Beware of PC Line 100 pack CD-R from Dixons & PCWo

  Argonoss 17:29 21 Mar 04

This is a warning for anyone contemplating buying PC-Line 100 700Mb CD-R Spindles.

I bought this pack a while back, from Dixons in Birmingham Bullring as they were doing a special offer on them. These are the worst CD-R's I have ever bought. 50% of them had HOLES in the data area, the remainder were ok however some had problems where it was plainly evident that the dye PHYSICALLY RAN during the manufacturing process.

I used the ones which were OK only to find that after the a few weeks HUGE HOLES (10MM sqr & greater) began developing in the data area, rendering the CD-R's unreadable.

Problem is I cant locate my reciept and binned the faulty ones.I paid by Solo so I don't think I'm protected. Should I got to trading standards ? I feel I've been cheated.

  Looking over IT 17:33 21 Mar 04

Its strange because Ive used these spindle packs for a while and Ive never had any problems with them. Perhaps its just luck of the draw. I dont think you wil be covered by Solo and as the discs are general not high value I doubt many card companies would cover it anyway, I supose the only thing to do is take it on the chin and learn from your mistake, and not lose the reciepts from your future purchases.

  mikef. 17:40 21 Mar 04

It happens unfortunately, we use high quality medical CD's at work and recently had to return a whole box as most were faulty, plus it's not unusual for one or two in a box fail to record.

As PCLine is a PCWorld brand, I think, you could try returning them without the receipt and see what they say, they should have a computer record of your payment.

  Forum Editor 18:23 21 Mar 04

you stand a good chance of gertting some satisfaction, and even if you don't at least you'll have tried.

Buying cheap CD blanks is always a risky business, and is never something you should do if you plan to archive any data of value. I constantly meet clients who can't understand why they can't read the backup CDs they made a year or so ago - then they tell me they used ultra-cheap spindle blanks to backup their Sage data.

  shizzy 18:33 21 Mar 04

What sort of price would you expect to pay for good reliable discs please.

  IClaudio 19:35 21 Mar 04

I hope the FE won't mind me answering that one too!

In the audio world, masters are often delivered on CD - it's not something I normally recommend to my clients, as the medium is so easily compromised, either by bad manufacturing of the original disc as we've seen here, or by incompatibility between the recording machine at the studio and the reading machine at the duplicator. The integrity of the master CD can be checked, but the machines capable of this are very expensive and so CD masters are usually sent off untested. For the record, I will always urge the client and the pressing plant to accept masters on Exabyte or AIT tape, which are more robust and self-verifying (and a print-out is very easily made at the originating studio).

But reliable reference CDs must be made (it's still, after all, the most convenient carrier for music) and many pressing plants still will not accept Exabyte (it requires real-time play-in to the glass master, whereas they can transfer a CD at many times real speed - which means that no-one listens to the recording...). In this situation, I never use cheap CD blanks and I'm quite willing to pay £1 or more, as it is just not worth the hassle to try and trim the cost of blanks down to the cheapest I can find.

It's not only the cost of the blanks that matter. I have used £1 blanks from a very highly-thought of supplier in the UK, which turned out to be a nightmare, with clicks and dropouts throughout - of course, the manufacturer had found them to be 'completely reliable in our tests'. I find that TDK CD-RXG 80 minute blanks are the best-sounding *on my equipment* and others have found this too.

If your data is important, you have to invest important money!

PS: For what it's worth, I have a spindle of PC World 80 min discs, and they have been totally reliable for data backup since I bought them a year or so ago. Hope I won't be proved wrong a couple of years down the line!

  whatsupdoc 20:13 21 Mar 04

and the customers never ending quest to get everything down to a price doesn't help. i use tdk on audio and (don't laugh) Mr data from asda at 3.99 inc cases for 10 and i use about 10-20 a week and never had one fail in nearly 2 yrs.

but I've had some very expensive disks where half have been useless and i find that most failures occur on CD-rw.

  shizzy 21:16 21 Mar 04

Looks like a bit of trial and error then. We are using Phillips at the moment and so far ok, but as you say we just have to hope they still read in the future. I do do two copies of my photos in case one gives up.

  Steinman 22:18 21 Mar 04

Take them back. If you can't find the receipt then take a copy of SOLO statement. However,as its their own brand,(as I once said to a Tesco staff member regarding a Tesco branded product when asked where I got a returned product from ),-could not have bought them elsewhere! I think common sense should prevail in the shop.

  Forum Editor 22:51 21 Mar 04

that TDK blanks are excellent, and that it's well worthwhile investing in high-quality CDs where valuable data is concerned. Many things can affect CD blank reliability - the thickness of the dye layer, the thickness of the reflective layer and the stability of the dye are just few, and although it's not unknown for quality blanks to fail it's far less likely to happen.

  Djohn 23:01 21 Mar 04

PC World are quite helpful at changing faulty items even without a receipt. If you can remember the date or close to it when you bought them. They can trace the purchase on their system.

They did this for me when I took a faulty item back without a receipt, I was lucky in that I bought the item on my birthday so could remember the exact date. They looked on their sales/stock system and found it straight away. All they needed was the sales code number so that they could refund/replace with new.

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