Fastest External (Firewire) DVD-RAM Drive (Read Only)


Can anyone recommend an external drive with Firewire connection that is capable of reading DVD-RAM discs (from a Panasonic stand-alone recorder) as quickly as possible?

I don’t need to burn anything on this drive, I just want to speed up the process of getting video off existing discs.


You are probably going to need to make this yourself. There seem to be only 2 manufacturers who read RAM anymore, LG and Panasonic; it looks like 5X is it.

There are quite a few firewire enclosures there as well. I don’t think you will get any significantly faster throughput over USB but you will pay more.

I just found this also. It looks like LG is going tomake an external.


Thanks for your help and the pointers! I currently have two DVD-RAM capable drives, an LG GMA-4020B burner that is 2× read and a Toshiba SD-M1612 (read-only) which is about the same at 1-2×.

It doesn’t sound much, but 5× would be a big step up!

Tell me about it. I didn’t plan to when I woke up this AM but your question got me thinking and I just ordered an LG drive and a Bytec external box. Finally I can use the RAM discs from my Panasonic recorder. Curse you, I’m $100 poorer, but I can’t wait to start swapping things around and editing VR files. :wink:

Please accept my most sincere apologies. :wink:

I’m doing the very thing you are about to, using the Panasonic as a real-time way to record MPEG-2, which can then be edited and saved. If you want a simple but outstanding frame-accurate MPEG editing tool, then allow me to suggest VideoReDo - - after lots of experimentation it is the only MPEG editor I’ve found that produces files that play back glitch free on all machines, including Pioneers, just one brand that just about all of the software I tried caused problems with.

Quick follow-up… Just spotted that in the UK, LG have a read-only drive called the GDR8163B that claims up to 16× DVD-RAM read speeds. I think I’ll get me one of those, they’re giving them away at about £15 each!


That must have been a typo. Maximum known speed for reading DVD-RAM disks is 5x and that also requires 5x DVD-RAM media in addition to 5x DVD-RAM read drives like GSA-4163B.


You are not allowed to send PM messages for asking hardware questions that properly belong to open forum boards. BTW, what was your question? :wink:

That’s an interesting point… do you know of any 5× DVD-RAM discs? I have Panasonic and Maxell, neither of which state any read/write speeds.

Sorry, not aware of that.


Looks like 16× DVD-RAM is a reality, the drives (like the LG) come first, we’re just waiting for blanks. In the meantime, it seems only Maxell are producing 5× DVD-RAM discs and they’re next to impossible to find.

Any US source that you know of??

The Maxell is hard to find, but for anyone who wants some 5X RAM I found Panasonic in stock:

You can say that again, but after trawling the entire Internet from Alaska to Zaire, I managed to find:

Thanks for the Panasonic link, I’ve ordered a couple of those too in case either turn out to be misrepresented and are only 3×.

SMR-Group, One thing I ran across that you should be aware of. Bytecc’s 320 external enclosure apparently has power too low for the LG 4163 drive. I can find no direct information from either manufacturer, but before you invest you might want to check the amp draw of the drive you want to use and match it with the amperage of the external box.

Thank-you, that’s a huge help. I already have the new LG but have been in two minds which external enclosure to get and whether to go for just USB or Firewire and USB. I think this info is really going to narrow the field and make the decision for me.