Are there differences in READ speeds among slim notebook burners?

vbimport

#1

I need to copy hundreds of data DVDs (files burned on 4.7 Gb dvd discs) onto an external HD as fast as possible. My question is: Can I do anything to speed it up? Currently it takes 10 or 11 minutes for ~4.1 or 4.2 Gb.

For example are there dvd drives that will read any faster than my current one which is an Hitachi (“HL-DT-ST”) GT33N? I don’t think the computer itself would be slowing things down, it’s a 4 year old Thinkpad T520 with i5 and plenty of RAM. External HD is a 6 month old Toshiba.

Please note this is not about burning! I am going FROM dvd data discs TO external hard drive.


#2

10 or 11 minutes for a 4.7GB (~4.32 GiB) single-layer general data DVD sounds like the drive is reading at full 8x CAV, which is the limit of slim drives.

An external full-height DVDRW drive is the only thing that could speed things up in this situation, unfortunately.


#3

[QUOTE=Albert;2762281]10 or 11 minutes for a 4.7GB (~4.32 GiB) single-layer general data DVD sounds like the drive is reading at full 8x CAV, which is the limit of slim drives.[/QUOTE]

OK thanks, that’s exactly what I was wondering about.

[QUOTE=Albert;2762281]An external full-height DVDRW drive is the only thing that could speed things up in this situation, unfortunately.[/QUOTE]

That’s no problem, I can get an external DVDRW but then could it be the same speed or even slower due to the cable connection as opposed to internal?

I’m almost certain I have USB 2 rather than 3. Do you know if any of these other connectors would be faster (and exist for external DVDRW)?

USB/eSATA combo connector
IEEE 1394 connector
Smart card slot
ExpressCard

also these but I’m assuming they’re not relevant:
Ethernet
Media card reader
DisplayPort


#4

(ports I don’t mention below are not necessary or are not applicable for your endeavor)

IEEE 1394 (FireWire) can be faster than USB 2.0 by a little bit, but is outdated so you won’t necessarily find NEW drives to make use of it. But there are old drives which read as well as new drives & sport FireWire, and there might be 5.25 inch enclosures which support FW, but I wouldn’t specifically worry about it. Instead, go eSATA or USB.

eSATA is more than enough for an optical drive, but you would be buying an SATA drive & an enclosure yourself, as I think most optical drive manufacturers’ external drives these days only offer USB 2.0 or 3.0. (Hard drive manufacturers are keen on eSATA, though.)

Depending on the maker of the hardware that controls the USB ports on your computer, I’ve managed to do 20x writes over USB 2.0 with no issue. A 4 year old ThinkPad running an Intel processor probably has an Intel controller, maybe some secondary internal hubs to split into more USB ports if necessary, which sounds like a solid setup. 16x reading to the internal hard drive should not be a problem.

Since you’re also using an external hard drive, issues could present themselves (if the two ports you used happened to be provided by the same internal hub); I’ve encountered situations where it has, and where it hasn’t. I wouldn’t expect it to be a problem.

Blu-ray would be slightly different due to the potentially higher throughput, but that’s why USB 3.0 and eSATA exist.

Are you reading discs that have lots of smaller files? Or are you reading a disc with one or two large files, or backing up the discs to image files, both of which mean you’re reading the discs fairly sequentially? Guessing from your time estimates, it sounds like you’re reading sequentially, so speed would only be a problem once you got to the outermost edges (where you stand the greatest chance of using up all the bandwidth provided by USB 2.0), but either way, your time would be cut down to between 5 and 6 minutes per disc.


#5

Blu-ray: I can’t tell whether you’re saying a Blu-ray drive would give higher read speeds for my dvd discs, or just that if my discs were Blu-ray, which they aren’t, it would be faster.

Otherwise, to sum up you’re saying separate drive and eSATA enclosure would be preferable but even regular full-height USB 2 drive would be an improvement.

My friend just said he thinks the discs themselves are the limiting factor and a better drive wouldn’t make any difference given that we are only talking about reading and not writing. Thoughts?

Here is a full listing of all the files on a typical disk:

1,073,739,776
1,073,739,776
1,073,739,776
726,308,864
432,142,336
20,766,720
16,863,232
192,512
75,776
75,776
28,672
28,672
16,384
16,384
14,336
14,336


#6

[QUOTE=richardk;2762286]Blu-ray: I can’t tell whether you’re saying a Blu-ray drive would give higher read speeds for my dvd discs, or just that if my discs were Blu-ray, which they aren’t, it would be faster.[/quote]My comments on Blu-ray were only if you were to ever use Blu-ray; it was not a suggestion that Blu-ray drives would read your DVDs faster than DVDRW drives. Apologies for the confusion I caused.

Otherwise, to sum up you’re saying separate drive and eSATA enclosure would be preferable but even regular full-height USB 2 drive would be an improvement.
Correct.

My friend just said he thinks the discs themselves are the limiting factor and a better drive wouldn’t make any difference given that we are only talking about reading and not writing. Thoughts?
In general, the discs themselves should not be the limiting factor. We can go into plenty of theory about the point at which the discs themselves would be the limiting factor (example: the fact that drives need sophisticated mechanisms to keep the discs stable during high-speed reading & writing), but at the moment, your limit is the fact that the discs CAN be read faster on a different piece of hardware.

Here is a full listing of all the files on a typical disk:

1,073,739,776
1,073,739,776
1,073,739,776
726,308,864
432,142,336
20,766,720
16,863,232
192,512
75,776
75,776
28,672
28,672
16,384
16,384
14,336
14,336
16 separate fairly sizable files means there’s not a lot of seeking that has to happen. The disc is read fairly sequentially and would directly benefit from a higher rotational speed provided by a full-size drive.


#7

Thanks, very helpful.