Is an external USB2 DVD burner a good idea now?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by craig_gillette, May 10, 2005.

  1. I currently am burning CDs as a backup to my photofiles. But the
    stacks are getting higher. What I had been doing with my digicam
    files from SmartMedia was incrementally putting them right to the
    hard drives, then to CDs. That had been giving me two copies fairly
    quickly before reformatting the card.

    Except I've now added a dslr and have been using 1 gig cards - which
    of course fill fairly quickly using RAW, etc. and are too large to
    drop as a second copy direct to a CD. I added a USB2 card to speed
    download with a new reader.

    Is this a reasonable time to add an external DVD burner to allow
    full copies of the cards (other backups and use with the laptop
    would be added benefits) and to begin migrating older CDs, etc., or
    is it maybe a good idea to wait until the HDTV format battle is
  2. External USB 2 DVD burners are pretty cheap. I got a 16x burner from CompUSA for about $180. I would suggest just going ahead and buying something similar. Mine has worked pretty well, though it was a bit twitchy with Win XP until I downloaded an updated driver for it. Since then, it has worked fine.
  3. It is certainly the right time to get an external USB2 DVD/CD burner! There are many brands that will work, but I strongly stand behind Plextor, particularly the PX-716U. Plextor makes the least buggy and most mechanically reliable burners for both CD and DVD.

    For software, I recommend Nero. I find Easy CD Creater continues to be buggy and intrusive - replacing system libraries without a please or thank you. Plextools software comes with the Plextor scanner, and is invaluable for checking and troubleshooting your recordings. The recording software that comes with any burner, including Plextor, is too dumbed-down for general use, which is why I recommend the commercial version of Nero.

    The USB2 communication has ample speed for burning DVD's. You are more likely to be limited by your hard disk speed than USB2. I record regularly at 8x, which is over 11 Mb/sec. Actually I can record at 16x, but 8x is the fastest CLV speed, and has the lowest error rate.

    You will be burning DVD-ROM's - which has nothing to do with HDV. The standards are in place for years now. There's nothing really special about burning HDV either, just finding software to assemble it (I use Adobe Premiere Pro) and equipment to play it.
  4. I've been thinking about a couple. Plextor being a brand I trust, also there are some Sony's out there which come with Nero, if I read the sites correctly.
  5. If you already have an internal IDE CD burner, it may be almost
    as easy, and a bit cheaper, to replace the IDE CD burner with an IDE
    DVD burner. I've done it on some machines at work, and it was just
    a quick matter of opening the case and swapping cables.
    But USB2 should be up to the task, as well. It's a
    matter of personal preference, weighing the clutter and expense of the
    external enclosure and power supply against the ease of moving
    the drive among various computers.
  6. The Sony's are good too. I have a couple. They work with either USB2 or IEEE1394, as does the Plextor PX-716. The packaged Nero software is limited to use with the Sony, and is missing several features (including free upgrades) found in the commercial package.

    I use external drives to swap between a desktop and a laptop. The internal DVD burner in my laptop is not as fast and yields more errors.

    You can also buy Cool-Max IDE to USB/Firewire enclosures from for under $60, if you want to roll your own and save $30 or so.
  7. Personally, I think that the capacity of current DVD is too small to make it worth messing around with, so I use mirrored HDs while waiting for the next generation of DVDs. Terra Galleria Photography
  8. What's your crystal ball say about the next generation arrival time? Mine's not hooked up right now. I kind of half expect that the issues over HDTV will be resolved and that may kick the current generation into a lower price bracket as demand jumps for the latest - even though these are quite adequate for general use. I'm not looking to support dvd burning for TV use, that might be a plus but not a real use factor for me right now.

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