 9.4 GB(4.7x 2 sides)
    Single sided, Double layer : 9.4 GB(4.7 x 2 layers)
    Double Sided, Double layer : 18.4 GB(9.4x 2 layers)

    The first version is pretty much a typical DVD-R version or a RW one. The size of the media could be 5.2 too though, it varies from time to time I think. Might even be 2.7 GB if you wanna pay less or need less space for yourself.

    Personally, I never see any DVD-RAM media around and I think there's going to be somewhat a limitation on the formats of the DVDs and DVD-RAM will be a goner. DVD-R's are gonna be converted into DVD-RAM's in size and so on and I'd guess that DVD-R's are going to replace DVD-RAM's sooner or later. So I think we should be aiming for the 708A, ya think? I'm still a little confused about it but it's most likely going to be the PX-708A for me. 8x DVD-R(+) is simply handy, I just hope there's going to be more 8x media .
  6. Yup that's what I'm going for now. That plextor you mentioned will be my next DVD burner unless I hear of something even better. The reviews that I read (From Anandtech) seem good.

    DVD-RAMs were never popular like I said so I'm not going to make it a buying point any more and without that as a criteria, the Plextor drive becomes the one I'll most likely get. Now to price it out hehe.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  7. ouch I just called a big comp. store here and they said the px-708a model would be sold for 335+tax which will equal to an amount of 390 dollars or something...Sigh, I need to find a us/euro store, where I can order from, since the price is only $250-260...know any reliable online stores w/ international shipping? or else I'll have to get an LG 4040B which I don't want....must get 708A....oh btw is antarescomputinginc.com safe?
  8. Hello,

    Your discussion is full of interst.
    For DVD-RAM issue, it's too expensive to be popular at this moment compared to DVD+R/RW & DVD-R/RW media, furthermore I heard that DVD-RAM shaped as a caddy type. Although LG/Hitachi GSA-4040B type supports for DVD-RAM, it supports only tray type of DVD-RAM which is less popular than caddy type of media.

    So, in my opinion, the more important decision point is DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW. In the early of this year, they said that DVD-R/RW is more popular and more compatible with many DVD related electronics. However, recently things has changed. The price of DVD+R/RW media is getting down, and several vendors like Lite-On & Plextor has started to support DVD+R/RW strongly. This situation makes me confused.

    I'd like to hear your opinion.
  9. Hehe, I am another confused one. I called many dvd-media shops here and DVD-R(+) media costs like a lot. While a - DVD-R media price varies from a dollar to 2. The + DVD-R media prices here are starting from 3-4 dollars and they go up to 6. So it really is a hard call. I might be aiming for the LG-4040B since DVD-R+ is 3-4 times more expensive than the - format. So I wonder if the PX-708A is worth my bucks. I'd rather burn my dvd's on dvd-ram rather than paying so much for the dvd-r(+) media
  10. Don't know anything about international shipping. I'm in the US and never had to send a package outside of it.

    The store I will be buying mine from is newegg. I also saw that they have the All in wonder 9800 pro for $385. I JUST upgraded to an All in Wonder 9700 Pro because the prices I'd seen all over were too high. Guess what I'm gonna do :)

    Ordering both things and once that graphics card gets here and is in my machine and working, I'll take the AIW 9700 Pro back. Having a local store to return it too is nice though but not THAT nice hehe.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  11. oh by the way, I got an LG-4040B just because it supports ALL available formats and it was like 80 dollars cheaper than the plextor
  12. Aye it's a nice drive but it doesn't support the DVD-RAM in the protective cartridge and that's the ones I used for backups and the ones that have the huge capacity I believe.

    But still it looks like a good bang for your buck. Let me know how it works for ya. I've read that it has some software compatibility issues as in some software doesn't work well with it and so forth.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  13. I bought the Plextor PX-708A. Supports all formats except the DVD-RAM. I decided that the DVD-RAM wasn't popular enough for me to worry about and wasn't cheap enough for me to use to make backups efficiently.

    If I were to get a drive later that supported the DVD-RAM format it would be because

    1) The media was priced as low or lower than the other media.
    2) The drive supported the cartrdige type DVD-RAMs.

    I actually already have a DVD-RAM drive that's years old. Was made by Creative Labs. It still works but I don't have it installed right now.

    But who knows, right now I have a Plextor CD-Rewriter. I will ADD the PX-708A so that I have both drives. Nice for CD Copies and such. But later, if the above happens, I may replace the CD-Rewriter with a DVD-Writer that supports cartridge type DVD-RAM. Then I'd have two drives that, between them, supported all the known formats.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  14. I guess it'll depend on what you plan to burn most. Since that drive supports all the formats you're covered well. The DVD-RAM disks, last I checked, were quite expensive but that was years ago and also were the cartridge type which were double the capacity of the single type.

    The only thing the DVD-RAM format had over the others to me was the large capacity with their cartridge media. So it was suitable for personal backups only as far as I was concerned.

    Any DVD-RAM drive I bought would HAVE to support the cartridiges.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  15. I'm not sure what you exactly mean by cartridges but it works fine burning those 9.4 GB DVD-RAM media although they are like 10-15 bucks for one
  16. Well, when DVD-RAM drives first came out the highest capacity media they had was double sided 5.2 Gig Re-writable discs. These came in a cartridge and could not be removed from the cartridge. This is what I used to use and have 4 of em still laying around. Take a look at them here:


    On that last link that is the actually brand that I bought. Notice the date of that press release.

    I did not keep up with the times and I did some research and now they have 9.4 Gig DVD-RAM media with no need for that cartridge. I didn't know they'd progressed so far.

    So actually that drive might be a good addition to my system if I can get the money. I can have the Plextor and the drive you bought. Use that one for when I want to make personal backups and don't need to share with anyone.

    I don't know how much those 9.4 Gig discs cost vs the 4.3 or so Gig ones for the other formats though. For personal backups I prefer to use less discs if possible so we'll see.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  17. Have you looked at the <A HREF="http://www.iomega.com/na/products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT<>prd_id=8065905&FOLDER<>folder_id=6981345&ASSORTMENT<>ast_id=63191&bmUID=1065061726163" target="_new">Iomega Super DVD Writer</A>

    <b><font color=purple>Listing your system specs, will greatly aid us, in being able to help you solve your problem.</font color=purple></b>
  18. No I hadn't seen that drive but me and Iomega have issues. Ever since they screwed me over with the Buz and with the Jaz Drive I bought I refuse to buy stuff from them.

    I already bought the Plextor PX-708A and like it so far. I will eventually replace my CD Writer. I decided not to worry about the not so popular DVD-RAM format so drives that support all the formats aren't as important to me.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  19. Thats cool, its weird how things work out for people, I've had no trouble with Iomega, but Pioneer for me was a similar disaster to yours, wouldn't it be great if we could buy a pair of glasses that when we looked at a product, it would tell you whether the product would last or not, if a person could invent that, they'd be multi-billionaires.

    <b><font color=purple>Listing your system specs, will greatly aid us, in being able to help you solve your problem.</font color=purple></b>
  20. LOL yeah that would be great. I saw a wishlist for similar products to detect decent men/women. Heh was on some comedy show.

    But anyway who knows. I had a similar issue with ATI but I gave them another chance and have been quite happy with my AIW 9800 Pro.

    <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=1683" target="_new">My Awesome Rig</A>
  21. I have read a few posts about the lg 4040b and I think you ought to get it. I'm impressed with the features and the price (140$ on mwave).

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    "There is no magic server pixie dust."
  22. Marauder,

    I've been researching the LG 4040B, have you come accross any issues with it? I know it can do almost anything you ask it, well, besides make the damn eggs the morning. I am really looking into this model, does your system read the buffer at 2, 4 or 8? On some reviews, it states it can do 8 with the firmware upgrade. Any issues playing burned DVD's in any player that you've tried?
    I would appreciate any information you could provide as a tech's POV. Thanks man.


    Trying to get there, but seems to be no shortcut!
  23. i got the plextor 708a and haven't made a coaster yet... thats a good thing. After reading all the reviews and having a plextor before it was not a problem. and newegg had a 1 day sale and i got it for 200 plus free shipping can't beat that.

    when all is said and done, what you've done for your neighbor is most important
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