Slow DVD burning
August 10, 2005 4:37 PM   Subscribe

I have two dvd burners in my computer. One is an old(er) LG that is capable of burning (with the right media) at 4x. Last week, I picked up a new one that is capable of burning at 8x. However, the burn times seem to be the same.

Now, the media I am using is capable of being burned at 8x. In fact, Nero tells me it is burning at 8x, and estimates the burn time at about 8 or 9 minutes for a full (4.7GB) disc. However, it counts down that 8 or 9 minutes and then just keeps burning, and it is taking closer to a half hour.

This is how long it took the old burner to burn things at 4x. Furthermore, I tried burning things at 2x, and got the same result. This happens regardless of the DVD media I am using.

Is there some setting I have wrong? The only thing that looks strange to me is that, when I burn, the buffer level hops around a LOT.

The resulting discs are perfect, but it'd be nice they came out as fast as they are supposed to!

For reference, the new burner is a Pioneer DVR 109. It is capable of going as high as 16x, but I have no 16x blanks. A friend has an identical burner and has no such problems.
posted by synecdoche to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Best answer: This is an ATA (regular IDE) drive, not Serial ATA? If so, my guess is that DMA isn't turned on. Try looking at these instructions for turning DMA on.
posted by darkness at 4:49 PM on August 10, 2005

Response by poster: Aha! It was not. Well, it was for the primary IDE and not the secondary IDE. I'll try a burn again in a little while and see if it works. Thanks!
posted by synecdoche at 5:11 PM on August 10, 2005

synecdoche, you should try your old drive as well, if that did the trick. You'll probably find it's about twice as fast as it used to be, I think a 4x burn should only take about 14 - 15 minutes, depending on the media. Oh, and your 8x media might work at up to 12x or so in the 16x drive, depending on how 'good' the media is.
posted by The Monkey at 5:14 PM on August 10, 2005

If the buffer level is not at a constant 95% - 100% then it means for whatever reason your system is not capable of streaming the data fast enough to the burner and it has to slow down. The DMA suggestion is a good one, but you should also defragment the HD that contains the data. Additionally, you might consider putting the HD and the burner on different interfaces (again assuming parallel ATA and not SATA) if they are currently master/slave on the same one.

That said I think the media matters more than anything else. Try different brands. The burner will do an optical power test when you first start burning and if it doesn't think it is compatible with the media at higher speeds, it will drop back to lower speeds. I know the media says 8X and the drive says 8X but in reality I don't think it's that cut and dry. You really have to experiment to find out what media the drive "likes".
posted by Rhomboid at 5:48 PM on August 10, 2005

A full 4.7 gigs at "8x" (the burn isn't all done at 8x, it starts slow and speeds up) takes about 10 minutes for me.

If you aren't burning a full disc, then the burn starts out slow and runs out of data to write before the speed ramps up and it spends the rest of the time closing the disc, but half and hour seems a little extreme.

Also, are the files that you are burning highly fragmented?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:46 PM on August 10, 2005

If the buffer's jumping around like that it's probably not the media, but the computer feeding the data to the burner. It could be the DMA problem, fragmented files, not enough memory, a number of things. On a good day a 4x burn takes a little less than 15 minutes on my machine.

On a bad day (usually due to lack of free memory in my case) the buffer runs dry a few times during the burn and the burner pauses to let the buffer fill up again. A burn like that might take 20 minutes or so.
posted by hashashin at 10:15 PM on August 10, 2005

Response by poster: I haven't had a chance to test the burn with DMA enabled yet due to my computer being busy doing other things, but hopefully will get to it later tonight. Fragmentation is also a possibility, as I am terribly bad at doing maintenance like that. I keep my computer pretty clean when it comes to spyware and such, but I always neglect the defrag for some reason (probably because when I run it on my dad's older computer it seems to take forever, and so I have some kind of negative association with it, heh heh) .
posted by synecdoche at 11:32 PM on August 10, 2005

Response by poster: I'm thinking it must be fragmentation. I don't have anything else significant running. The computers is an Athlon XP 2000+ (2ghz) with 1 ghz of RAM. I am burning another one now and it is still taking a long time even after I have enabled DMA and rebooted.
posted by synecdoche at 11:34 PM on August 10, 2005

Response by poster: Ach, hang on... I enabled DMA for one of the drives but not the other. I'll try again.
posted by synecdoche at 11:55 PM on August 10, 2005

Response by poster: And the DMA did it. Thanks. I should have thought of that.
posted by synecdoche at 12:09 AM on August 11, 2005

Defrags shouldn't be a pain - the defragger that comes with Windows BLOWS HARD - it's worth it to get O&O's defrag - the difference is a Plutonian night and a Mercurian day.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:43 AM on August 11, 2005

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