[conspire] question about DVD writer

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Dec 20 10:59:52 PST 2006

Quoting Darlene Wallach (freepalestin at dslextreme.com):

> Rick - thank you very much for the clarification esp since I forgot
> to ask about the differences between "+" and "-".

Sure.  I keep forgetting about that, myself.  Tom Macke of CABAL bought
me/CABAL a nice DVD burner in an external USB-connectable case, and it
happens to Just Work, so I tend to forget about the -+ issue.

> > I personally wouldn't go there.   I like:  Plextor, NEC, Sony, Toshiba.
> > Views Differ<tm>.  (Note:  Preceding prejudices are carried forward
> > without modification from CDR days, and arguably mark me as a fossil.)

Just to further elaborate:  Plextor drives have always been in my
experience standouts:  My experience was that the other brands would 
turn out to be physically fragile (cheap plastic doors, and such) or
for various other reasons have shorter service lives than you would
like.  The Plextor drives were simply problem-free and didn't break.

I also have somewhere a Yamaha CDR drive, and respect it almost as
highly, for the same reasons.

The other brands I cited (NEC, Sony, Toshiba) seem OK, just not
bullet-proof the way the Plextors are.

(Feel free to take cum grano salis, on at least two grounds:  Data
collected is mostly a decade old, and may reflect idiosyncratic personal

No "burner" (CD or DVD) drive lasts forever, for two reasons:  1.  Heat,
which as you may know is the enemy of electroic parts life.  There's no
way around it:  Burning data into media generates heat, in a way that
read-only drives never do.  2. Armature weight.  The read-write laser
heads on a burner drive are a lot heavier than those on a read-only
drive, which accelerates wear on the bearings.

MTBF (mean time before failure) ratings for burner drives are therefore
always markedly shorter than for similar read-only drives, and you should
_never_ use a burner drive for read-only service if you can avoid it.
(I.e., make sure you have a regular read-only drive, in addition to the
burner, and reserve the burner for what it alone can do.)

> I know I have 2 USB ports, I don't have Firewire ports so I assume I
> would need to buy an external DVD burner with a USB connection.

Firewire, sadly, seems to be fading.  Its fate seemed to be sealed when
it was dropped from Apple iBooks some time in the G4 era.

I forgot to mention:  1.  Another advantage of external burner drives is
that they're the _only_ kind that can be used on laptop computers (that
don't have them built-in).  This is significant for my household, which
has shifted almost entirely to laptops + servers, eliminating
workstation-class machines almost entirely.  Many other people are doing

2.  I should mention that any "internal" burner drive, in my experience, 
_can_ be converted to an external drive merely by mounting it in a
separately purchased external enclosure.  I'm not recommending that
course of action as a reasonable way to spend money; the point, rather,
is that you're not "trapped" if you buy an internal drive and later
change your mind.

3.  External drives can be powered down when not in use.  Internal
drives cannot (though at least the burn laser isn't kept running).

Cheers,                                      Hardware:  The part you kick.
Rick Moen                                    Software:  The part you boot.
rick at linuxmafia.com

More information about the conspire mailing list