Better blank DVDs for long-term storage?
August 15, 2006 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Of blank DVD manufacturers (Memorex,Verbatim, Best Buy's Dynex, etc.), are there any that stand out as better for long-term storage of data?

(I realize other solutions, such as hard drives, may be better long term data backup needs, and I read through this helpful thread But of DVD media, was wondering if any manufacturers/types might be better than others.)
posted by parma to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've read a lot about Taiyo Yuden being of high quality. No personal experience though.
posted by andendau at 10:58 PM on August 15, 2006

I was about to say the same thing, but I believe that applies only to CDs... and honestly it seems a lot of the hype about Taiyo Yuden dates back to the late 1990s.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:08 PM on August 15, 2006

andendau is right. you cant trust the brand names because they always buy different media from different manufacturers and slap their name on it. quality varies widely.

get TYG02s (Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD-Rs). i've never had a bad burn with one of these.
posted by joeblough at 11:09 PM on August 15, 2006

by the way: forum if you want to read all about this garbage...
posted by joeblough at 11:09 PM on August 15, 2006

Also, look for discs made in Japan.
posted by knave at 11:22 PM on August 15, 2006

When looking for the answer to that very question a few months back, I found this.
posted by roomwithaview at 11:37 PM on August 15, 2006

'Made In Japan' in blank-media-land usually means Taiyo Yuden. The cdfreaks people collectively think TYG02s are the best DVD-R for long-term storage (and they're what I use) but there are others who recommend Maxell's higher-grade blanks. It all depends what you mean by 'long term', because there's obviously not been enough time to see how they degrade over more than a couple of years. Nothing beats having several different backups on several different media in several different locations for things you absolutely couldn't bear to lose.

(You can buy unbranded TY discs from lots of online suppliers: I've used for mine.)
posted by holgate at 11:47 PM on August 15, 2006

Here is a very detailed guide as to which media are good and which not. They grade it into 4 levels.

Appologies for a side question - but it may help you with your original answer: Are there any outfits which will allow parma to upload his original content, burn him a long lasting copy on their big expensive machine that he could not possibly afford and mail it back to him?

I am working on the assumption that commercially pressed DVDs will have a longer life than those made at home. There seem to be many businesses set up to duplicate DVDs from a master but I could not find one who would do this type of bespoke production.
posted by rongorongo at 2:03 AM on August 16, 2006

Related tip: I've had some luck burning <4 gb of data each disc and filling up the remaining space with par2 files. that way, if i get or two disc errors i can usually reconstruct the missing file(s). the disadvantage of this is that you really have to zip/rar your files first, as par2 doesn't deal well with directory>
Oh, and burn 2 copies of everything, on different media, and store in different locations.
posted by Leon at 2:49 AM on August 16, 2006

What about Mitsui/MAM-A? They have a nice, non-oxidizing gold layer and a special dye. The CD-Rs are supposed to last 300 years, and a century for the DVD-Rs.
posted by adipocere at 6:42 AM on August 16, 2006

and another threadjack: what's the deal with DVD-RAM? back in the old days there was a format called DVD-RAM (macs had DVD-RAM drives before DVD-r) and the discs came in a cartridge.

now i'm seeing new DVD-R drives advertising DVD-RAM compatibility, like its something new. is it, or is it the same old thing (minus the cartridge?)

a friend of mine heard that the DVD-RAMs were much more stable for long-term storage, but the presense of -RAM in the name kind of gives me pause...

there was also a NIST study about this, showing that one brand of DVD-R was just way, way better than the rest under all kinds of accelerated life testing. and then the losers would not publish the names of the media in the test. isnt this what a governmental organization is supposed to do?
posted by joeblough at 8:54 AM on August 16, 2006

Second the Taiyo Yudens. I've also never had a problem with Ritek (Ridata) discs, which are a little less expensive. The caveat, though, is that I don't have any discs over a couple of years old. I've had failures (with cheap media) but everything burnt on TY or Ritek discs haven't caused me grief. I get mine from here.
posted by porpoise at 12:05 PM on August 16, 2006

DVD-RAM was actually the first recordable DVD format to hit the consumer market. The reason Macs had them first was that Apple was a v. early adopter of the technology. (I'm assuming they regret that decision now.)

I don't think DVD-RAMs have required a cartridge for a long time. It's still a viable, if somewhat obscure format, and I bought one of the recent Sony dual-layer burners not so much for the double-layer capabilities but because the newest models will also play the DVD-RAM discs my set-top recorder kicks out. (It's a Panasonic-branded recorder, and DVD-RAM was Panasonic's pet format.)
posted by Joey Bagels at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2006

To clarify, the reason manufacturers are advertising DVD-RAM compatibility as "something new" is because it is new -- the compatibility, not the format. The format's been around for a long, long time, but it was not readable in the majority of PC DVD drives or set-top players. (The reasons have to do with the politics of DVD-recordable format wars among the companies with patent stakes in the respective technologies.)
posted by Joey Bagels at 1:11 PM on August 16, 2006

Verbatims are generally quite good. But how long term are you looking for?
posted by reformedjerk at 1:58 PM on August 16, 2006

okay, i just wondered if there was some new technology called DVD-RAM that happens to share the same name.
posted by joeblough at 6:36 PM on August 17, 2006

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