What is the life span of DVD-Roms?

  Dr Lecter 18:42 05 Apr 03
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Hi there, my DVD-ROM is a Creative 5X (circa 1998). I was wondering if its worth upgrading to a 15X or 16X. If it is yes would you recommend LG or Samsung?. It is beginning to have problems reading certain DVD Videos and also it is taking its time to install games/Applications. I have used a CD/DVD cleaner. Many thanks.

  Gaz W 00:23 06 Apr 03

Your existing drive could be showing signs of age. I think you can get a cleaner for the actual lens. Are you sure the problems aren't associated with region encoding? Has it always taken time to install your programs or has it only just started and the DVD drive appears to be struggling to read the discs?

Your DVD-ROM drive is probably 6x. The only DVD-ROM speeds I've actually heard of are 1x, 6x, 12x and 16x, but if yours is 5x I'm not going to argue with that.

With a 12x or 16x DVD-ROM drive, the speed for reading CDs and DVD-ROMs will obviously be faster. You won't notice any difference if you are using the drive to watch DVD movies. I have a 12x Artec (3 or 4 years old) and a 16x LG (12 months old) and I must admit that the Artec one seems a bit better build quality - the tray comes out very smoothly and it is fairly quiet. The LG is a good drive, but the tray sounds a bit rougher and is quite loud. However, I've seen other LG drives of a different design (more rounded off buttons, etc) that are quieter opening and closing the tray, but the same reading.

  Dr Lecter 00:43 06 Apr 03

Hello m8, thanx for the reply. My DVD ROM is Model Creative PC-DVD DVD 5241E. It has a big 5X on the front. I only watch Region 1 DVDs on the PC,as i have a fully fledged DD Home cinema set up. Yea what is happening lately i will put a CD in, it starts to spin and MAYBE 2 mins later it will start playing. Another time if i install an APL/Game the progress bar sticks at random %. If i eject and try again it is ok. This has been happening for some time now so i suspect it is getting old or the lens is dirty. I will pop down to Maplins/PC World and buy a purpose built cleaner and see how it gets on. BTW the DVD software i use is Power DVD.Many thanks for your help. I will keep you updated. - John.

  Gaz W 01:26 06 Apr 03

I found some information on your Creative DVD drive. I had never heard of a 5x DVD-ROM drive before!

click here - I think this is showing that the performance of the drive is not actually 5x, but I'm not sure how they worked it out.

Maybe it would be a good idea to go with this site's results when choosing a DVD-ROM drive if you decide to replace yours.

I'm no expert on CD/DVD drives when they go wrong, and personally I would just replace one if I didn't think it was performing as well as it used to and there was nothing I could do.

If you have tried the drive with perfectly clean discs that work, and you are sure that it is beyond repair, consider a replacement. You will notice a difference in speed, especially when copying large quantities of data (installing applications, etc). I have an 8x CD-ROM drive in one PC which is at least 6 years old and is still perfectly OK, but you can definitely tell the difference compared to the 52x I have in another and my DVD drives.

Since DVD drives are available for less than £30, it is well worth considering replacing your existing drive with a new one that is likely to be more reliable and possibly able to open newer types of recordable DVD media. I've noticed newer drives seem to be much better at reading discs - a slight scratch on a disc could bother an oldish drive but with a newer one would just carry on as if it wasn't there.

Like I say though, I'm no expert on DVD drives and yours could well just require cleaning.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the usual stuff about checking the cable, etc.

  Gaz W 01:26 06 Apr 03

Sorry about the size of that last post!

  Stuartli 09:23 06 Apr 03

It's unlikely that a laser lens needs cleaning as drives are normally fully enclosed and the tray is generally opened and closed quickly.

CD and DVD-ROM drives don't have an exceptional life span, rewriters even less, as proved by my own experience and the MTF figures provided by manufacturers.

Most drives are rebadged versions from specialist manufacturers and, to find out who makes who and who rebadges them, go to click here and click here for drives and also CD/DVD media. Quite fascinating...:-)

A great choice for a DVD-ROM drive is the Pioneer 116 - superb quality at a price which has now dropped to around £30.

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