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Achieving Reliable Dvd-r Burning For Multiple Gb Mac Data


hen3ry
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Folks:

 

Toast 10.0.01 on MacOS 10.5.6 Dual Intel

DVD Burners: Internal Matsushita DVD-R UJ-85J , External LG GE20 LU10

 

The stock Apple solution didn't work: Even burning at 1X on the standard internal drive was unreliable: frequent verify errors occurred. Seemed sensitive to DVD brand but results were not clear. Besides that: no support for spanning DVDs

 

So I bought Toast Titanium and the external LG drive.

 

First results with Toast and the original, internal drive were discouraging: Not only did a hardware error occur, but Toast went nuts and kept trying to verify the disk, even though I force-quit Toast. It continued until I rebooted.

 

On either drive, with Sony media Toast seemed unable to operate at anywhere near the rated speeds of the drive or media. Toast offered me only the lowest speed values. Average speeds of 1x or 2x are not enough.

 

Finally, I got reasonable results using the LG drive and HP DVD-R 16X media: Toast offered me up to 48X, I picked "best" and the average speed was around 14X.

 

My questions:

 

1. Would a different media type,one other than DVD-R, have any advantages?

 

2. Does the age of the media (brand-new versus many months old) have any effect?

 

3. Is there a reason to avoid reading burn data from an external USB-2 drive? I'm worried about data underflow, but I have no idea how to evaluate the consistency of data rates from an external drive.

 

4. To reduce the frequency of failed burns, is it helpful to limit the work being done on the Mac at the same time? Noticeably better results from dedicating a computer to burning?

 

5. Do faster burns produce higher burn failure rates only? Is there any effect on the longevity of the DVD produced?

 

6. Any other pointers to achieve reasonably fast burns with minimal burn failures?

 

TIA,

 

Henry

 

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My questions:

 

1. Would a different media type,one other than DVD-R, have any advantages?

It is an issue of the media and the drive's firmware. Most drive manufacturers issue firmware updates to better support more and newer firmware. One brand that is always supported is Verbatim. Check if a firmware update is available for your drive. You also can check user reports on the specific media you are using. Insert a disc and choose Disc Info from the Recorder menu in Toast. There will be a link in the window that appears to a site where users submit reports on specific media forumlations.

 

2. Does the age of the media (brand-new versus many months old) have any effect?

It can matter. Also, older media has lower maximum burn speeds. What is interesting is how different drives support different speeds with the same discs. Insert a disc in the LG drive. After it is recognized check the speeds that Toast says can be selected for that disc. Do the same thing with the Mac's internal drive and you'll get different results. This is mostly due to the drive's firmware.

 

3. Is there a reason to avoid reading burn data from an external USB-2 drive? I'm worried about data underflow, but I have no idea how to evaluate the consistency of data rates from an external drive.

There should be any problem. However, if you are concerned choose Save as Disc Image and then burn the disc image using the Image File setting in the Copy window.

 

4. To reduce the frequency of failed burns, is it helpful to limit the work being done on the Mac at the same time? Noticeably better results from dedicating a computer to burning?

If your Mac has plenty of RAM there should be no problem. I haven't experienced a failed burn in years. It may be worthwhile to quit and reopen Toast between different projects. Toast has a tendency to gobble up increasing amounts of RAM.

 

5. Do faster burns produce higher burn failure rates only? Is there any effect on the longevity of the DVD produced?

Faster burns can be less reliable.

 

6. Any other pointers to achieve reasonably fast burns with minimal burn failures?

Keep everything clean. Other than that you may not know that drives burn at varying speeds depending on how close the burn is to the center of the disc. The burn begins at the center at a slow speed and then increases its speed as it nears the outer edge. You'll never burn a 16X-rated disc at 16X because that speed is only attained near the end of the burn.

 

The burn speed is not officially selectable until after the disc is inserted and recognized. You probably cannot choose to burn a recently manufactured DVD slower than 4X.

 

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tsantee:

 

Thanks for your response. (Sorry, I'm new to this environment, haven't figured out how to quote yet, and I'm too busy to learn at the moment.)

 

1a) Unfortunately LG has not issued any Firmware updates for this burner, though it is difficult to tell -- I haven't seen such a poor support website for many years.

 

1b) Wow, that website, http://www.videohelp.com/dvd, is more than I ever wanted to know. But up to know, there was a lot of information I didn't seem to be able to find. Cool!

 

2. Yeah, I can imagine that each drive evaluates exactly the media it sees and sets its parameters accordingly. If that's so, I wouldn't be surprised if the actual burn parameters are adjusted on the fly, for example, if older media needs more of a zap than new media to get the job done.

 

3. Thanks! I guess if there is ever an underflow, Toast will let me know and I'll make a disk image on the hard disk. But it hasn't happened yet. So far, so good.

 

4. a) I suppose it is superstitious to believe that user tasks could interfere with burning. After all, a MacOS machine has dozens of tasks going on even if the user isn't doing anything at all.

 

4. B) It's a bit scary that you recommend quitting and restarting Toast between projects. "Toast has a tendency to gobble up increasing amounts of RAM" would seem to indicate that Toast is guilty of memory leaks, a serious issue.

 

5. I didn't make myself clear when I asked my question. I'll try again: Do the effects of burning at higher rates only occur at burn time? That is, too high a burn rate produces a coaster? Or could burning at too higher rate produce a disk that degrades faster or sooner over time, months or years?

 

6. a) When you say, "keep everything clean" do you mean physically (like don't eat and spit sunflower seeds while burning) or logically?

 

6. B) I can see the moment-to-moment burn speed vary on Toast's display, but I didn't connect the dots about the overall radial variation. Hmmm, "16X" seems to be a VERY loose parameter. I guess I'll choose "best" and hope Toast will Do The Right Thing.

 

Thanks,

 

Henry

 

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I don't know if the memory leaks issue is present in Toast 10 but there were problems with previous versions. My advice about quitting between projects is overly conservative, but if you were doing multiple projects requiring to do a lot of encoding then at least choose Save as Disc Image so you won't have to start over from scratch if a burn fails.

 

"Keep everything clean" is referring to dust and smudges.

 

"Best" recording speed is the fastest available speed that the drive reports after checking the media.

 

I don't know if burning at a faster speed can result in a disc that degrades faster over time. The quality of media seems to be a greater concern than burn speed. My brother backed up a lot of his video files to cheap media and found that most of the discs are unmountable or unreadable a few years later. I was able to recover most of them after a lot of work but a couple would need to have been sent to a professional data recovery lab.

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tsantee:

 

Thanks for your response:

 

I don't know if the memory leaks issue is present in Toast 10 but there were problems with previous versions. My advice about quitting between projects is overly conservative, but if you were doing multiple projects requiring to do a lot of encoding then at least choose Save as Disc Image so you won't have to start over from scratch if a burn fails.

 

I hope you are right. Memory leaks are not acceptable in a mature commercial product.

 

Nothing wrong with conservative.

 

I'm not doing any projects with encoding and I see none on the horizon, so have little to lose by not making disk images. When I learn more about what encoding is all about that might change.

 

"Keep everything clean" is referring to dust and smudges.

 

Thanks! That I do already, short of having a clean-room environment. I treat DVDs as very delicate and sensitive.

 

"Best" recording speed is the fastest available speed that the drive reports after checking the media.

 

I don't know if burning at a faster speed can result in a disc that degrades faster over time. The quality of media seems to be a greater concern than burn speed. My brother backed up a lot of his video files to cheap media and found that most of the discs are unmountable or unreadable a few years later. I was able to recover most of them after a lot of work but a couple would need to have been sent to a professional data recovery lab.

 

Right, it seems Toast gets an idea from the media about the optimum overall burning speed and apparently does some adjustments of the speed it attempts along the way. That seems to be a great improvement over having the user pick a speed in the, ummm, "standard" burning path.

 

BTW, I've tried my Sony media now, in addition to the HP DVD-R's, and I'm pleased to report that the LG burner has performed flawless with those, too. Excellent!

 

I think we're done with these issues. Thanks for your help!

 

Henry

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