OK, first of all, the setup:
XP PC, high spec (28.Ghz Dual-core, 1333 FSB, Native DDR 1066, Raid 5 SATA(4 disks), etc.)
Memorex 16X AJIA DSW2 DVD-ROM
Optiarc AD-7190A DVD RW
(The above are on the same EIDE cable for now, but I'm considering getting a PCI/EIDE card to dedicate to the burner; experience tells me this would be more optimal)
1-Click DVD Copy Pro
Media: Memorex DVD+R DL (Verbatim 8x DL on order)
DMA for both drives is set to "Use when available".
This computer belongs to the other half -- she spec'ed the PC itself with help from me, pulled the Memorex drive from an old computer and put it in the new one(with my help) then proceeded to buy the software after some very basic research. At the time the PC was spec'ed making DVD movie backups wasn't really figured in, until later... at some point a lightbulb went on in my head, dimly. That's when the Memorex drive was moved over from the old 'puter.
Now that I have tried to make movie backups using the above setup, I have a couple of successes and quite a few coasters. That prompted me to do several hours of research today, of course ending up here.
The first couple of backups straight from the Memorex to the Optiarc went perfectly, and were playable in all of the DVD players in the house, including the computers with DVD drives, a panny portable DVD player, a cheap Korean player, and a PS3. Since then I have made nothing but coasters.
I'll get to specific questions in a minute, but first the process and some observations:
1) DVD43 is in the startup folder, so it's already running. I pop the DVD to back up into the Memorex drive. After a moment, the DVD43 icon turns green. (Note: sometimes the DVD has to be ejected and re-inserted to get the green icon. One coaster was made after a reboot, and the green icon appeared first try in this case)
2) I start 1-click DVD Copy Pro, and after a bit it presents a list of what's on the DVD.
3) I select "Exact Copy", all languages, subtitles, Dual Layer, and "Include Subtitles". I leave "Prefer DTS Audio" and "Movie Only Menus" unchecked. Then I hit "Start".
4) At some point, I start getting read errors. Eventually, the burn fails due to write errors.
5) I have tried the above steps, only using the Optiarc as both reader/writer and I still fail with write errors. THis has failed on two source disks, one looks new and the other has a lot of fine scratches. The scratched original works fine in all DVD players in the house, but this is exactly the sort of thing I am trying to get around by using backups; I want to make good copies of scratched DVDs before the get so scratched they are unreadable.
6) I have tried using 4x burn speed, no joy
Some things I want to try based on my research today:
1) Cross-flash the OptiArc to Lite-On DH20A3P FW and re-try step 5 above.
2) Replace the aged Memorex drive -- I suspect it's error correction is not up to snuff. Considering an ASUS DVD-E616A since it is available as a refurb, but I'd like to hear what others may suggest for ripping.
3) Since the highly-rated BenQ DW1640 is nowhere to be found, and the equivalent Plextor PX-740A seems to have also gone the way of the Dodo, I thought I would ask here for recommendations on a DVD+R DL drive.
4) Seriously consider the possibility that none of the hardware or software I am using for this is worth a damn, and start over. The PC itself won't be going anywhere though.
Any thought any of the gurus care to offer an the above are most welcome. Below are the specific questions I have for the gurus, after a short list of requirements & non-requirements.
-Ability to make exact duplicate backup copies of DVDs/CDs
-Ability to use DVD-R for backup of computer files either on DVD or CD-R media(pretty much a given I would think, but worth mentioning)
-Ability to override region coding a plus but not an absolute necessity
-Game CD/DVD copy
-ISOs, torrents, etc not of interest.
-Drives do not have to be the "Fastest". If I can burn 8x on 8x media I'll be happy.
So, on to the specific questions:
A) I'm not especially impressed with 1clickDVDPro. I think it's downright stupid that the log disappears after a burn whether it succeeds or fails, and you have to go digging down into the "All users" directory to find the log. Would AnyDVD + cloneDVD be a huge step up, in terms of reliability, functionality, diagnostics, logs, etc? Any recommendations? What would be a step up from AnyDVD?
B) Is there a better decoder than DVD43? I don't especially trust it after seeing it ignore DVDs pretty frequently.
C) Any recommendations on a replacement for the Memorex DVD-ROM? As I said above, the ASUS is only available as a pull or refurb, If there is something that I can buy new and is as highly regarded as that unit(or better) I can't find any references.
D) How is the OptiArc/Lite-on unit that I have compared to other burners out there? Is the consensus here that I should have no problems with it if I reflash it, or should I just consider a better unit?
I won't say that cost is not a factor, but I am willing to spend some money if it will make this process more reliable. Some of the DVDs I am trying to back up are simply not replaceable, and are not to be found in ebay searches of current or completed auctions, Amazon, or elsewhere.
So... please help, before I run out of hair to tear out...