First of all, let me say that CDR Labs is a godsend. Nowhere else is there the breadth, depth, and consistency of coverage on DVD burners. You guys are AWESOME!
The question I have is about a very specific need. We are a small office. We have a desktop PC set aside as a "server". Despite its name, it runs XP Pro. Everyone maps their Z: drive to it.
We run tape backups in the evening, Monday through Friday (no one is there on the weekends). We have a 4 week rotation cycle (i.e., there are 20 tapes).
Every 4 weeks, I want to take a snapshot of the data (just the data -- none of the apps, WINNT, etc.). There's about 30 Gb. currently, and slowly growing by 3-5 Gb. per year.
I thinking of getting a dual layer burner to minimize having to insert disks. With about 30 Gb. of data to backuo, speed is fairly important. However, speed is second to a reliable burn. Since this is a backup, if the PC goes south (e.g., building gutted by fire), I need to be able to read the DVD backup on any reasonable (i.e., name-brand) DVD reader.
I'd like to go internal (it ain't floating around the office, and the speed seems to be better). The PC (Pentium running at 2.4 Ghz.) has an ATAPI/EIDE interface. I could get a SATA controller, but I'd like to avoid it (hassle, increased complexity within the PC). Notwithstanding the fact that I'd like to go internal, the tape drive is an external SCSI, so that's another possibility. And, in the interest of full disclosure, the PC has USB 2.0 and FireWire 400.
I don't want Bluray or HD-DVD because the readers aren't common yet.
Finally, this burner will be used ONLY for backups. All the other stuff -- CD ripping/burning, single layer DVD operations, etc. -- will never, ever be done (OK, that may be a bit strong, but it's pretty darn close).
My budget is fairly open, albeit without getting stupid. I plan on using premium media to do the backup. The presumption is that we'll use +R (it just seems to be more common).
After looking through your excellent reviews, I started thinking Plextor PX-760A or the LG GSA-H55L. However, finding the PX-760A is like finding hen's teeth. I understand that its follow-on, the PX-800A, is a NEC/Sony Optiarc in disguise, and it's lower write (8x vs. the previous 10x) makes me pause. You guys seemed to like the LG GSA-H55L, but it only got a "7" in performance, versus the PX-760's "8". Was it in part due to the write quality?
I understand the Sony DRU-840A is due to be released mid-September, and its specs look pretty good; however, the quality of the write on the older DRU-830 makes me a little bit leery.
Then, I went onto this forum, and you guys in the latest survey are saying Pioneer (review?!?).
So, any recommendations? Plextor PX-800A? LG GSA-H55L? Wait for the Sony? Go for the Pioneer (if so, which one)?
Also, given the problems with getting media rated at higher speeds, is looking at anything faster than 8x realistic? Should I even consider dropping back to single layer (accepting the need to shuffle more disks) in order to get rock-solid reliability on my backups?
Thanks for your help!