Availability of DVD Mount Rainier (DVD-MRW) drives

Some searching reveals only one drive that advertises Mt Rainier aka “use-a-DVD-like-a-floppy” support - the PX-708A. A bit more searching reveals that the claim isn’t actually true, with only background formatting (but not error correction) being supported from the spec.

(1) Are there any Mt Rainier (DVD-MRW) drives on the market?
(2) If not, is any manufacturer promising this, or at least claiming to have hardware which is ready to implement Mt Rainier with a firmware upgrade?

Eagerly anticipating a replacement of both his floppy and tape drives,

– Tom

Originally posted by Veri
Eagerly anticipating a replacement of both his floppy and tape drives

If this is your goal, have you considered DVD-RAM?

Hm, just been reading up on DVD-RAM… I have found articles from a couple of years ago suggesting about 10 times the rewrites possible on -RAM vs ±RW media - is this figure still correct? It would certainly make up for the extra cost of -RAM media.

I guess when DVD+MRW becomes popular, the +RW media will be improved to allow more rewrites. I would worry also that MRW might push DVD-RAM away within the next 2-3 years, though perhaps there are advantages to the latter that mean this won’t happen.

Are there drives you recommend looking at with -RAM support? It seems to be less widespread but still available in some of the cheaper drives (eg LG GSA 4081BB).

Next mission is to work out if Linux udf kernel patches + udftools are sufficient on that/any DVD-RAM drive. Time to do more reading…

Plextor is the only one promising at the moment that I know of. Their PX-708A is partially Mt. Rainier, but not fully.

I read something quite some time ago that mentions that Windows XP does not fully support Mt. Rainier itself, and that full support may not be available until Longhorn comes out, so if you are running an MS operating system, you might wish to ensure it has Mt. Rainier functionality. Otherwise, you have a drive that supports it and an OS that does not, and the point is moot.

I thought initially that DVD+MRW was a good idea (it’s usually written that way, as it seems that it’s currently supported on DVD+RW media and not DVD-RW media). However, in truth, it doesn’t seem to have much to offer as things stand, not least because you need special software to read Mt Rainier discs in a non-Mt Rainier drive.

As others have said, if full rewriteability is your aim, DVD-RAM is probably where you should be looking. Unfortunately, at the moment, DVD-RAM speeds are still quite low and most of the popular and best regarded writers don’t support DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM media is also relatively expensive.

DVD+RW (though not DVD-RW), even in the absence of Mount Rainier, can usually be background formatted - certainly that’s the case for DVD+RW media in my NEC ND-2500A when using InCD I’m fully aware of the limitations of packet writing software like InCD - I only use it to allow me to use Backup Exec 9.1 for Windows Servers with DVD, and even then do not use DVD for my primary backup media (I’ve got a DDS-4 tape drive).

There’s no Windows OS support for Mt Rainier anyway - it’s one of the things promised for Longhorn, which is unlikely to be with us for at least another year. Until then, you still have to use packet writing software, even with a Mt Rainier drive - and that packet writing software will handle the error correction. I’m afraid I’m not aware of what support there is for DVD-RAM, Mt Rainier and ‘ordinary’ DVD+RW (that is DVD+RW without Mt Rainier support) in Linux - my UNIX usage is all on FreeBSD and currently all on machines I don’t sysadmin myself.

The limitation on the number of rewrites possible is a limitation of the phase change layer used in the media, and may not be easily overcome. I’m not fully up on the technicalities of DVD media, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a trade-off - you can’t get the rather greater number of rewrites possible on DVD-RAM without sacrificing compatibility (as DVD-RAM does over DVD-RW and DVD+RW).

If you’re anticipating a replacement of your tape drive any time soon, I suspect that you have a relatively small tape unit. There’ll have to be affordable blue laser rewritable hardware and media before my DDS-4 unit is eclipsed.

I would have liked DVD+MRW and DVD-RAM support - but the marketplace doesn’t seem to demand them, and they’re not available on the current market leader drives.


Mhm. Worse, I’m not even sure if there exist current reasonably priced non-b*stardised (cartridge) DVD-RAM drives. Which limits me to half the capacity and a disk I’m more likely to damage. Of course, this just makes DVD-RAM closer to what DVD+MRW plans to be, rather than worse-than-it…

I may just go for the DVD-RAM since I don’t see any advantage (apart from speed) in +MRW yet. It’s not of concern whether others can read most of my media, although -RW or +RW support in the drive would be good for the rare occasion when I do need to export.

My only fear is that -RAM support will be dropped (by media producers and possibly even OS writers, despite promises to the contrary) since for some reason not at all known to me the standard hasn’t taken off.

I have a very long upgrade cycle ;-).