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  16x DVD recording, 5-minute DVD backups? 
  Apr 21, 2005, 10:00am EDT 


By: Sander Sassen

I am sure many of you will agree that waiting thirty minutes for a one hour DVD to complete is a bit long, but it wasn’t that long ago that double speed DVD recorders were the fastest available. Today 4x and 8x are most common, which still take fifteen or in the latter case about ten minutes to complete a recording. Now that 16x DVD recorders and media is available lets take a closer look at how these fare, will they be able to record a 120-minute DVD, or 4.7GB of data in under five minutes?

Obviously 16x recording puts a significant amount of stress on a system, which is nothing like CDR recording at 48x and up. Recording a CDR at 48x only requires a sustained data rate to the CDRW recorder of 7.2MB/s which is perfectly feasible with even an older PC. Recording a DVD (whether +R or –R) at 16x however requires no less than 22MB/s, which is more than the sustained data rate of many harddisks. So although your DVD recorder might support 16x recording, the rest of your system might not be able to keep track.

16x DVD recorder and media

The LiteOn SOHW-1673 and Imation and Traxdata 8x and 16x DVD+/-R media.

We’ve looked at two popular DVD recorders, the NEC ND3520A and the LiteOn SOHW-1673 and used Imation and Traxdata 16x DVD media, both DVD+R and DVD–R, to determine whether 16x DVD recording really offers a significant boost in speed for your backup, archiving or other needs. We’ll be comparing the results to the same recordings made with 4x and 8x DVD+R and DVD-R media to determine exactly how much gain in speed can be had from a 16x DVD recorder and 16x media.

LiteOn SOHW-1673
16x DVD+R, 4.7GB data : 5-min, 51-sec
16x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 5-min, 57-sec
8x DVD+R, 4.7GB data : 9-min, 42-sec
8x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 9-min, 49-sec
4x DVD+R, 4.7GB data : 14-min, 19-sec
4x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 14-min, 23-sec

16x DVD+R, 4.7GB data : 5-min, 53-sec
16x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 6-min, 2-sec
8x DVD+R, 4.7GB data : 9-min, 44-sec
8x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 9-min, 52-sec
4x DVD+R, 4.7GB data :14-min, 22-sec
4x DVD-R, 4.7GB data : 14-min, 25-sec

As can be seen from the results both DVD recorders perform within a few seconds from each other. What is also interesting to note is the fact that a recording made onto DVD+R media, irrespective of the manufacturer, is completed slightly faster. We did not see any differences in speed when switching from Imation to Traxdata media, whether DVD+R or DVD-R. But to get to the gist of the matter, 16x DVD recorders and media will not cut your 8x recording times in half, but it is close, we say this with confidence as the system we used to evaluate this features 10.000-rpm Western Digital Serial-Ata disks in RAID0, easily able to sustain 50MB/s.

It is clear though that 16x DVD recording can shave a good three to four minutes off of your DVD recording time if you previously used 8x DVD recording. There’s a catch however, and that’s the fact that your harddisk, and system it is used with, must be able to sustain a 22MB/s data rate. This isn’t a problem for the majority of modern Serial-Ata disks, but it does help if you have as few as possible applications running that could eat up system resources or access the disk(s) when you’re recording a DVD. Needless to say that doing other things but for some light websurfing or text editing during a recording is more likely to result in a coaster at 16x than at 4x or 8x.

Sander Sassen.

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