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What is your opinion on M-Disc's for backup?


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#1 sparklestar

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 10:22 PM

What do you guys think about M-Discs?

 

Does anybody use them in their backup regime? I'm thinking of using them for 'tier1' data (important documents, photos etc). Are they as good as they say? And do you need specific drives to burn them? (Like, do some drives make a less good M-Disc than others)



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#2 technonymous

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 11:21 PM

I have not used them. According to their FAQ http://www.mdisc.com/faq/ Yes, you need a cd drive that support M-disc DVD and M-disc Blueray since this is new technology by adding a new permanent layer in the disc. I am speculating that those types of dvd drives have a more agressive laser in them to burn the image to that hardened layer. However, I imagine that all dvd's are prone to plastic scratches etc. DVD's have come a long ways and have a very strong plastic and thick coating to protect the data. I tend to use rewritable dvd for critcal data because they seem thicker better quality than buying a pack of a 100 regular dvdr. I might have to try these. I do have dvd's that been sitting around a lot longer than 5 years. Even regular cdr's. Those are the ones you gotta be careful about the film label on on the back of them can flake right off the disk. One little pin hole or scratch on the back and that data is lost forever. I still got cd's that work clear back from 1995 because they have paint enamel on the back label of them protecting it. Even if they get scratched on the inside surface you can still get a cd buffer and buff those scratches out. So I don't really know if these really do work that long. I suppose as long as you don't use it as a frisbee afterwards or let kids walk on them on a hardwood floor lol



#3 sparklestar

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 06:49 AM

A couple things that sound good about them, is that, somehow (I don't fully understand how) the burn is more permanent, where as with regular optical media the ink layer can break down or something (as you are just burning darker ink spots or whatever). And they say that these ones deal with humidity and heat a lot better, and as I understand it one of the major reasons for optical discs failing (over time) is humidity affecting one of the inner layers.

 

A couple years ago I took all my old cd-r's and re-burned them to dvds. Even my very first cd-r from the mid 90's was still perfectly readable :P



#4 technonymous

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 12:25 AM

A couple things that sound good about them, is that, somehow (I don't fully understand how) the burn is more permanent, where as with regular optical media the ink layer can break down or something (as you are just burning darker ink spots or whatever). And they say that these ones deal with humidity and heat a lot better, and as I understand it one of the major reasons for optical discs failing (over time) is humidity affecting one of the inner layers.

 

A couple years ago I took all my old cd-r's and re-burned them to dvds. Even my very first cd-r from the mid 90's was still perfectly readable :P

I imagine it's some new secret patented layer in there they use. Yes, you are correct heat and moisture can warp/change the layer that holds the data. However, keeping dvd's in a dry room temp area and in individual jewel cases they seem to last forever. M-disc supported dvd drives prices are about the same. I looked on Newegg.com and found a drive that supports M-disc for $19.99 :::shrugs::: If they are better then great. If and when my dvd drive goes out i'll probably try them. To tell you the truth it's been a while since I seen a corrupt dvd. I take care of my dvd's. :)



#5 hamluis

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 11:13 AM

Well...IMO...backups are one thing...and this seems designed for other purposes.

 

The utility of a backup is probably less than a year, if there is any use by anyone at all on the system.  The routine changes of day-to-day computing...seemingly overcome the usefulness of committing any one backup to be available for more than 1 year, IMO.

 

Any backup is not really archived...it just serves a purpose until the next backup is made...which will reflect the most current status of system.

 

I would not think of using such for backup purposes.

 

Louis



#6 technonymous

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 02:45 PM

That is true unless they have cdrw you can rewrite to it over and over... This is mainly for keeping a backing up the most important personal records and storing it. Doing everyday differential or incremental backups to many cd's is unrealistic. It's best to leave that to a USB or network hardrive backup solution. There are some very affordable 4 hd raids you can get these days. LIke a Drobo or something. Once you get over the initial cost of buying the NAS box and first 4 drives drives you just swap out the 5 th HD like you would with any computer system with a failed HD. Unless you choose a Just a bunch of disks (JBOD) and just image backup like the majority of people do. That's what I do. I have the main hd with OS and internal backup with backup image and a external usb 3.0 with exact copy and I keep that one powered off to extend it's life. You can store data on a hd for two years powered off. However, if you plan to backup or refresh that backup you must copy over the data to another drive reformat and then copy the image back. This refreshes the magnetics on the surface of the platters. Then you can store it for a couple more years.



#7 sparklestar

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 05:18 PM

Yeah I guess I am using the word "backup" in a less encompassing way. What I really mean is one time archival, not weekly backups.



#8 Ram4x4

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 09:13 AM

Here's the basic scoop on M-Disc:

 

As a long term archival solution, it is currently the best media available (on the assumption the disks are as durable as claimed, and testing, even by the U.S. Navy seem to uphold that premise).  Google M-Disc torture testing, there's a lot of tests having been done on them.

 

Regular CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray disks that we're all familiar with use an organic dye as the burnable portion of the disk to record the data.  That organic dye degrades.  It literally begins to degrade the second you burn a disk (some argue that the dye begins to degrade the moment the disk is manufactured).  Years ago we were all told that recordable CD's and DVD's would be good for 100 years...but the truth is, they aren't.  With good grade media and careful storage they are reliable for 10-20 years.  Careless storage (like thrown around on a desk, layed in the open and exposed to sunlight, etc) 2-5 years.  Sure, some folks have disks that are much older and still work (even I do), but you can't rely on that, it's a crap shoot and those disks will continue to degrade and eventually be useless.

 

M-Disc changes all this.  The burnable portion of the disk is made of a mineral substance (some call them "rock" discs).  This substrate is an inert, inorganic layer that does not degrade over time.  They claim 1000 year life span, and the only reason it is 1000 years is because they will oxydize in that time due to the polycarbonate plastic layers...not because of the mineral data substrate.  Technically, the etched mineral layer has an indefinite lifespan.

 

To use an M-Disc does require a burner made for it.  The laser is more powerful than a standard burner to be able to etch the mineral data layer.  They are readable in regular drives though, although not 100% (then again, that same quandry exists even with the old style dye based disks).

 

In a sort of funny twist, you can think of M-Disc as literally being etched in stone, much like the old Flintstones cartoon where they chiseled out information on stone tablets.

 

I would not consider M-Discs a great backup solution (in terms of backing up systems, etc) because as mentioned, those backups are only good for a certain time frame (do you really want to keep a permanent system back up of your current I7-4590K based PC when in 5 years you're going to have a completely new system based on whatever is available then and whichever OS?).

 

M-Discs are, however a much better "archival" solution than current dye based disks.  As a hobbiest photographer, I have terabytes of photos to store.  I currently have a 4TB NAS on which they are all saved, but those are mechanical drives and they will fail.  M-Disc, for me, is a great solution for a much more permanent and reliable archiving solution for my photos. I also understand that the Library of Congress is in a mad rush to get a solution for archival storage as well to replace the burned disks they have.  I believe they are looking at M-Disc for that purpose.

 

Of course, M-Disc eventually will go the way of the old, original 1x CD's when newer, just as, or more permanent solutions get invented that hold 10 or 100x more data and are faster.  Unfortunately, that is the nature of technology.  No matter how great something is today, there will be bigger, better, faster solutions in the near future.  So, the question is, do you invest in M-Disc now and use it (with the potential to have better solutions in the future, and the cost to upgrade to that), or get M-Disc and stick with it?  M-Disc is a good long term solution now and will be viable as long as M-Disc media is available.

 

M-Disc media is still pricey.  I saw a 10 pack of BDXL M-Disc media (50GB per disk) for around $65.  That's at, or perhaps slightly over the per MB cost of modern mechanical 500GB hard drives, but...we're trading cost for long term archival storage fidelity.  Right now, it's absolutely an affordable format for anyone wanting or needing reliable long term archiving of files and data.  Hopefully, the media prices will come down a little as time goes on, at least as newer technology comes out.

 

I did find the following interesting article from 2013 about a possible new technology that could replace M-Disc.  360TB discs, based on crystaline recording substrates:

 

http://www.dailytech.com/Scientists+Create+360+TB+Superman+Crystal+Discs/article31933.htm

 

So, the bottom line:  If you have data that you need or want to keep, basically the rest of your life, and you need to save it to media that will reliably archive it without a lot of worry as to whether it will be readable in 10, 20 or 50 years, M-Disc is a viable solution available now.

 

Good burners that support Blu-Ray BDXL M-Disc format are hitting the $60-$80 price range.  With M-Disc media running around $6 per 50GB disk when you buy them in bulk packs (or cheaper single layer 25GB disks) it's not a huge hit to the wallet to ensure your important data is reliably archived.



#9 Zx52655

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 04:01 PM

Has anyone tried this out, I would like to know your experience with it.

 

Also, does anyone know where I can check to see if my DVD burner will burn M-Disc DVD? I've tried contacting the company but they haven't responded.



#10 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 05:43 PM

Can't help with experience of M discs, but if you find out the make and model of your present burner and then Google 'Make and model' +'specs' you should find the answer to your question. Basically if the specs don't say it can burn M discs then it almost certainly can't.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#11 Zx52655

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the quick response. The DVD burner I have is Plextor PX-891SAW and it says it can burn M-Disc's here:

 

http://www.vinpowerdigital.com/main/product.aspx?CategoryID=105&SubCategoryID=288&Keyword=PX-891SAW






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