Do I want a superdrive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by addictedtorings, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. addictedtorings macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I am another one of the "ibook update" people, impatiently waiting for an update/refresh so I can make the switch to Mac from my much-hated Dell. I am a grad student in History and have recently started using a digital camera for a lot of my archival research. This means I have a rapidly growing photo collection that is mostly high quality images that I want to back up in several ways. I would prefer to keep them in high quality images, as they are images of faded handwritten originals. Can these be burned to DVD instead of CD? Should they be?

    I wasn't going to get the superdrive option on my ibook, but now that these files are getting so big, I was wondering if I might need it. Also, what is the price difference if I got a combo drive and an external DVD burner for home?
    I have never even had a DVD drive on my computer before, so I am not sure what I can use it for.
  2. orijinal macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2005
    you can always upgrade down the road if you feel you really need it. it's pretty easy to install if you follow directions i believe.
  3. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California
    I would definitly get it. Even if it's just for backing up photos, you can get about 6 times the amounts of data onto a DVD compared to a CD. Just the time savings right there is worth it to me, and who knows, you could always get into digital video at some time.
  4. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Yes - but get a faster external ...

    No question you need to have either CD-R or DVD-R backups. But be aware that CD-R or DVD-R are NOT ARCHIVE QUALITY, so you should ideally completely reback them up every year or two.

    If you won't be using your Superdrive away from your desk, think seriously about an external drive - a 16x burner will create DVD's twice as fast. After you've created 40 or 50 of these, that time savings really adds up!

    My LaCie double layer 16x (which allows 8.5 GB or data, thought I stick to the regular 4.5 as it's much faster) cost about $189 WITH a full version of Toast, which alone is worth $100.


    As for a BU strategy, I'd back up every image on DVD at least twice, then stash them in different locations - a good idea is to put one copy in a safe deposit box. I've read too many horror stories of photographers who's houses have burn down, and who lost ALL their life's work when their negatives burnt.

    Now that we've gone digital, one of the great benefits is that a series of simple DVD BU's can preserve our years of images. This (buying a DVD-R) has to be the best $200 any photographer can spend!
  5. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    If it works don't take it apart.

    You can upgrade and void your warranty or AppleCare, it is a little difficult, but mostly due to small parts and lots of screws. has guides.

    My Super drive has saved me time and time again. It's a worthwhile investment. That's my 2 cents.

    I work with a lot of media, and much of it for archiving. The CDR/DVDR media not being of archival quality is both true and false. The people I work for did extensive studies before dumping MO disks as are primary archive disks. We currently use double sided Type I cartridge DVDs (easy for robotic management) for one backup and for the secondary backup, we use an kind of MO tape. After seeing the stats, I really expect to pick up any of my burned DVDs or CDs and be able to use them in 10,20,50 years. That said, I don't plan to access them every day, all day.

    Good media and drives make a difference. Practicing good storage techniques (moderate temp) and no light (particularly IR and UV) should keep them working just fine.

    The evidence of ink reversion is greatly overstated, while magnetic reversion/spontaneous reorientation is well documented. If you have the time to re-burn your backups every 2 years, the more power to you. I bet most of us won’t do that, and if we do, it will be added to a larger archive of our important work (as the cost of storage gets less expensive every day).

    Personally I have not had any disk stop working, CD or DVD, and I have CDRs going back a little over 5 years.

    Post Script: We dropped the MO drives because they just take so long to burn and the media was too expensive. Since the conversion to low-cost DVDRWs and now cheap DVDR-, we haven’t lost any data.
  6. orijinal macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2005
    there are better dual layer and faster dvd burners out there too.

    if you have the money, get it
  7. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    or you can buy gothic teddy bears.

  8. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    CD-R's and DVD-R's are not archival ...

    While your faith in CD-R's is commendable, it is just faith rather than science. How on earth can you argue with anyone that something that was only been invented 15 or 20 years ago will survive for 50?

    Of course you are right that higher quality manufacturing will decrease failure, but everyone should be smart and DIVERSIFY their backup strategies.

    I have a couple of CD-Rs of World Maps that I paid $400 for in 2002, and found out last week that about 20% of the data on the CD-Rs is now unreadable. I can probably hassle the vendor to replace them, as they have the original data. But CD-R's do fail.

    My point about buying a fast, high capacity DVD is that smaller businesses and amateurs CAN quickly, and easily re-duplicate all their precious photos every few years. Also, my point with making multiple backups is redundancy. With multiple backups, even if some data is lost on one CD/DVD, the odds of it failing in exactly the same place on the second must be statistically lower - thus a better strategy.

    If we knew before any negative event happened that it would occur, life would get a lot easier. No seat belts would be needed, there would be no plane crashes, no one would lose data. But unexpected things do happen, and data will be lost when backup CD's fail both in the medium term and especially long term.

    Here's a more scientific approach (the link below is from the FbIA's website - "The Film based Imaging Association is a permanent advocacy group whose focus is on the storage and preservation of mission critical information through the use of film based imaging technology.")

    "But an investigation by a Dutch personal computer magazine, PC Active, has shown that some CD-Rs are unreadable in as little as two years, because the dyes in the CD's recording layer fade. These dyes replace the aluminium "pits" of a music CD or CD-Rom, and the laser uses that layer to distinguish 0s from 1s. When the CD is written, the writing laser "burns" the dye, which becomes dark, to represent a "1" while a "0" will be left blank so that if the dye fades, there's no difference; it's just a long string of nothing to the playback laser.

    So have you already lost those irreplaceable pictures you committed to the silver disc? PC Active suggests we should forget CD-Rs as a durable medium, after its own testing found some with unreadable data after just two years. "Though they looked fine from the outside, they turned out to be completely useless," wrote the technical editor Jeroen Horlings, who had tested 30 brands in 2001, left them in a dark cupboard for two years and then re-tested them in August 2003. Of the brands tested, 10 per cent showed ageing problems. And it wasn't just Horlings. After seeing the results, shocked readers contacted the magazine with their experiences.

    Recordable DVDs are not off the hook either. The "dye chemicals" in write-once DVDs are similar to CD-R, though recording density and disk construction differ. "We're in the process of testing DVDs and we're sure that the same problems will occur," said Horlings, who plans to publish his findings soon."

    Full article (original was in the Independent):
  9. OryHara macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2004
    San Bruno, CA
    i doubte you would need DVDs for what you have.

    your picts wont take more than a couple of megs each, (and thats being really libral)

    and cds are so inexpensive now, some where around 12-20¢ a cd
  10. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Even entry consumer digital SLR cameras produce RAW files of 7-8 MB per image. If you shoot a couple of thousand, that's 16 GB of data. It's easier to store on 4-5 DVD-R's, duplicated and stored in different locations, than on 25 CD-R's.

    And bulk high quality DVD-R's run about 35 cents each ...
  11. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Personally, I don't use my SuperDrive very often. Only when I have video to record on DVD, which happens once in 7-8 months, but its still nice to have
  12. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Heh and it's even easier to get a bif external HD or just print them ;)
  13. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    I'd add the SD purely because it will enhance the resale value of the computer in the future when you come to trade it in.
  14. skwoytek macrumors 6502a

    Feb 15, 2005
    I'm guessing you're going to go with an education purchase. Which already drops $200 off the regular price. Now, you're looking at $200 price difference between a ComboDrive and a SuperDrive. Most external dual layer DVD+-RW will run you under $200.

    My factor when I decide is how often I'll use the drive. I have a PMG5 2.3 with a ComboDrive. Saved the $90 and bought a Dual Layer burner to set on my desktop so that I am not reaching under my desk when I use it. Excessive, maybe, but it's all about accessibility. I also burn quite a few movies to DVD... So that makes a difference.

    Oh and for the record... Movies and shorts I create, not commercial ones. I'm opposed to pirating. I know, I'll go stand alone now.

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