Does CDR/ CDRW Media Or 'Write' Speed Make A Difference?
Many users are unaware that the choice of CDR/ CDRW media can affect the results of writing any disc. The reflectivity and quality of the disc can influence the end result, and the media selection can mean the difference between a disc being successfully written or not written at all. In particular, when handling some of the more error-dependent protection schemes with weak sectors, the choice of media can make the difference between the disc working or not working. Higher quality media has a lower error rate, in most cases. We define 'higher quality media' generally as branded media that comes from a reputable major manufacturer. This may be too broad a statement, however, since even some major branded media comes from OEM sources that do not necessarily use the highest quality standards.
We chose Verbatim as our choice for all of the CDR test discs that we burned in our testing. Because we burned so many discs, we had to opt for the 50 pack spindle. Verbatim has been producing media that we have found to reliably give us great results in our testing. TDK was chosen to supply all of the High Speed CDRW discs that we used for testing in this article. We used one disc per drive and fully erased the disc between each test. CDRW media can be very useful for troubleshooting possible problems with your set up before committing the final back up to a CDR disc.
Additionally, media that works well on one CDRW drive may not work well on another. While experimentation will perhaps yield the best results for deciding which media to purchase, in our experience, the use of low-cost or generic media has been problematic and not worth the purported cost savings. We suggest using higher quality, brand name discs when attempting to make back ups, as overall this will yield better results. If you are unwilling to part with the cash for the higher priced media, then you should at least consider using media that is certified or specifically recommended for use in your CDRW drive.
Opinions seem to vary as to whether the speed at which the disc is written is a significant influence on the overall quality and usability of the back up disc. It has been our experience that discs written at slower speeds seem to be slightly more compatible with some CD/ DVD-ROM drives. According to one of the authors of Blindread/ Blindwrite, the speed at which the disc is written shouldn't really matter, provided that you are using quality media that is designated for use in your drive. Notwithstanding that, if your drive is 'temperamental,' as some are, your results may vary.
As we have pointed out previously on the topic of writing CDs, discs that are overburned should be burned at slower speeds. We see no reason to alter that suggestion.
While experimentation with different brands may be the best option for determining which media works best in your setup, it is advisable to take advantage of the fact that these back up programs support RW media and make a few test discs to first check for any compatibility problems. This will not tell you how using a particular CDR media affects the process, but it can provide some additional insight. A factor that can cause problems on some drives is the use of the buffer underrun technology (depending on the protections scheme), so you will want to experiment with this, as well.
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