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Input on choosing a DL burner for data backups

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Input on choosing a DL burner for data backups

Postby rnmih2 on Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:33 pm

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?

Anything else?

Thanks for your help!

Richard
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Postby Ian on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:22 pm

First off, I'm going to recommend that you only use Verbatim DVD+R DL media for your backups. I've tried DL media from a lot of manufacturers, and Verbatim seems to be the best. If you're going to cheap out and buy discs from say Ritek, you'll pay for it in the end.

With that in mind, most drives will give fairly decent results with Verbatim DVD+R DL media. I'd stick to manufacturers like LG, Pioneer and maybe Optiarc as they seem to be the top choice around here.
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Postby Grain on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:25 pm

My 2 cents, stick to an LG, Pioneer or Liteon. Stay with IDE, your computer will be just as happy with them. If you go with a 20X burner, don't, 16X is max for a really good burn w/ data, 8X for video. If you have the time, I'd even burn data at 8x. For media, stick to Verbatim, Taiyo Yuden or made in Japan Maxell (if they aren't MIJ, run away!). I really don't think + or - will matter for you being that it's data. If it's really important data (sounds like it is), I would think twice about DL media. While using Verbatim DL media greatly increases your success rate, I still get a 1 in 20 failure rate (about 200 DL burns). With quality single layer media that figure goes to 1 failure per 300.
Back to burners, Liteon and Pioneer seem to have the highest build quality, LG's drive tray's aren't quite as "rugged", but I haven't broke one either. In your case, my vote would be a Liteon 20A1H, retail version (ie boxed), should be able to get one for less than $50.
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Postby rnmih2 on Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:05 pm

Read you loud and clear on media!!!

Thanks for your help. Focusing on what you both like, I'm hearing Pioneer. Which one? For LG, I'm presuming the GSA-H55L. Yes? How do these compare with the Liteon 20A1H. Are any of these any better in terms of burning quality?

Also, Grain, you mentioned a 1 in 20 failure rate. How would I know if the write wasn't good -- would the software notiffy me?

BTW, I'm glad you mentioned that failure rate. I'll have to think about whether it makes sense to switch to single layer. Would your burner recommendations be the same if I went single layer?

Thanks for your feedback!

Richard
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Postby Grain on Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:31 pm

rnmih2 wrote:Focusing on what you both like, I'm hearing Pioneer. Which one? For LG, I'm presuming the GSA-H55L. Yes? How do these compare with the Liteon 20A1H. Are any of these any better in terms of burning quality?


The LG 55L would be the drive to buy if going LG. For Pioneer I personally like the 112D(IDE), although if I was buying another I'd go for the 212D(Sata) which wasn't available when I bot the 112D. To be fair some don't like the 112, and it's never been very good at CDR's. I'd still have to say the Liteon 20A1H, good at SL & DL burns.

rnmih2 wrote:Also, Grain, you mentioned a 1 in 20 failure rate. How would I know if the write wasn't good -- would the software notiffy me?


I use ImgBurn exclusively for my DVD burns, and it gives you the option to verify your burns, both automatically after writing, or at a later date. It compares the write to the original ISO on your HDD, if they are the same, it verifies OK. I do this for every burn. This way I know immediately if it's a decent burn, or to be more precise, the writer is able to read what it just burnt, with no errors. I personally highly recommend ImgBurn, but as a beta tester for this freeware program I could be biased :D .
After that I will scan the burn using CDSpeed or DVDInfoPro for errors, but to be honest scanning with non-commercial hardware is highly subjective, and it's true value is arguable either way.
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Postby redk9258 on Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:22 pm

Why on Earth would anyone trust DVDs for back ups? Why not use a harddrive (or two)? They are so cheap these days and much more reliable.

My IT guy at work backs up several computers everyday. Mine gets backed up while I'm out to lunch. He uses the enterprise version of Ghost (I can't think of the exact name). This is done automatically over the network.

I use Ghost at home and can get several months back ups on a second drive. Seems like the easiest way to me.
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Postby DrageMester on Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:46 pm

redk9258 wrote:Why on Earth would anyone trust DVDs for back ups? Why not use a harddrive (or two)? They are so cheap these days and much more reliable.


Try dropping your backup harddrive on the floor, and then tell me how much your backup is worth, or try pouring water on your harddrive and see if you can get it to work again.

On second thought, you'd better not try any of those things. :wink:

Harddrives and DVD media each have their strenghts and weaknesses. Using both for redundant backups is better than just using one type.

There's also CDs, backup tape, flash memory, online backup providers, etc.
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Postby Wesociety on Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:56 pm

DrageMester wrote:Try dropping your backup harddrive on the floor, and then tell me how much your backup is worth, or try pouring water on your harddrive and see if you can get it to work again.

Harddrives certainly have their weaknesses, but with the low cost these days, the best method of data backup is probably still with 2 seperate harddrives, mirrored for redundancy.
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Postby Scour on Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:15 pm

I use both for important backups, optical media and HDDs
Benq DW 1640, LG GH-20N, Pioneer BDR-208
Crucial M4, Sandisk SSD, Plextor M5S, Sandisk Ultra Plus, OCZ Petrol 256GB

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Why DVD backups

Postby rnmih2 on Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:37 am

Actually, I plan on using tape, disk, and DVD backups. The tape and disk will be used daily. To tell you the truth, if the PC's hard disk goes south, I'll use the hard disk backup.

The tape backup has two advantages. First, the Friday backup goes to an offsite storage site. Secondly, the tape allows me to go back up to a month to recover a deleted file (the hard disk backup only allows me to go back to the previous day, although I could probably modify this).

The DVD backups will be snapshots taken just before I start re-cycling the tapes. This way, if anything has been deleted more than a month ago, I have the possibility of recovering it (not certain, but with overwritten tapes, there's no possibility).

So, each has its purpose.

Thanks for your help!
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