Dealing with bad blank DVD-Rs
June 24, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Problems with DVD-R blank media. Help me parse my solutions.

So, I've been burning a lot of data discs to DVD to free up hard drive space on my older G4 iMac. I just burned through a spool of Sony blanks and moved on to a spool of Memorex discs I got a "good deal" on... Immediately started having problems, with an error message I've never seen before (0x80020022) stating that "communication to the disc drive failed." 1 in 5 or less discs will start recording at all and those that do have verification problems. Memorex CD-Rs continue to work just fine in this drive.

I poked around online with this message and saw a lot of opinions fingering the media, with Memorex specifically mentioned. I ran this program and by this list came up with the media id RITEK F1, which that resource describes as being "second class."

Given that the problem started with the media change and the other details above, fingering the media as the culprit is pretty much a slam dunk, right? (If you doubt this assertion, please elaborate) Assuming this, I have a few questions.

1. That "branded" discs are of dubious origin that you can't verify without having some program scope an actual disc in the drive was news to me. Can you suggest a "gold standard" brand of disc that I can buy and be confident of the quality? Price is much less of an object than me not getting incredibly angry and wanting to smash my computer with a giant hammer every time I need to burn a DVD.

2. I'm probably going to need a new computer sooner rather than later, most likely a new iMac. How likely these discs will work any better in a new drive? Basically I'm wondering if I should keep them or call it a loss and get rid of them somehow (I foolishly bought a large stock due to a sale price, after a frustrating day and a half of experiments I have more than 90 of these left, 75 still on their wrapped spindles).

3. Any bright ideas on getting rid of 90+ "second class" blank DVD-Rs? I can't return them at this point. I wouldn't want to sell them or give them away to charity if it's a good chance they will just cause someone a bunch of trouble. Are they destined for the landfill?
posted by nanojath to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
DVD+ or DVD-?
posted by JJ86 at 11:22 AM on June 24, 2008

As to #1, I suggest MAM-A Gold Archival DVD-Rs. I pimp these out a lot. You can buy a spool of fifty of them for about ninety dollars. Do make sure that the firmware on your burner is up to date - they recently switched media numbers and my burner had a problem with it until I updated the firmware. Never had one go wrong. Theoretically rated, from environmental chamber tests, for 116 years. In the spirit of "trust, but verify," verify your discs anyway. Always burn at the lowest speed available.

#2 - A lemon is a lemon.

#3 - Yes.
posted by adipocere at 11:23 AM on June 24, 2008

1. My gold standard is Verbatim. Part # 94854 for 50-pc single-layer 8x DVD-Rs. Part # 95123 for 20-pc dual-layer 8x DVD+Rs. I use these every day in a mixture of Pioneer, Apple and Sony burners. The failure rate is less than 2%. I don't have longevity data, sorry.

2. The discs will not work any better in a different drive.

3. The polycarbonate and metal in the discs is recoverable. See if you can find a local plastics recycler that will take discs.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2008

Been a while since I researched this topic in depth, but a year ago the 'gold standard' was Taiyo Yuden. I bought mine from, they have some good deals from time to time.
posted by mattholomew at 11:53 AM on June 24, 2008

The gold standard is Taiyo-yuden. You can get them as low as 30 cents each. MAM-A's are good, but a waste of money.

See this guide
posted by wongcorgi at 11:55 AM on June 24, 2008

I had no problems with a cheap spool of 25 memorex disks, but a second spool was mostly coasters. It seems memorex repackages disks from who-knows-where. My DVD is Pioneer, and on their website they list the brands of disks usable with each model. memorex is not on the list.
Other brands have all worked fine. My usage is backuppish (write once, read very rarely, probably 2 times max).
posted by hexatron at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2008

yeah, buy different media, if it is cheaper than a new drive, or get some media from a friend to trouble shoot your problem.
posted by Amby72 at 1:23 PM on June 24, 2008

I've had good luck with my Verbatims but there's no way I'd swear by 'em. My only advice is to assume you'll get screwed pretty often with DVDs and buy in smaller lots (spindles of 20 or so).
posted by chairface at 2:27 PM on June 24, 2008

Burnable optical media is almost entirely a branding affair - you can count the number of actual manufacturers on two hands.

Taiyo-Yuden is the best out there. Relatively cheap and great, reliable quality. My latest stack is missing ~50 and none of those failed to burn.

If you really want to know all about this, you can check out CD Freaks' Blank Media Forum. They run quality tests, figure out the best disc for the drive, etc. If you really don't want to care that much, just buy Taiyo-Yuden from Super Media Store.
posted by easyasy3k at 11:13 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks a lot for the input, everyone.
posted by nanojath at 7:52 AM on June 25, 2008

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