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You know how it is with CDRs... they're so cheap these days that they have become 'disposable'. Got a file that's too big to fit on a floppy? Just burn it to a CD. It no longer matters if the file is only 3Mb and you have 697Mb of free space left on a disc, they're just so darned cheap! And they don't come much cheaper than the Value CDRs from PC World. Weighing in at £27 for 100 discs, even I can work out that it's only 27p per disc! So what can I say about them? Well for starters, they come on a handy spindle which is fine if you are using them for 'disposable' storage, they take up a LOT less space on a spindle than they would in Jewel cases. They're a standard CD-R colour, slightly 'off' silver on the writable side and shiny silver on the label side, although as there are no markings (of any sort) on the 'label' side, it's not always obvious. They support write speeds of up to x16, so burning a full disc is only a matter of minutes (if your burner is that fast) but don't trust them at speeds higher than this, you can end up with a lot of 'coasters'. Well it all sounds fine and dandy so far, 100 discs on a nifty spindle for a super cheap price. "There's got to be a catch" you're thinking... and you're right. The problem with these discs is the fact that the 'silvering' is basically the surface that the label goes on, with no protective lacquer or anything. This basically means that should you accidentally scratch the label side of the disc, the silvering starts to bubble up, effectively rendering the whole disc useless. In fact you don't even have to scratch the disc, just rubbing your thumb over it a few times is enough to get silver flakes snowing down on your carpet. Couple this extreme sensitivity with the fact that you don't get jewel cases, and all of a sudden you are left with a heap of discs that really are only any use
for disposable storage. Which is terrible when you think how many thousands of years these things are going to last in a landfill site. So far I have burned 9 of these discs and all but 2 of them have been binned because of the dreaded silver peeling. The two healthy ones are kept in hermetically sealed isolation and handled with static free, sterile, dust free gloves. In summary then, don't be sucked in by the ludicrously low price... they simply aren't worth it for anything other than throw-away storage. You're far better off going for something a bit pricier that will at least last a few months!
*Sigh*, here I am again, writing about another item affiliated with my CD-RW drive. I may aswell as write about cardboard boxes, but I haven't seen any lately even; well I have but that doesn't matter. Though I was blessed with one exact drive-branded CD-RW disc with my drive, I required atleast one more for my needs and I found to my astonishment that Ricoh were the only brand selling CD-RW discs of the marked 'High Speed 4x-10x' variety, and in singular for £1.99. There's not much I can say about this disc, apart from that it it's for rewritable use (d'uh), 74mins in audio length, and 650mb in terms of data capacity. It can be read in all CD drives, but can only be written (and rewritten) onto specifically by CD-RW drives as mentioned earlier. The disc is quite a snazzy looking light purple (so there's no extreme shinyness that could momentarily bewilder your eyes) with an attractive simple design, and a space to write the disk contents. The smart inlay card can be reversed to write your disc contents onto, and in the inlay's middle there's standard guidelines for proper disc usage. The back of the CD mentions that it's compatible with CAV (high-speed) and conventional-style CLV recording technologies, and how this disc operates in line with modern CD-RW drives. This disc also conforms to Orange Book Part 3, Volume 2 (incase you're interested...), and also outlined on the back is the same info for a few other languages and a simple diagram outlining compatibility. Good to let you know if it's right on instant purchasing. I'm using this disc as a UDF formatted disc (via Nero's InCD) which has reduced about 100mb of the capacity for it to behave like a normally floppy disk (i.e. no pre-mastering hoo-ha required), and in this instance (the only instance I can comment on), it hasn't let me down. It supports the max speed of my drive, I haven't exp
erienced any errors; infact nothing negative, it's all good. And what else would you expect from "Ricoh - inventor of the CD-RW disc", to quote the back of the CD again! If you have a high speed CD-RW drive and are looking for an appropriate max speed, max quality disc, this is the one to go for.
Blank CD media - it's all the same isn't it? The idea is to see how many blanks you can get for how little cash, right? 5000 "Grade A" discs on spindle for 25p - must be a good deal? Think again mes amis. I got a CD-RW about 2 years ago and have both burned and be-buggered a good few discs since then. Many are the brands encountered along the way, and varied are the stories I could tell. How about the 50 Bush CD-Rs for £25? Perhaps every other one was ultimately useful. Or Mr. Data, another one of those brands you never quite trust, not performing terribly well. Or how about those names you remember from the days of 19p blank tapes - Sakura, Golden Shadow also known sometimes Silver Shadow? Poor quality things, when all is said and done. I have seen, looking around dooyoo, that some of the "quality" brands are not really cutting the mustard as they should be. For example, one opinion I read earlier said that TDK CD-Rs are not too bright. I think I may have some good news for the bewildered, wannabe CD burner. My local branch of Tesco has been stocking Kodak Ultima Gold and Silver 80 minute discs for some time. These are usually £5.99 for 10 (59p each), but recently they had a "Buy 2, get one free" offer, so I invested in 3 boxes - a grand total of 30. And how have they performed? Well, I am now down to my last box, and I am definitely going to invest in some more. Not one disc has been thrown away in disgust. No trouble, all nice and easy. I have 2 CD Rewriters, one is a 4x2x1 and the other is a modern super-fast 8 speeder. Favourite burning software is Nero, although good results have been obtained with Easy CD 5. Whether audio, data or archiving those naughty hush-hush MP3 files, the Kodak discs have proved reliable and worthy. Consider them a sound investment, and get burning...