View Full Version : DVD-RAM vs. regular DVD

Dec 30, 1999, 01:30 PM
I'm planning a purchase of a G4 and I'm trying to figure out whether or not I should get a DVD-RAM drive. Other than an old SCSI 1Gb Jaz drive, I don't have any other way to backup my system at this time. A DVD-RAM drive seems like a good way to backup larger memory sizes, and it would read DVD-ROM and CD-ROM discs as well. On the downside, it's slow.
Does anyone have any experiences with these drives?

Jan 1, 2000, 07:48 PM
I just recently received my G4/400 with DVD-RAM drive. I'm very happy with it.

You're right about the DVD-RAM drive being slow (it's slower than the Zip drive), but it's a great option for backing up. With 2.6 GB per side of a $40 DVD-RAM disk, I can store all my downloaded software (installers/updaters, photos, desktop pictures) on one disk rather than the 15 Zip disks I was previously using. Plus I now don't have to hunt for the right disk when I'm looking for one of those files.

Also, I was previoulsy using 5 separate Zip disks for backing up with Retrospect. The problem with that is that it can't be done unattended (you must be there to insert disks when it asks for them). Now I can backup to a single 2.6 GB disk, and do it totally unattended.

BTW, if you're not familiar, the double-sided DVD-RAM disks are treated as 2 separate disks (one for each side of the disk), at 2.6 GB per side.

Jan 3, 2000, 01:20 AM
I bought 14 g3s with dvdram, and this they are great. Slow, but useful as backup or for large dv files. Many are used for editing, and this is a good way for users to save their work overnight. It is a pain timewise, but faster than the network....

Jan 3, 2000, 02:40 AM
On the subject of DVD RAM (I got one in my G4/400), HiVal 5.2gb DVD RAM media is selling for $16 at buy.com! The cheapest by far, although the cartridge is a little flimsy.

Jan 5, 2000, 06:40 PM

I was also wondering
1) Do regular DVD-ROMS/movies need to be placed in a cassette, or can they be placed directly into the DVD-RAM player?

2) Any other thoughts on backing up hard drives? (i.e., USB hard drives, CD-R, etc)


Jan 9, 2000, 04:10 PM
The DVD-RAM drives apple uses accept CDs and DVD-ROMs without the need for a caddy. DVD-RAM discs are built into a caddy and should remain in the caddy to protect the disc. I've seen and used both DVD-RAM dive models that apple uses and they work with CDs and DVDs just fine.

Jan 18, 2000, 11:59 AM
I have the DVD-RAM drive. It's great. It works very much like an old optical drive. Be aware, though, you can't boot from it. You can boot off a CD in the DVD-Ram drive, but you can't boot off a DVD-Ram disk.

Jan 18, 2000, 12:40 PM
I'm also having trouble deciding whether or not to get the DVD-RAM drive. I understand it is somewhat slow, but what is the speed when it reads CD-ROMs and DVD movies. Also, the DVD-ROM drives in the G4s...do they come with a hardware solution for playback, or is it software driven

Jan 23, 2000, 02:03 AM
My understanding about the dvd-rom software vs. hardware playback is that the (PCI) based G4's, the first generation, have hardware decoders and the new (AGP) G4's are software based decoders. I'm not sure if there is a quality difference. I have a 400 G4(PCI) and it works great, with a few missed frames every once and awhile. Apple just released version 2.0 of the DVD player software that is only for the new DV imacs and the (AGP) G4's so that may have improved the peformance if there was a problem.

Jan 23, 2000, 04:40 PM
Unless you need to do some heavy duty archiving, I'd skip on the DVD-RAM and go with the regular DVD, then add a FireWire CD-RW. True, this is more expensive but for $400 you can get an 8x4x32x CD-RW that burns 650 MB in 9 minutes. Additionally, you get the perks of being able to create audio CDs, boot CDs, and the obvious: you're using a format that everyone else can use as well, which is great for transfering files.

Still for the extra $200 (I think that's how much it is, right?) the DVD-RAM is sort of a nice perk... it ensures that you'll be ahead of the curve. Why not get both? http://forums.macnn.com/cgi-bin/smile.gif

Jan 30, 2000, 07:42 AM
How is the handling of a DVD-RAM? Can you delete directories, update files, move them to another place like you do on a Zip-Disk or on the hard disk? Or is a DVD-RAM more like a CD, once you've put something on it, it is there forever? Do you have to fill the whole disk side of a DVD-RAM at once, or can you save your files to this device as you like (time after time)?

Feb 27, 2002, 08:22 PM
DVD-RAM works like a regular disk. That's what makes DVD-RAM so much more special over the other archiving options. Archiving to CD's are okay, but it's always great to have 5.2GB worth of data that is easily accessible like a disk.

Feb 27, 2002, 11:54 PM
DVD-RAM in conjunction with Retrospect makes a great backup solution as long as the data you are backing up will fit onto the drive. This wasn't a problem when I first got my DVD-RAM back in 98 when my HD was 4GB, but now that people have drives upwards of 100GB, you need multiple DVD-RAM drives to have unattended backups (unless your data changes very little from day to day). Of course, if you absolutely need your backup on a removable cartrige, I'm all for DVD-RAM, but as your general backup solution, I would go with another HD. The speed for both backing up and restoring will be much better than DVD-RAM. Faster writing means you can back up more often. Having both would be even better though. You could set up an incremental backup to the HD every 4 hours or so depending on how much you value your time, and a full backup once a week to the DVD-RAM which you could then take somewhere offsite for safe keeping.

About the speed of a DVD-RAM: In my experience with one of the original Hitachi units and some later model Panasonics (all 5.2GB models), the writing speed varies substantially from the inner to the outer tracks. Writing a full 2.6GB side averages about 350KB/s, although reading is about 3MB/s or better.