Finding drive "best" for DVD-RAM data backup

I’m new here since I’m recommending to more of my clients who have small amounts of data to back up, that they backup to DVD-RAM discs.

I’ve found a lot of variability in the reliability of the typical “Super-Multi Drive”, at $30 - $40, in writing and reading DVD-RAM. I’m not interested in a dedicated DVD-RAM writer - just a typical Super Multi drive that is intentionally designed well with regard to its DVD-RAM capability.

So, I’m looking for recommendations for the most reliable drive in the $30 - $40 (or maybe more) range for DVD-RAM data backup. I’ll usually be using NTBackup on Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP but which software is used should not matter.

Also, while I know it’s another forum where this is treated, I gather that for DVD-RAM (as well as other media) Verbatim is highly regarded. Any other brand DVD-RAM media that is implicitly trustworthy?

Thanks much for any advice.


Welcome to CDF’s:

I really have no heard of the DVD-RAM side of a drive to quit working. Usually the CD or DVD laser goes out so if it does fail then the DVD laser would be the problem i’m guessing.

The Samsung 203B or 203N (both are SATA drives) come to mind. I have the 203B. has them if your in the USA.

As far as the driver to use for DVD-RAM writing i would use a modified driver. There are links here somewhere to download them. Don’t use any Packet Writing app’s.

Basically you can just drag and drop the files on the disc with the modified driver. There is an eraser/format driver also included.

As far as blank discs go i use 5X Panasonic DVD-RAM non-cartridge type from Panasonics site. And i also use Maxell 12X DVD-RAM non-cartridge type.

Here is a link to a place that sells the 12X Maxell DVD-RAM blanks > They are very hard to find outside of Japan.

Bob, thanks for your help.

When I asked about reliability, I wasn’t refering to how prone the hardware is to fail. I was asking about how reliably the drive writes to DVD-RAM discs on the assumption that it is in good working order.

I’ve used drives that include DVD-RAM in their spec’s but will rarely write a DVD-RAM disc to completion without errors. Remove such a drive and replace it with another make/model and writing to the same disc then proceeds perfectly. That’s the kind of reliability that concerns me.

Something I neglected to mention: for my current application I need a drive that is IDE. Do the Samsung drives you mentioned come in IDE versions?

Thanks again,


A Lite-On 20A3P or a Lite-On 20A4P should be good. If you want LightScribe option then the 20A3H or 20A4H. Both are the same Lite-Ons with LS.

With the cheapness in price and cost cuts any more with optical drives it’s possible to have a drive fail any more with less than 10 burns these days. They just don’t make them like they used to.

I’m not to keen on the Samsung PATA (IDE) dirves. The SATA models seem to burn better.

Maybe someone else will have more info to add for you.

I’d recommend for DVD-RAM backups the Panasonic SW-9574-C cardridge drive or the SW-9576-C. It is imo the best DVD RAM drive on the marked and it is cardridge capable!

There are problems with the Panasonic / BHA DVD RAM driver and some drives. I read something with NEC for example.

I only use my both Panasonic drives for DVD RAM writing.

Here a link of a store in the US:

I know the drivesd are very expensive, but it is the only way to use DVD RAM cardrige, and this is for backups a really great thing…