BRAVO TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Bravo Analysis: R Media vs. RW Media

by  Sam C. Chan

 
Last Revised: 8/1/05   Deprecated: 7/1/2009, remains for archival purposes

Applies to:

  • CDR vs CDRW
  • DVD+R vs DVD+RW
  • DVD-R vs DVD-RW

PROS AND CONS OF R

BETTER COMPATIBILITY & RELIABILITY
Disc WRITE success rate is around 98%, vs 90% with RW. You stand a fairly high chance of a certain brand of RW not usable with your particular drive. After successful "burn" of the disc, READ success rate at various drives is around 99% for R and 95% for RW. Long-term readability deteriates at lower rates for R.

HIGHER WRITE SPEED
Most drives will write to R faster than to RW. No difference in Read speed. There's also the time spent in erasing, but it's not an attended process. Start it and let it complete.

ONE-TIME, NON-REUSABLE
R COST is much higher than RW for frequent use.
See http://bravotech.us/info/stomediacost.htm for my cost analysis. For a typical scenario of backup scheme with 10x daily + 10x weekly rotation, the total media cost is $63 for RW, vs $315 for R. Figures based on 3-year period factoring in a 40% failure/replacement rate for DVD+RW and 5% spoilage/failure rate for DVD+R.

SUMMARY

  • R is simpler.
  • R is slightly more reliable.
  • RW has low tolerance on specific drive and media compatibility
  • RW is much cheaper and earth-friendly.
  • RW is more complex: Must keep track of recycle schedule and perform erase.

RECOMMENDATIONS

For routine & frequent daily/weekly backups, RW media should be used. Occasionally, that should be supplemented by R media. Typical scenarios:

  • Archival (permanent) backups.
  • Infrequent Monthly/Quarterly/Annual backups or Off-site copy.
  • Just before high risk operations, such as upgrade, etc.
  • Ad hoc data transfer (for clients/vendors/branch offices).
  • Creating experimental disc, requiring numerous revisions.

See Also:

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