So it’s now a few months in and I’m fairly happy with the drive - but there were many teething problems with the drive, writing and access times, and I thought I’d document them in case someone has the same problems in the future:
Installation of the drive is incredibly easy and most of us monkeys can do it - the hardware side of things is fairly simple and you know if something is wrong usually immediately.
Problem 1: Errors with Writing, and how to make you own pretty purple coasters
When first writing some of the data DVD’s I used CDburnerXP and the write seemed to go well (but a little slowly) until I tested the disk afterwards and it was dead.
After many attempts I ended up installing Nero and things were much better. Apparently there’s a known bug in CDBurnerXP - for which the solution is ‘Wait for 3.0, it should work then’
Solution 1: If you’re having no joy with writing, always use another trusted program to test it, preferably a few
Problem 2: Slow writing speeds / Bad writes
When I first began writing a few disks with Nero the speed wasn’t anywhere near what I expected - and in some cases it was downright dire. CD writing wasn’t too bad, but the DVD writing was terrible.
Now there could have been a number of reasons for this, but by using either ForceASPI, or using the Nero built-in ASPI drivers it seemed to resolve the issue. It may work for others, it may not… perhaps it was mere coincidence
Solution 2: Try installing the ASPI drivers, or see below…
Problem 3: Very slow access times to DVD-R’s with large numbers of files in the directory
Now this problem had me confused for a while, I have a number of disks with large amounts of files on them in the root directory. These have been written in the DVD-R format and work perfectly in my Pioneer DVD-ROM drive.
When I insert one of these into the DVD-RW drive it takes a while to speed up (5-10 seconds, which is acceptable), but then Windows Explorer freezes and stops responding for about a minute.
Seeking help on the forums yielded no response, but then a little bit of private fiddling solved the problem in the most bizarre way.
I decided to update my motherboard/system drivers to the latest version, so I downloaded them and installed them. In the past this has yielded fantastic performance increases, but this time it seemed to decrease the performance of the machine.
Unknowingly I have been using these drivers for a long time (since the first install of XP) and it wasn’t until I went into the device manager, chose the ‘update device’ option that it said that the default XP drivers were more better for me. I accepted this opinion (though I didn’t want to believe it
Now my system seems a lot faster and best of all, the Drive is working perfectly… finally.
Solution 3: Try the latest drivers for your IDE hardware - but be wary this doesn’t always increase the speed or compatibility, be ready to remove them if that happens
So for now, I am happy - the drive works well, but I have yet to try the -R media and do any major backups. I want to get some good quality branded media for the backups and archives as I really cannot afford to lose the data that I have.
Of course, finding the right media is a task in itself - it’s no longer a case of going into a computer shop and saying ‘Oh, those will do, they’re branded’ - there’s so much variation out there and everyones opinion differs.
I prefer the +R to the -R writing system for a number of reasons, especially as the Liteon drive has much better writes with +R. But it’s time to take the plunge and see what happens