What burner can I use on a very slow PC?

Hi. My name is Tony and I’m a federal employee in the Washington, DC area. I appreciate the opportunity to ask for advice on this forum.

I have an old Sony Vaio laptop with a Celeron 600 MHZ CPU, Windows 2000, 256MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive. I see from most burner’s specification sheets that they require faster systems than I have – some as high as Pentium 4, 2.8 GHZ CPU with 512MB RAM and 10GB of free drive space. What do you think, would any kind of burner run OK on my system notwithstanding the stated requirements?

I only want to use this burner to back up data – e.g., run a full backup of my 10-GB hard drive using Norton Ghost and back up an external hard drive containing camera photos. I am NOT interested (until I get a new computer next winter) in converting DV video to MGPEG2 and burning the compressed video to DVD.

However, if possible, I would like to use the DVD RAM and dual-layer (DL) functions that some burners have.

Would it matter if I used the firewire input on my computer instead of USB2 (which I added using a PCMCIA card)? Does firewire require less system overhead than USB2 and, more important, enough to make a difference for my particular setup?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

This may help some but i am no expert…As far as processing power or dvd burning capabilities If you are only burning data this really should be easily do-able with your laptop…even a cheapy samsung and walmart media will burn reliable data backups…as for usb vs. firewire i think any differances will be offset by your machine…in other words using either interface woulkd be fast enough to support your burner and processor

Thank you, earlbert.

I used to copy DVD’s (on the fly) on a celeron 300 + liteon 812 & 320MB ram at 8x.

From the HD though, it’d only reach 4x reliably, without stopping & starting.

USB2 is very CPU intensive, and generally not a good idea for burners. Use the firewire, if you can.

Firewire was designed for one thing -> Streaming massive amounts of video data between 2 (or a low number of) devices across a (cheap) serial link. It was later adapted to low bandwidth uses like external HD’s & Optical drives :slight_smile:
USB was designed for interconnecting lots of devices requiring low bandwidth. Large amounts of overhead are required to poll the USB chain. Devices wait for a long time to be polled, for their miniscule window of opportunity to actually do something useful … much like budding hollywood actors.
USB2 = USB overclocked @ 40x the speed. So now all USB2 devices can hurry up and wait.

So now all USB2 devices can hurry up and wait.

I like that…

Thank you.

Do you think that LG’s GSA-5163D (please see attached PDF) would work on my slow system? LG’s specs indicate Pentium 4 with 512MB RAM, but do you think I could use this drive (even it’s dual-layer and RAM features) on my computer? Again, not for video editing but just for hard-drive backup.

I don’t mind burning at slower speeds, e.g., the 4x speed that debro referenced in his prior reply. But would I buy media geared toward my burner’s maximum speed and then let the burner gear down to 4x, or buy media optimized for the lower speed?

So that’s two more questions. Sorry for my naivete. I’m new at this burner stuff!

Thanks again.

GSA-5163D.PDF (77 KB)

Using your dvd burner to back up your data isn’t very cost effective, when you consider that you can get an external enclosure for around $15.00, and a 100gb HD on sale for about $49.00, and back up your entire system. for around $65.00. My first backup I did to dvd, took up 31 dvd’s (compressed). That was at a cost of approx. $25.00. Now each additional backup will be more. Over a short time, I would easily exceed the cost of backing up to an external drive, where I can do incremental backups, or rewrite, over and over. I currently have two complete systems backed up onto one external HD, which cost me $79.00.

Thanks for the recommendation to assemble an external hard drive. Actually, I’m already using an external drive but want to back up that drive with something safer – in case the external hard drive dies. (I have all my digital photos on the external drive and don’t want to risk losing them if the drive goes belly up.) Also, my computer’s internal hard drive is only 10GB, so I’m figuring that modest compression through Ghost and a dual-layer drive will let me do a full backup of the computer’s internal drive onto one DVD (rather than the several CDs that I get now).

What I do with something as important as family photos, that you absolutely cannot lose, is back them up on external hard drive and stored away from computer in safe place (like fire proof safe or off site) AND back them up on dvd AND back them up on cd. If you bought a 100gig hdd (which are fairly inexpensive) you could back up 10gig 10 or 15 times over. If the drive starts getting bad clusters the info is somewhere else. I don’t think any media is safer. They all have their good points and bad but if you use hdd, dvd and cd then you have double redundantancy and if one fails or two fails then redo it or them with the other. Sounds excessive but I make sure I do not lose a single photo or video that is irreplacable.

Don’t do the classic newbie issue then. Make sure you use high quality media.
Use Taiyo Yuden or Mitsubishi (Verbatim Datalife PLUS or Pastels).
Check out the Bargains thread for advice getting this stuff in your area :slight_smile:

Excellent choice.
The LG’s drives come highly recommended.
Yes it will work on practically ANY PC. however, the stipulation is that your HardDisk must be able to keep up with the burner, but at 4x, it shouldn’t be a problem over firewire or USB2.

USB (the old standard) is very slow, approx 12Mb/s = 1.2MB/s or so throughput. 4x DVD = approx 5.2MB/s
If you don’t have firewire or USB2 currently on your PC, I’d recommend also buying a cheap PCI combo card (which has USB2 & IEEE1394[firewire]) for approx $20Au / $15US.

You can use higher speed media at 4x, but higher speed media is more expensive. If you are burning at 4x, try to get 4x media, unless the 8x (or higher) speed media is similarly priced, or cheaper :slight_smile:
I suspect 4x media is now being phased out, but 8x price is dropping anyway :iagree:

High quality media like Taiyo Tuden (TY) can generally be burned above the rated speed (overspeed) anyway, if you want to go higher :wink:

Oops, PCMCIA, if you don’t have at least USB2 :wink: