DVD-RAM 9.4GB

DVD-RAM arrived on the scenea couple of years ago – slap-bang in the middle of a lot of confusion about DVD standards. Now that DVD-Video is taking off in the UK, this may serve to confuse things even more. The first DVD-RAM drive back then was from LaCie. Now the format has doubled in capacity, and LaCie is again the first to bring it to the Mac. The already roomy 4.7GB standard now weighs in at 9.4GB per disk, though that includes both sides of the disk. It also uses the FireWire interface for fast and simple connection.The whole range of DVD products is bewildering. Originally DVD meant digital-video disc. This would have been fine, except somebody had the bright idea of using the disc for data. It was duly renamed digital-versatile disc, even though most people had already got used to the original name. Then came the flavours. DVD-ROM, the read only format, is fairly straightforward – it’s like a CD-ROM on steroids. Then there were the recordable DVD standards – though “standard” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to DVD. Add to that DVD-Audio and DVD-WORMs and you can see the mishmash of options. What it is
So for the record, DVD-RAM is a recordable-storage format for data. It will read most DVD discs and CDs, but you will not be able play DVD-Video from an external DVD-RAM drive. This is because the Apple DVD player doesn’t recognize the DVD-RAM if it isn’t Apple’s own. What DVD-RAM does do is hold huge amounts of data, making it ideal for backing-up data. A 9.4GB disc stores data on both sides, so it needs to be flipped over manually. The only thing stopping drives being built with read-write abilities for both sides of the disc is price. The problem with even the lower end Macs shipping with a 10GB hard drive is back up. Floppies are long gone, and you would need a stack of them. Even Zip 250 disks are not up to the job of backing up anymore. Using CDs to back up is a fairly cheap way of doing it, and Jaz 2GB is convenient and quick – though expensive. There is the option of using large-format optical drives, which are also expensive but faster than the DVD-RAM. The new large format DVD-RAM is the cheapest and most convenient way to back up your hard drive.

OUR VERDICT

There is a huge choice for removable storage, but most are suited to moving files between computers, rather than as back up. Often the only realistic way to handle backup for machines with such huge drives is to use tape drives. However, tape drives are slow and difficult to use in comparison with DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM has reached a point where it’s indispensable for both personal and network back-ups.

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