While digging through my old images trying to find early CDFreaks screenshots, I came across a few pictures of an external DVD writer I had a lend of around May 2003:
As the owner was an Apple Mac fan, he had this LaCie external DVD writer which connected by Firewire. I think he said it cost about â‚¬1000 new.
A Verbatim 2x DVD-R was â‚¬5 and a Memorex DVD-R was â‚¬6.50 per disc. As I was finishing up college, I used it to archive my all my college-related files such as projects, assignments, etc. As DVD-Rs were expensive, I filled the rest of the disc with various other stuff I wanted to backup so it was full to the brim, going by this screenshot I kept from the time:
I could not find any specifications on the drive, but if anyone else is curious on scouring the web, the actual drive was a Matshita LF-D310 going by the above screenshot. What I do know is that it wrote DVD-RAM and I was only able to burn DVD-R at 1x only. It did not support DVD-RW. It did not support DVD+R or DVD+RW, as I do know it was not possible to get multi-format drives at the time.
This is also the only DVD-RAM capable drive I've used that took DVD-RAM in a cartridge (shown here with a bare disc in the tray):
The owner had one DVD-RAM disc (Panasonic LM-HB47):
I found the DVD-R I recorded at the time and impressively it still reads back fine. I used ImgBurn to make an image of it and my DVD drive didn't slowdown throughout the disc.
The following is a screenshot of the DVD-R info from ImgBurn: