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LightWorker01 05-17-2019 07:01 PM

Doubts about M-Disc? Worth it, but as additional copy?
I notice much scepticism here about M-Disc. Much of which is not unfounded.

But does anyone here think it makes a good additional copy? The lack of a reflective layer is what sold me the idea, and the fact that it 'etches' as opposed to burns dye with some kind of hard layer (making it closer to a factory-pressed disk, and needs a more powerful laser to write). 1000 years? nah, the glue will fail long before then, as will we. Our society won't be here in 1000 years as we know it!

I use verbatim AZO and M-Disc as a duplicate. I believe there is promise in such a technology, and testing my burns I was happy with them as an addition. Worth the premium? Not sure, i will check back in many years. I will say that the verbatim Azo disks I used as a child and even the RW disks were worth their premium, still readable today with very few errors on a couple of disks (one was a RW disc with severe damage, one was an AZO disc that was not stored too well (was lost, and found inside the sofa years later!), and no errors on most (both RW and R discs all well stored), being 15 years old some of them.

The secrecy behind it and the overmarketing doesn't give much confidence, but if the claims are even half true (and some guy tested by leaving them outside to see what they could handle):

Tells me there is some credibility in there about the layers they are using and the fact it needs a more powerful laser to etch it and no reflective layer to fail, but it is not for 1000 years, that is garbage. And even so, why keep only a single copy? I talk about the DVD's mostly, as HTL blu-ray seems to result in a much more chemically stable result than standard dye on a DVD, so I doubt the M-Disc having much of an advantage for blu-ray unless stored in harsh environments.

I have planned a similar test, taking different brands and dye types ( M-Disc, cheap ass disks, Fuji Oxinol, Verbatim Azo, RW, RE, and whatever disks, and leave them exposed to a british summer outdoors) and see what happens when exposed to such conditions.

I do think for general use, Fuji Oxinol Ritek and for archival, Verbatim Azo are more than good enough for most needs. But isn't an additional copy of crucial data on an M-Disc worth the shot at it? I keep three disc masters of each project: 1. Verbatim Azo / 2: Ritek Oxinol discs 3: M-Disc - Coupled with HDD storage and cloud storage/offsite/onsite. I could use TY disks, but I have loads of Ritek Oxinol discs I got for 20 pence from a boot sale, and will use them until I am out! I used to avoid ritek like the plague as a kid, but they have cleaned up their poo and the Oxinol dye sounds good.

I will confess i use BD-RE XL discs sometimes for backups, that backup set saved my ass recently for client projects when cloud backups, primary drive, and secondary backup drive failed me.

And for pictures, printing them on low-fade materials is the best way of long term storage. Printed cannot be beaten if it isn't video, pigment inks and good quality paper (wilhelm institute has good info on these). They will be view able long after readers vanish.

Verbatim AZO is tried/tested and should be the go-to for any crucial projects. But M-Disc is worth a shot for an additional of crucial projects, in my opinion. Just verify your burns, ensure they are good, and chill! They are expensive though, not for non-crucial projects :)

I think its worth the punt, mostly because of the lack of a reflective layer, even if the marketing claims are a bit dubious as if they are even half true they will be quite stable, though the 'glue' is a problem as is the lack of info about their blu-ray discs. I never bought into the 'gold' discs, as it was obvious at the time, the lower reflective may cause problems.

Is there anything I am missing? Not intending to ruffle feathers, as this seems to be a polarising issue. Is there anything I am missing with these discs? Personally I wouldn't trust them for a sole copy, but then again I won't ever do a sole copy.

lordsmurf 05-17-2019 10:15 PM

No offense to our UK members, but they have no idea what heat and humidity are. So unless you're that far north on the globe, the test is somewhat invalid. Come to the southern half of the USA or Mexico (sub-tropical), or South America (tropical). That's heat and humidity. I've lived farther north, it's quite nice, no real heat/humidity, but too cold for me. Much of the orient is also sub-tropical, but worse, often no AC/heat in use. So the bulk of the worst failed media come from that part of the world.

I'm fine with M-Disc being 1 of several types of media used for a backup. The main optical should still be TY or MCC/MKM, but an added optical M-Disc is fine. Add a HDD in there as well. Print out important documents and photos.

M-Disc marketing claims are mostly BS.

There's worse media.

I probably should use more BD-R myself. I have the drive, and the media, but just seem to backup to HDD more than not. I never liked living my life 15 minutes at a time, waiting for discs to burn. It can take hours, or even days. I really do not miss the 00s era of burning zillions of DVDs.

I find your approach very pragmatic. :)

lainalex 07-16-2019 10:04 AM

Are M-Disc worth it? Extra cost?

Minus the claims made by the guy that stuck them outside and what everyone else has read. Have there been any substantial claims on how long the M-Disc last compared to traditional offline media.

I would say that if the M-Disc last 10+ years longer than traditional DVD / Blu-Ray than its probably worth the investment. Or do you take the leap of faith and trust what they are saying is true?

dpalomaki 07-16-2019 08:08 PM
Is the only detailed test report I've seen. It reads good, but keep in mind that it is applicable to the test conditions documented, and may or may not fit typical user storage/use conditions.

In summary the recorded layer is durable, the rest of the disc *(glues, plastic, etc) are subject to their technology limitations which may not match the durability of the recorded (etched) layer. Thus the disc might fail before the burned layer fails. But at least that represents one less near term failure mechanism to worry about.

The Wikipedia piece on the M-DISC is interesting reading.

And blank media is relatively cheap, most content is not, so backups on different media makes good sense. I include M-DISC in my bag of media as well as Verbatim and used TY/JVC while it was available..

latreche34 07-18-2019 10:44 AM

I don't think optical media will last 10 more years, It will be all SSD and memory, Makes no sense to worry about 1000 years when the drives will no be available few years from now.

dpalomaki 07-18-2019 12:11 PM


Originally Posted by latreche34 (Post 62612)
I don't think optical media will last 10 more years, It will be all SSD and memory, Makes no sense to worry about 1000 years when the drives will no be available few years from now.

Probably not as a first choice for future distribution or for new archives. But for today it is still a reasonable alternative for distribution, and for archiving to multiple formats. (SSD is erasable by electronic impulses, and the physics lends itself to gradual decay.) Also consider that players are still available for VHS, 8mm, vinyl, reel-to-reel, 8-track, compact cassette, not to mention lacquer and other older formats (78, 45, 33 1/3, 16 2/3) to those who thought about it as the formats lost popularity and didn't trash their gear.

Some formats like 8-track cartridges were doomed due to serious flaws in the implementations. And not so long ago discarded compact cassettes were the #1 road side trash (after beer cans, thanks to tape eaten by in-car players).

Winsordawson 07-19-2019 12:21 PM

I personally use M-disc as one of multiple different backup media formats. But if you are not paranoid about storing your data in the cloud (I have nothing anyone would want), you should consider a cold storage backup such as Microsoft Azure Storage, Amazon Glacier, or Google Coldline. They are priced quite cheaply at $0.004 for Microsoft and Amazon and $0.007 for Google per GB, and promise 99.9999% durability (even more 9s, but I forget how many). Those who doubt optical media will be around ten years from now would probably also recognize the expansion of cloud storage at that time.

There are other, smaller cold storage companies out there, but if they go under, you will have to download and re-upload all your files to another enterprise.

LightWorker01 07-23-2019 07:44 AM

To the one who mentioned SSDs, no way on this god forsaken earth would I trust them for archival use.

They work by trapping electrons in the cells or forcing them out during writes. It seems to me based on my understanding that over time those electrons could 'leak' out. I have plugged in memory cards from my childhood that have NO issues whatsoever, some going on at least 20 years old, a PS1 memory card I got when I was 4 and some old camera memory cards.

But, do not forget now we are making memory cells so tiny, mere atoms thick that it seems more easier for electrons to leak out of the cells, become damaged by electrical impulses or corrupted by cosmic radiation.

They won't last even two decades if they were not powered up, I would be willing to put money on it. But, SSDs are useful for data that needs fast access such as operating systems, applications or large rendering projects. But not as a sole copy.

Even the voyager 1 disc will eventually become part of the greater universe as mere atoms once more, so I say make multiple copies on different quality media and take your chances :)

Nothing lasts forever, as everything is ever changing. But we can do what we can if we want to preserve memories for the next generation, then it is up to them what they do with them :)

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