Help me with this dilemma. longetivity issue

Hello everyone!

I’ll get right to the point.

I have over 1.2 terabyte of anime and movies. I’ve been a collector for many years now. The early part of my collection is stored on low quality CMC Magnetic (Imation) CDR disc (but they still work!). However, since the past 2 years I have been using Princo CDs with a few Sony/Plextor here n there.

I am still using my trusty LiteOn 2410B CDWriter. It burns without any errors… I’ll be upgrading soon anyway.

I take great care of my CDs. Keep them in immaculate condition. But, I cant shy away from the grim reality that eventually all my CDs will stop working. I want to share my collection with my children and maybe even my grand children.
Therefore, can anyone recommend what should I do?

Should I transfer all my collection to DVDRs? Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt DVD writing technology still in its infancy ? I am under the impression that DVDs arent very reliable in the long term compared to CDR. Personally, I dont wanna use DVDR, because even if 1 DVD disc goes bad… I lose a lot of data.

What about Harddisks?
I was thinking of buy like 10 120GB Harddisks and transferring all my stuff in then… I’ll wrap the HDDs nicely in a towel and store them away safely.
Would you say HDDs are the most reliable form of storage?

Please note, I am just a University student and not very financially strong. Therefore, if ya are thinking of some super advanced storage method used by the FBI or something… then think again, lol.

Thanks for reading!
Hope ya can help me out

Keep up the good work.

uhm, bump?

If you want long term archiving, you should have more than one copy of everything anyway. My advice is to buy some Taiyo Yuden cd’s either online in bulk, or buy Fuji brand cd’s made in Japan—they will be TY, but only those made in Japan!

No one really knows the longevity of dvd’s, but if you want to use them, Taiyo Yuden is the best available for them as well. Look in some of the threads in the media forum, rdgrimes has found a source for TY +R disks, and TY-R disks can be found readily online, or at Best Buy under the Fuji brand, in packs of ten. Again, if you buy locally, make sure the Fuji packaging says Made in Japan.

Store your disks in a dark, cool, dry area and they should last quite a long time.

I would trust either of these media over hdd’s.

Thanks for your input Kerry.

Come on guys, can anyone else shed some light here?
Does anyone know anything about Tape backups?

Tape doesn’t really sound suitable for your project - any decent sized tape drive is going to be outside your budget. I’ve got a Seagate (now Certance) DDS-4 drive, which costs around $700. You need a SCSI card. Tapes take 20GB.

However, the media costs are likely to be higher than DVD-R, the tape is pretty vulnerable (I have had one bad batch of tapes snap when ejected and had to run extensive qualification tests to find a tape brand that works reliably - hint - Seagate’s own media certainly was rebranded FujiFilm). The media is highly vulnerable to damage through bad storage conditions - there’s 150m of 4mm wide tape in a DDS-4 cartridge, and the drive uses helical scan, like your VHS machine. That makes the tape itself more vulnerable to damage than linear formats (like audio cassettes and some of the higher end tape formats like DLT and Ultrium).

The only way you can access tape drives is through backup software. Drive letter access just doesn’t work reliably - the seek time of tape is just too slow (can be a minute to seek from one end of the tape to the other).

Anything bigger than 20GB per tape is going to be seriously expensive. There’s now a 72GB DDS format (which, in truth, is 36GB - the headline capacity assumes 2:1 compression is possible, which is rarely true for any data and definitely not true for already compressed data like anything in one of the MPEG formats). Though the drives aren’t much more expensive than DDS-4 units, and can operate on DDS-4 media as well, the “72GB” media is still very expensive and the format really unproven.

Other tape formats have significantly more expensive media costs than DDS. There are 200GB headline formats, but you’ll pay somewhere up over US$3000 for the drive, and several hundred dollars per tape, whilst only getting around 100GB per tape.

For the right application (backup) you just can’t beat tape. You can keep overwriting the tapes - though the cartridge life of DDS can be lower than you think because of the damage imparted to the tape itself from the helical scan mechanism.

That said, the future of DDS could be bleak once we have an affordable rewritable 20GB+ optical format. The more ‘enterprise’ tape formats will survive - but much as I’d love a big backup device like an Ultrium 2 drive, neither the drive nor the media are affordable for SOHO use!

The best archival policy is to write at least two copies of the data to two different types of quality DVD media (possibly one brand of DVD-R and one brand of DVD+R - look at the reviews and forums for recommendations of what is a quality product on your drive).

Before putting each disc away you should attempt to scan it for quality, using DVDINFOPro or similar. If you do a read speed test using something like Nero CD-DVD Speed, that will give you a better feel of the quality of the write (ideally check the disc in a drive other than the one you wrote it in).

You should then revisit the discs every six to twelve months, recheck them and ideally write a new copy to a fresh batch of DVD media - thereby guarding yourself against degradation of the media.


I’m still learning about all this, but from what I understand DVD-RAM may be something to look into. The format isn’t yet supported by as many hardware companies as ±R/RW, but supposedly that is about to change. I hear it has a very good error correction technology which would be perfect for archiving.
Here is a thread witn a little info on it…

I don’t buy the DVD-RAM idea - I’d have thought dye based (write once) media was the obvious choice for archiving.

DVD-RAM is slow, has limited drive compatibility (for read as well as write) and the media is more expensive than other writeable DVD media. Even more importantly, the consensus of opinion seems to be that phase change media is far more likely to degrade over time than dye based media - as well as being vulnerable to accidental overwriting! Certainly all the optical disc based archiving protocols I’ve ever read call for the use of high quality write once media.