OK I'm not going to ask for the best software choice and I'm not going to ask for the best hardware choice - I am going to tell a quick story and ask the question in the title.
12 months ago I bought a Liteon 411 for coying DVDs. I usually like to copy either my own movies to cut out all the nonsense or rented movies so that I can watch at my leisure and not just mid-week when the stock is in.
I've used DVD Decrypter and Instant copy for a while but 50% of what I copied to DVD -R (Ritek) were rubbish. (stop in main player GX300)
I then took the action of changing to a NEC 3530 last week as I was sick of this coaster business. I only copy one a week on average but it was bugging me. I tried same software and it again failed on first attempt. It completes copying but then wont play in DVD player (Sony GX300) - stops, skips, blocks etc etc. still using G05 Riteks.
I then moved to use AnyDVD and Nero recode. This again failed on first attempt (using NEC drive and Ritek G05 DVD-R). I was writing at 8x direct to disc.
I then tried writing to hard-drive and then burning to disc. Failed again at 8x. By the way I am now using Nero scandisk to validate and write verify - both fail.
I then tried writing to hard-drive and then burning to disc (still with Nero) at 4x. Gues what ? the first one worked.
btw - I was using Layer cake R2 as source disc, but I've had same issue with 24 season 1, disc 6 this weekend.
My question is therefore is it usually the write part of the process that fails and not the coding part? If so then the safest option is therefore to write as slowly as possible? Thats my question - is the write always the critical link and does using 2x or 4x make sense to keep it as safe as possible?
At least I now have a verify option in Nero - so I can check for coasters before I sit down with the better half on a Friday nite.
PS. System is AMD XP3000, WinXP Pro, SP2, MSI Nforce 2 MB, 1Gig Ram.