Help needed with storage media

5 replies
Found 14th Nov 2007
Sorry it's a boring one, but I'm finally getting the hundreds of photos of my kids and my husband's works docs backed up onto disk, or I will once I've bought the things!

I'm about to place an order with Viking Direct for 4.7gb CD+RW discs, but they vary so much in price and I don't know if it's these I need. The photos also include some short video clips, My Documents file is almost 2gb so I figured these would be best.

As I don;t really know what I'm doing...I wonder if anyone can advise if these type are ok for this purpose please? :?

Many thanks for your help,



Awlright, a few points -

- CD and DVD are different formats. CDs can hold up to 650MB, DVDs can store up to 4,500MB (or 4.5GB, as it is usually shortened). If you have a drive capable of writing to DVDR discs, you're much better off using DVDRs.

- If a disc has RW in its name, it means it is rewritable. This is kind-of a bad thing. It does cut down waste, but the discs are of lower reliability, they take an age to delete from and write new data to, and are woefully overpriced. There's no real reason to be deleting data from discs anyway, as an entire disc is only worth about 15p.

- You'll likely be getting confused by DVD+R and DVD-R. The difference between the two formats is that DVD+R can be slightly more expensive and can write data slightly faster, but is also more expensive, and more prone to compatability problems with some drives. I always use DVD-R discs.

- There are a range of different speed discs. Some will be marked 8x, some 16x, some maybe higher. The speed refers to the maximum speed to which discs can be written, relative to the standard speed of a disc. You can fill a 8x disc up with data in about 12 minutes, a 16x disc in around 7 minutes, and any disc rated faster than than that a little faster still. You'll see some discs rated at 52x, or around that area. These are CDR discs, and should be avoided. They're fast enough to fill a disc within about three minutes, but since you're only writing around 650MB of data in that time, they're quite a bit slower than DVDRs.

- You'll see some discs marked as being specially made to store video, audio, photo, or data. This is marketing lies. All formats of data are still just data, and a disc will store any kind.

- You'll also see some grossly overpriced brand-name discs, like Sony, or Phillips. They usually charge about five times what the likes of Bulkpaq and Verbatim charge, despite often being re-badged versions of the same disc. So stick with the cheaper makes.

- Avoid Datawrite. They can go to hell and die.

Or, in short: Just buy a cheap 50 pack of DVDR discs. Shouldn't cost more than a tenner.

Original Poster

Wow, thanks for all that info! That's great. I should now own up to the fact that I have used CDs to copy stuff before, but not DVDs. I guess that means I might not have a dvd writer/won't be able to store info on dvds?! I'm sorry for seemingly daft questions, I have been putting off backing up my stuff cos I have never done anything like this before, which I know is really bad...



You've just saved me 5 minutes typing lol

I agree stick with Verbatim and you can't go wrong.

Repped you for the excellent advice you've given

Original Poster

Me too! Cracking reply.

(Given you rep that is!)

My experience with cd/dvd backup has been that they are often not done when they should be. There is also some risk of unnoticed deterioration. An external hard disk now costs about £40 and can hold everything - backing up requires almost no effort - software is free

Even if you use cd/dvds it is worth considering - if a hard disk does fail you will know and be able to replace it before the data is irrevocably lost.

Alternatively, if you don't have a DVD writer, how about a USB stick?
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