DVD RAM Simple Question

Some time ago you guys helped a lot to make me understand that DVD RW’s are not easy to manage, or at least the software isn’t. So now I have decided that what I need is a DVD RAM drive and discs. Then I believe I’ll be able to use the discs like a hard drive and add/delete/write over small portions of it (like altering one digital photo image and saving the alterations) without having to reformat the whole disc.
My question is… I will be writing the new DVD RAM discs in a LG GSA4163B. Will the discs be readable by an ordinary DVD player, such as Lite-on or Sony or Dell? Will I be able to transfer stuff from the disc onto a pc through one of these ordinary DVD players? This is not anything to do with TV .
I’m sure some of you’ll be able to help me with this, please and thanks, Ruth

Hi Ruth

I owe you an email I think. Must get round to that.

Unless the DVD Player or PC DVD-ROM/RW is SPECIFICALLY designed to play RAM discs then the answer would be no.

I’ve just tried with mine & my Pioneer player can’t recognise the disc at all.

There’s some special driver software for the LG which makes it easier to use & has been referred many times in the LG burner forum.


Search on videohelp.com what players are able to use DVD-RAM…


This is a thread I was referring to and this is the a link to download the driver.
I’ve tried it & it works fine.

Thanks Tim, and hello again,nice to hear from you. Even this doesn’t seem to be straight forward, why is IT life so difficult! I’ll read all this stuff in the thread and the link shortly. Might come back again with more questions.

That’s the whole problem with DVDRAM and why I won’t personally touch it, it’s just so dang incompatible, not many drives will play them at all. It’s only any good if you use it at your own house only, and every computer or player you wanna use it in can actually play them. If you did wanna take some files to another location, like a friends house or something, you’d have to be real lucky they’d actually have a drive that could read them, cause not very many do (or backpack your drive with you everywhere you go and plug it in ahahahh). They’d have to be a DVDRAM user too and specifically bought one of the few drives that are DVDRAM compatible. You’ll have to go out and specifically buy all drives that can do DVDRAM, for wherever you wanna transfer from point A to point B, and that kinda sucks IMO.

Unless you just wanna do it on your own PC, but that’s what a second HDD (or external HDD—> which I think is the best for portability and with a big one, alot of portability :slight_smile: ) is for :slight_smile: . Don’t buy Beta (as if you could find one), when VHS tapes are all you can buy now anyway, lol. DVDRAM just never caught on as a widely accepted standard, too bad too cause it’s actually a good idea.

Thanks for that Roscoe. You see, what I want to do is to archive my thousands of digital photos onto DVD, but still be able to go back to the disc and alter things, just as you can with a hard drive. I have got an extra hard drive, half for back-up and half for storage, but that will get full before very long. So I will only be using the DVD RAM discs in the one Drive,in my tower. I would have liked to be able to read them in the laptop (Dell Latitude X300) too, but it seems it won’t be possible.

Great idea Ruth. When DVD-RAM is available at 16x, the LG drives will probably be the first to have it. I think they are the market leaders in DVD-RAM.


It might be possible to upgrade the DVD-ROM/RW in your laptop to be DVD-RAM capable if that’s your sole remaining problem with this idea. There’s certainly a Panasonic slim unit available & probably others. Not sure how easy though.

I’m sorry, perhaps I haven’t gotten the point of the thread, but why not use multisession writing?
Ok, so you’ll have a duplicate pic or three when you edit them and have to save them again, but multisession CDRWs, if kept clean, don’t give all the trouble UDF-formatted ones do.

First of all can I apologise to the master organiser of these wonderful forums.I see I’ve been moved, and now I realise I should have started here, so sorry, will try harder next time.
Tim, my Dell laptop has an external DVD player drive, made by Mitsubishi I think.If I wanted to swop it for a DVD RAM drive, I suppose it would need some modification inside the laptop would it?
Fallingwater (What a strange nickname??) Multi-sessions are only OK for archiving stuff,which I also do, but not for when you want to make alterations to a picture and save the changes, and then maybe tomorrow look at it again and change it again. And adding small amounts of data to a multisession disc is very wasteful of space too.And as for formatted discs, as you say, they seem to be nothing but trouble. Been there, done that,so now I’m on to trying DVD RAM .
It’s still in its box, as I’m not allowed to have it until my birthday(with it being a present) which is this Saturday, so after that I’ll probably be back on the forum with lots of problems. Watch this space !

I have also been using the DVD-RAM driver referred to by TimC on my 4163B and it works nicely. Everything else I’ve seen seems to assume you already know what to do with DVD-RAM discs. I did a fair bit of floundering around before I figured out how to get things working. Here is a short description of what you need to do :

  1. Install the driver mentioned by TimC. It will request a reboot once the installation process is completed.

  2. After the reboot, you’ll notice a new drive letter is added. This drive letter is used only to access DVD-RAM discs.

Formatting a new blank DVD-RAM disc for first time use :

  1. First of all, DVD-RAM discs come in two types : with a cartridge and without. The 4163B uses the type that doesn’t have a cartridge so buy the right type. I bought a Panasonic 5x DVD-RAM disc in my case and it worked fine. 5x is the fastest the drive can handle.

  2. Put new disc into 4163B. In windows explorer, right click on the new drive letter and select “format”.

  3. A window will appear with a bunch of options. The important thing is to select UDF 1.5. The other version (2.0) is meant for DVD-RAM video and not data. The formatting process can take up to an hour, so it’s best to do this when you don’t need to use your computer for a while.

  4. Once it is done, you can use the disc like a regular hard drive (e.g. drag and drop). Just remember to use the new drive letter not your regular DVD-writer drive letter to access the disc.

As for drive support, currently LG, Samsung and Panasonic DVD-ROM drives mostly can read DVD-RAM. However, there has been a sudden move towards support of DVD-RAM by writer makers. Nearly all the major drive manufacturers are going to release writers that support DVD-RAM now. I think they have run out of new features to put into their drives until HD-DVD/Blue Ray support which is why they are doing this. Anyway, DVD-RAM support in DVD-ROM drives is sure to follow.

So if you use DVD-RAM discs now, you probably won’t have any problems reading them in any drive in a year or so. As for your laptop, wait a bit. If DVD-RAM support for writers becomes as common as it looks like it will, it should be easier to get hold of an external DVD-RAM capable slim laptop writer in about 6 months to a year.

Here is a short description of what you need to do :

Hello again.
I had to wait until this weekend to proceed with my new LG as I wasn’t allowed to have it until my birthday! It went into the tower and installed no problem.I downloaded the DVDForm Driver that Tim gave me the link to, thankyou, and that seems ok too. The info from Karangguni (what a difficult name) is excellent, very helpful, thankyou.

1 It did put a different drive icon in my Computer, but it replaced the previous one. After installing the drive I had a drive icon labelled DVD Drive (G:) The new driver changed this to DVD-RAM Drive (G:) On the desktop the shortcut still has the original name, and if I try to make a new shortcut from the new icon, it changes to Shortcut to CD-Drive (G:) They both seem to access the drive ok so I don’t suppose there’s any problem here is there? (Don’t understand why the Plextor CD Drive is F even though it is connected as the slave. I expected the LG as Master to be F and the Plextor to be G (And why is there never anything labelled B ?–Just a thought, not important)
2 Then, I got to formatting a Panasonic x3 DVD-RAM disc as per karangguni’s instructions. I put a tick in physical format and left it to it. After a bit, it gave me an Error message to say it could not format this disc. I took it out and looked at it and I could see it had got about half an inch outwards from the centre before it stopped, and there was a mark which looked like a finger mark, but on closed inspection it’s an area which hasn’t changed to the darker shade that the formatted area becomes.(There were no fingermarks on it when I put it in the drive) So I suppose it’s defective is it? Isn’t that just sod’s law!

I’ll take it back and get another one and try again. Any more comments or suggestions are very welcome,thanks for all your help so far,

Oh, those smiley faces were meant to be a colon and close brackets, sorry,don’t know why that happened.

No, I don’t think there is a problem there. I can’t tell you why the LG comes out as drive G instead of F, but I can tell you why drive B does not get used : drive letters A and B are reserved for floppy drives. They will not get used for optical storage or hard drives.

There is probably nothing wrong with the disc. I did exactly the same thing you did the first time I tried formatting a DVD-RAM disc, and got the same error. Just put the disc back in and try formatting it again but this time, don’t select the “physical format” option. Leave it unchecked and let the DVD-RAM driver itself figure out if it needs to use the physical format option. You might even find the “physical format” option is now greyed out, unlike the first time you tried to format the disc. There is nothing wrong there. I actually blundered around and tried formatting my DVD-RAM disc three times before I got it right. Give it another go (or two maybe) and it should complete the formatting process.

That is also why in my instructions, I explicitly did NOT say to check the “physical format” option. I suspect you should not do that but I can’t be sure until I format another new DVD-RAM disc.

and quite a few Panasonic discs are supplied already formatted.

[So if you use DVD-RAM discs now, you probably won’t have any problems reading them in any drive in a year or so. As for your laptop, wait a bit. If DVD-RAM support for writers becomes as common as it looks like it will, it should be easier to get hold of an external DVD-RAM capable slim laptop writer in about 6 months to a year.[/QUOTE]

In fact you don’t need to wait that long, as you’ve Toshiba, LG an Panasonic internal drives with RAM in the market, and NEC just about to come with 2 new drives.
And you’ve some drives that do support RAM reading.
Ok it maybe at a price if you buy the drive as a separate component, and there is where karangguni is right - with the increase support for DVD-RAM outside the Fareast (where it has always been quite popular) you may see these drives at more affordable prices, specially the NECs.

Doh! You are absolutely right about this. The 5x Panasonic DVD-RAM discs I have been using are formatted to UDFFS 2.0 by default. I found this out when I opened another piece to use today. I did a quick format to UDFFS 1.5 though, but that took only a few secs and was on my way.

So there is no need to do a physical format at all.

Just to elaborate a bit. BenQ and LiteOn have both announced DVD-RAM capable writers as well. That leaves only Pioneer as the last major optical drive manufacturer not to support DVD-RAM.

The 110 is already out a while and supports DVD-RAM burning up to 5x!