Okay, here's a short and skinny version of the story thus far:
Sometime many years ago when 4x CDR was king, I did a lot of research and decided to pick up the newly-released HP 8200i CDRW burner. It's worked flawlessly for me, producing disks that were readable in any system I put them in, and has made only about three coasters (all Memorex, my aunt had picked them up, and they hade errors seemingly within hours of burning...while CMC Imations burned back then still remain error-free to this day -- go figure.)
A couple days ago, I burned a disk, and doing Windiff file-compares to the source, found that a file was unreadable. I did another burn, and it was okay when I tested it on my Encore DVD drive, but the HP 8200i that wrote it suddenly would refuse to even read the disk. Inserting it would cause the light to flash and never go anywhere beyond that.
I searched around on usenet and discovered a link to cdmediaworld.com where I found out that certain media wear faster with age; and that the disks I had been using were in the "bad" catagory. I remember back in the 80s and 90s when they said the life of a CD would outlive the life of the owner; so as you can imagine, to learn these hundreds of disks that I made hoping to pass them on to my grandchildren, and then their grandchildren, were going to go bad in 5-20 years...It was shocking to say the least. So now I have to backup all my CDs, even ones I've already backed up, for the day when they'll eventually die...
I continued doing research and made my way onto this board, where my searches found a post saying to use NeroCDSpeed to check disks for errors. I popped in a disk I made a month ago, there were over 300,000 C2 errors before it was even 50% done (thankfully, no file errors.) Then I popped in a disk that I burned back in 2000, same media - CMC Imation, and the disk had zero C2 errors. I handle all my disks perfectly, never allowing even one scratch, so it was obvious the problem is that my CDRW has been dying for quite a while.
Now I'm in the market for a DVDR burner, and hoping to have one by the end of the week. But it's a lot more complicated to find the best DVDR than it was a CDRW four and a half years ago. I'm not talking about the formats like the -/+ or the speeds, but rather the compability. It's important to me that any disk I burn, be it DVD or CD, work in any drive I put it in, and read the disk without problems. It's also important to me that I can backup my Safedisk 2.8+ disks so that I'll be able to use them without emulation such as Blindwrite's Autoplay.
These last four days of research has compiled the stress with confusion, as I've gone from site to site, post to post, review to review, and getting conflicting results. As well as the fact that I can understand CDSpeed's graph (yellow line=disk error) but can't make heads or tails out of what these Parity Inner/Outer graphs mean. So before I rip my hair out, I thought I'd post for help.
At the beginning, I had my eye set on Toshiba's R5002, which has received good reviews and can backup Safedisk 2.8+. Of course, the R5002 is a hard find these days (even pricewatch only lists four stores with it) now that Toshiba has released the R5112. I would prefer the R5112 since it's newer and faster, but unfortunately, nobody any posters or reviewers seems to have the R5112 as I cannot find any posts/reviews of it, so I don't know if it it can backup Safedisk 2.8 or not.
Up until a couple hours ago, I thought I would go with either the R5002 or R5112, but then I find a bunch of posts talking about how some disks burned with it couldn't even be read on it a couple days afterwards. Not something I really want to hear... So I'm back at the beginning and at the end of my rope. I looked up other drives like Plextors', and they have their own share of problems...
So I'm asking if anyone can tell me what they consider the best DVDR drive for what I want. It can be either a DVD-R or a DVDÂ±R (it doesn't matter to me if it has DVD+R or not, as I'll only be using DVD-R -- like I said, compatability is most important to me, and a DVD-R disk that's 91% compatable with drives is more important to me than a DVD+R disk that's only 86%.) High-speed is a plus, but it should be able to write DVD-R and CD-R that can be played back in the most drives as possible, read disks without problem, and backup Safedisk 2.8+ so they can be used without emulation.