Best software? Is RETAIL BOX s/w crap?

First of all, I want to say that CD Freaks rocks! Club CD Freaks is what every Internet forum should be. You mods and regulars should be very proud of what you’ve created.

I’ve got a few basic software questions that I know you must have answered before, but I couldn’t find them with Search.

May I make a suggestion? You have a Newbie forum for CD-R FAQ’s. Why not set up a Newbie forum for DVD FAQ’s?

Here are my questions:

  1. The main question: Is the bundled software that comes with the Retail Box version of most DVD burners worth the extra $20-30 over the OEM (burner only) version? From what I’ve read in PriceGrabber opinions, the bundled s/w isn’t very good. Typically, you get Sonic MyDVD, Cyberlink PowerDVD XP, Veritas RecordNOW DX, or WinDVD and Nero. You guys have used this software and I haven’t. What do you think of it? Which of these titles do you like and don’t like?

  2. What DVD burning software do you recommend? I want to back-up my DVD-Video movies and back-up my hard drive. I already have InstantCopy, Decryptor, and Nero

Thanks in advance to those who reply.


  1. Most of the time, the bundled software isn’t worth the extra $$$ you shell out, BUT the warranty is. White box drives generally have a very short warranty (30 days or so) where as full retail boxed drives generally carry a year warranty or more.

  2. As for burning software, I personally use Nero for DVD video. For backing up your hard drive, I would actually reccomend Norton Ghost 2003. It will make an exact image of your hard drive, and 2003 also has the ability to put that image right on a bootable DVD.

There’s a huge price difference between retail and OEM s/w that comes w/ the hardware because there’s a contract between the hardware manufacturer and software manufacturer. In most cases, the retail version and OEM version are identical. Exceptions are the super jacked up 7.1 audio edition of PowerDVD that comes w/ Audigy 2 EX sound cards and CD Master version of Nero that comes w/ Yamaha CDRWs.

Preferences varie between people. I like PowerDVD XP over any versions of WinDVD because it’s easier to navigate and configure. Nero is a favorite for burning data files, though you can use it to burn MP3, CDA, VCD, and DivX CDs too.

In the case of backing up your DVDs, there are two methods. The cheap (read free) way is to convert your DVDs to DivX format, which will require a minimum of 700MB/hour of movie for best quality. Or you want original quality backup, get a DVD writer, buy a copy of DVDXCopy or by using any of the free software available, and just clone the original DVD.

As for backing up your HD, that task is best done using Norton Ghost (v.7 if you’re running WinXP), and a 2nd HD. All you have to do is connect the 2nd HD to the system, instruct Norton to clone the contents of the HD you want to backup to the 2nd HD, then disconnect and pull the 2nd HD when the process is finished. When the main HD fails for whatever reason, you can just switch in the 2nd HD, and you’ll be back in biz again.


I just got ati raedon all-in-wonder 8500DV (that comes with ati dvd player) and lite-on ltd-166s (that comes with powerdvd xp). I wonder which dvd player software outputs best video quality? A tech guy said ati dvd player, because it was designed to use most out of the card itself. While I see positive reviews about powerdvd…any opinions on comparison of those two?

I’ve used both and my system has always ran much smoother with Power DVD. I have tried the last 3 or 4 driver and DVD releases from ATI and always end up going back to Power DVD. I suggest checking the forum and search the forum for a post by shasha, titled “foolproof ati driver install” on installing and or updating the drivers and just don’t load the ATI DVD player software. PowerDVD is the best DVD and media player I have found.

I definatly think Nero and PowerDVD XP (and the longer warranty if you’re in north america) are worth some extra $, but I think 20-30$ extra is alot for retail. Maybe I’m just spoiled with cheap prces…

What software do you guys recommend for burning dvd based ps2 games?