I used to download local copies of webpages, with a few thousand 1-50kb files. I don’t remember them ever dropping the buffer on cd’s, but they do with dvd’s and blurays. I’ve resorted to zipping them but I want to try and figure this out once and for all. I don’t think cacheing would help, because they’re already on the hard drive? Or is it natural for my buffer to drop because it’s just waiting to load enough small files to burn? (e.g burning at 4mB/s, it waits until 4mB of files are loaded)
If you have an SSD, I suggest placing the folder of small files on it. As SSDs are designed to handle small transfers of many 10,000 x 4KB IOPS per second, the SSD will get around the read bottleneck. Alternatively, if you have plenty of RAM, you can try creating a RAMDrive to store the folders of small files on, e.g. a 1GB RAMDrive if you’ve under 1GB of small files to write.
If you’re using ImgBurn, you could try increasing the buffer size. It’s 80MB by default, but can be increased to 1024MB. Go into the Tools menu, select ‘Settings’, then the ‘I/O’ tab, ‘Page 2’ tab below and drag the ‘Buffer size’ to the end. The side effect is that it will take longer to begin writing as ImgBurn will first read 1GB of data into memory before it starts burning the disc. However, when it reaches the small files, the 1GB will give 1 to 2 minutes of burn time (with DVD) as it fetches the small files. Even if the buffer runs out, this will reduce the number of start/stop cycles.
You can also slow down the burn speed to mitigate the relatively slow IOPS for small files you are experiencing.