How fast must be the HD to allow a 16x burn? (4 simple questions)

Hi! :slight_smile:
I am choosing an external dvd writer and Hard disk (or internal ones on external enclosures), and a pc-card adpter, and trying to find out the best devices and connection to allow real 16x dvd burn.
Lately, in addition to the firewire vs. usb stuff, I was occupied in a SATA vs. firewire stuff. :frowning:
I felt quite tired and confused, and scared about prices more and more high! :doh:
Then I felt that maybe I was falling into the trick of “wow, it is faster, buy it!”, while I had to understand what I really needed . :iagree:
So, I understood what I had to ask in the forum :bow:

  1. which is the sustained data transfer that the HD must provide to allow a real 16x dvd burn or near it? The same of the burner? The double or triple of it?
  2. which kind of HD rpm (5400, 7200, 10000) provides such speed? Or which access time…
  3. Which kind of connection (Usb2, firewire, firewire2, SATA, SATA2) must have the writer and/or the HD to REALLY allow the needed data transfer, considering my system (notebook dell inspiron 7500 with 512 of ram, pentium III 750mhz and Win XP Pro sp2), and that I will connect both devices at same time on the pc-card adapter?
  4. practically, concretely, which would be for my system the problems using two devices at same time in Usb2 instead of firewire or SATA? No one? Just few minutes more in burning? Not being able to do anything else when burning? Or something more serious? How realy Usb complicate things?
    I am happy, i feel that now I will have the right elements to choose well.
    Thank You! :flower:

You problem is not so much whether the individual components and connections will support 16x burning (which technically they all should), but more that you would be transferring between two external devices through a PCMCIA interface (the card adapter). This point might be the bottleneck which slows it all down.

Nevertheless I have made many successful burns at 8x using this type of arrangement on a laptop, which takes about 8-9 minutes for a whole DVD. However this was all connected by USB2 and I didn’t do anything else while the burning process was happening.

In all this talk of speed, you have to remember that some 16x DVD writers only burn some media at 16x for the last few hundred megabytes, with the majority of the stages being done at 8x and 12x. In selecting your burner and media, it’s probably a good idea to look at some of the burning strategies in the tests conducted in the Blank Media forum here. The actual time gained on burning some 16x discs might be very small, and the general principle is that you should try and run your system within its limits.

Mmm, yes, I understand Your point of You…
Well, in this moment it is 3 of the morning (or of tht night) here, and I really have not the force to see the forum thread You suggested me, I will do it tomorrow if Saint Saturday will allow me!
Could You please tell me, anyway, something more about the problems of usb2 in general, and especially when two decvices are connected at same time? Problems that, if I understood well, there are not with firewire…
If You know something about the other points, i also will be grateful to know something more about them, as, anyway, they are external devices and y could use them otherwhere, so, i would like to choose them well…

Sir Joe,
It appears that you spent a great deal of time pondering the optimization of data transfer.
Every thing that imkidd is telling you is absolutely correct.

I used to burn the same way, also. My USB ports had lost connectivity, so I used a pc card for the USB. That notebook’s specs: P4 2.4 GHz, 400 MHz FSB, 1-Gig PC2100 RAM, 7200 RPM HDD w/ 8-MB cache. I burned @ 8X max. and was happy with it, for reasons imkidd already stated.

I would suspect that your notebook has a FSB of 100 MHz, a 4200 RPM HDD, and uses PC100 RAM. You are probably getting close to maxing it out just by running XP.
While it is true that burning is not all that processor-intensive, I don’t think that you can get there (16X burning) from here (your notebook specs).
That is a BUNCH of data to move fast.

My suggestion is this:

  1. Buy a good, fast USB enclosure, link attached hopefully.
  2. Buy the 16X burner of your choosing.
  3. Upgrade your HDD to a 7200 RPM w/ 8-MB cache, you will be amazed at the better boot times, and you can always reuse it later as an external drive in a small enclosure after you upgrade to a faster notebook.
  4. Buy the PCMCIA USB 2.0 card of your choice.
  5. Try it. Forget about hooking up to an external HDD simultainiously… burn directly from the notebook c-drive.

Speed-wise, you will get what you will get. If they are good burns @ 16X or 12X or 8X or 6X or 4X, be happy with it, because THAT notebook is not going to do any better. I’m not trying to be harsh, just realistic.
And down the road, when you upgrade the notebook, you will have a great, fast external burner to use with it.

Ah ah! Yes, probably you are right…
Of course, when one does not know, he worries about little things, and, often, the wrong ones…
But I must precise something: I am not worried about speeds for a perfect 16x burn. I am worried about speed of HDD just because, as I am buying it, I just want to be sure that it will not be the problem. So, if it must be in a particular way and with a particular connecton, better to know it soon!
And, about connection, I was worried about the problems of usb. Many say it uses more cpu and in an old system it is no good. And it divides speed between all devices, so, with two high demanding devices all is more slow. While firewire give the same full speed to each device, and uses less cpu.
I was no sure and as usb is easier to find, to use, to change in other pc, and cheaper, I wanted to inform better…
I am not sure I can upgrade HDD. For example I can´t upgrade dvd-rom changing with dvd writer, motherboard doesn´t allow. So, no idea if modern HDD are compatible with motherb…
THe cost, also, An internal HDD for notebooks is expensive and slower. it wold costs as an external, and I will have to throw the old one, and also, to use the new for OS. This mean fragment, and many thing which manes it slower. Of course, once again, this is very relative, very possibly it will be always enough…
But, if with same money I can get an external, faster, and use both, the internal for OS and some datas, and external for image and other datas more private, as I can desconnect it when I am online, I think it is good…
Anyway, i think I missed something in your explanation…

Burning at 16x takes about 22MB per second. It has to be able to sustain that speed though. You can download the free version of sandra and benchmark your current internal hard drive to see how fast it can perform. Keep in mind, you need to be resonably faster than that speed to allow time for seeking etc. Is your current internal hard drive big enough to do it? It would be much beter to run off the internal hard drive and an external burner than having both external if possible. Any interface (usb2, firewire, sata) are plenty fast but having many things sharing the bandwith of the bus in your computer is where you might run into trouble. 8x burning is only about 2 minutes slower than 16x burning (as it is only burning at 16x for the last little bit of the burn) so if you run into problems with 16x, 12x or 8x might be a more resonable expectation with what you are working with.

you are throwing good money after bad, the weak link will always be the old laptop.
Even new laptops makes poor digital video machines.

Agree on that.
No matter what external components you use, if the lappy can’t handle them at max. possible speed, it’s just a waste of money.

Upgrade your existing internal optical drive to latest DVDRW. You’ll be able to burn at 8x even with a old PIII/600 laptop.

Comment to OP. Forget any 16x speed burning with external HDD’s and writers because it’s nogo if you dont have the latest Core Duo lappy with SATA.

Mmm, so, if I have two bus slots free, is it better to use two separate pc-card, one with usb ports and one with firewire ports, than just one combo card? I mean, not necesarily using both cards for burning, but if i have something connected to usb port on the same card where HDD and dvd are working on firewire, maybe it is better to have the usb running on a separate card? Anyway, at that point, if I will get two cards, could be interesting to try to connect the dvd via usb on one card and the HDD via firewire on the other card… or viceversa

8x burning is only about 2 minutes slower than 16x burning (as it is only burning at 16x for the last little bit of the burn)
Interesting, I didin´t knew this. I thought that if a 16 x burn at 16 just the last part of disc, a 8x should be the same, so, burn to 8x just the last part…
Anyway, that is not the big problem. To have a good burn and no conflicts or system crash or hard slow down is the first, and for waht people told me about two devices on usb in my system, I was quite scared…


Well, I can´t, my motherboard does not support writer, nor cd nor dvd writers… So, the only thing I could do would be to upgrade the internal HDD, but I like the idea of an external one because I can take it off when I am connected, and also, as it will have no OS (i would use the old internal one for OS), it would be not fragmented and slow…
Anyway, about the laptop, someone suggested me to sell the old one, add to this the money I would have spent on peripherals, and buy a new laptop with better ram, hdd, processor, video, and dvd writer incorporated. I will chek where i can sell it and real prices of notebooks…

I TOTALLY agree with your opinion of Sir Joe’s laptop.
BUT wow, are you ever confused about "laptops."
But then again, mine can’t really be used that way 'cause those three huge cooling fans in the bottom would probably suck the blue out of my jeans.

Anyway, I thought I would give it a shot and see just how fast I could burn using a USB HDD (WD 120 7200/2-MB Cache, which does 30 MB/s according to HD Speed) to a USB (PIO DVR-111D,8.25 f/w) burner.
Drumroll please…
Trashing one of those P.O.S. MIT D21’s, I maxed @ 13.1X.
Not bad, and better than y’all thought, huh??.. come on admit it.

I am convinced, though, that I can hit 16X using USB to 1394.
But… (hey, I got to have an excuse) I cannot keep my 1394 connection to that (new) box working.

In fact, I had a severe crash while trying that connection a while ago to do this and couldn’t even boot afterward (well, that might be stretching it a tad, but I did have to use “restore”… God, I love that function… but it wouldn’t boot normally).

And when I get this external box replaced, "I’ll be back!"
ImgBurn log attached.

burning is a piece of cake for any computer, I was talking about digital video, as in
firing up the after burners and maxing your cpu out for a couple of hours or more.
Or just straight ripping(transcode) from one hard drive to another in a couple of minutes. I know state of the art laps will do this, but state of the art desktops always blow them away. Anyway onboard video sucks

You are flat out wrong. It is all about INPUT/OUTPUT.
Nothing more.
How much data you can run through the box is the game when burning.
It all boils down to BUS speed in the end.
I don’t give two crap about how fast your drives or interfaces are, if it can’t move accross the bus that fast, the gain is worthless.

My “laptop” specs: 3.2 P4 HT, have OC’d to 3.8, but got tired of the fan(s) running, 800 MHz F.S.B. (the important part that moves the data), HDD 7200 RPM / 8-MB cache, Have RAM,too.
Hey, It’ll run for at least eighteen minutes on a new battery!!!.
Which accutally is kind of impressive because the power supply is a 165 watts, that can keep you warm in the winter.
Laptop? it could be done, but not competing with a desktop, NO PROBLEMO HERE.

Interesting discussion over here, I’ve seen it before and you can bet on it - it has all the ingredients to go on for a long time.

paperbender touched to point, but a bit out of focus. Some others also referred to other important aspects.

At the end it is the very old story - the maximum you can get it is determined by the worst link of the chain, no matter if it is the bus bandwidth, the HDD sustained transfer rate, the enclosure’s chipset (being it USB or firewire), the CPU, the memory, the DVD drive or the used media.

The important its is to be sure you can keep the data transfer flow needed to perform the task you want to.

But the reason main for this post is the above quote:

It used to be like that DaChew, but unless you want to perform very heavy video jobs one of the new laptops can do it (providing you get one with the right specifications).
Obviously - the movie studios use computer farms to proccess certain tasks that are out of reach even for the best desktop you can get, but I’m sure this is not what you’re talking about.

Firewire (400 or 800) and e-SATA can give you a continuos flow of data and this is important for video, specially if we are talking about AVI (uncompressed or with compression at MiniDV level), and are limited only by the bus or the drives (DVD and HDD) capacity.

USB - enters the I/O “race” and only buffer gives us the ilusion of a continuos stream.
But, even more important - USB devices connected to a controller share the 480 total capacity of this one, and if you have a USB 1 device connected it will slow down it’s USB 2.0 buds.
This can drive us to blame the wrong guy in the game.
Good choices and good luck.

Laptops are all about sacrifice, you sacrifice performance for size and power consumption. Next thing you know you need an external hard drive, external burner and you better keep the power plugged in. If you are into heavy duty computing
you need a work station class machine, I do a lot of movie backups and some avi capture to dvd encoding, the cpu is maxed much of the time.

For the same amount of money I would have spent on a premium laptop, I built 2 computers that probably produce 3 times the output.

That’s absolutely right DaChew, besides there are a few laptops with 2 HDD drives, for video editing you’ll need at least one external disk (preferably 2, one for temporary and one for encoded stuff), as using the system disk will slow the machine to death.
And, due to the energy saving schemmes you have to work with it plugged in. Otherwise your CPU capabilities are reduced in a noticeable way.
Also true cost wise - convenience come at a price!

yes a laptop should be a second or third computer, not a primary

Ok brothers,
I understand You all,
and I agree, but I have not the money to buy a new laptop now… :sad:
I could sell this one, and with that money more the one I should spend for these devices, and more some extra money, I could get a new laptop, with internal devices etc…
But, this extra money is the one I do not have… :frowning:
For this reason I was asking, with this notebook, what was the best choice.
If I understood well, Sata is the first, but very expensive.
Then firewire, which is a little bit more expensive than usb (for me, in total, would be $150 more). :eek:
I am quite decided for firewire, as I understood that Usb will not be a good choice in a old laptop…
So I will go for combo enclosures (do not know why, but the vendor here do not find just firewire ones)
The last questions could be these:

  1. considering that I have two pc-card slots free (both type II 32 bit), it shuld be better to buy two separate cards, one with firewire and one with usb, or a combo? I do not know if I will use both connection at same time, but, consider that yes. I suppose two card is better, but if use them same time, do not know if they are so slim to allow me to use them together…
  2. if i get a just firewire enclosure, and one day I need to use it on a usb port on another pc, there are cables or adapter to do this? :eek:

I am curious, how fast you can compress video using Shrink 3.2 in AEC mode, using your desktop.
I usually use Maximum Smoothness for movies 80% or less.

I can give you an extreme example of my notebook:
I did [I]Amazing Stories [/I] disc 4 today. Full disc, 52% compression.
Max Smoothness for high compression REALLY slows things down for me.
It analyzed at 11,200 KB/s and encoded at 1800 KB/s.

I’m just curious, if you can recall a similar compression on yours.