Another visit to ARC Computers this morning and I saw a spindle of BD-Rs on the shelf and decided to give them a try. While their website lists their BD-Rs as Generic/Ritek, I would never buy the Riteks, but these were worth a shot. It was $16.50 for a spindle of 10, making it $1.65 each, which wasn’t great value but wasn’t extortionate like many other places.
In fact, my last batch of CMCMAG-BA3’s were Mr. Data spindles of 10 from eBay. After all, Mr. Data is CMC Magnetics own “branding” for their own discs which generally come as clean white printable top discs. But my last discs were 4x rated – and these were 6x rated.
A quick check in the drives tells me they’re newer CMCMAG-BA5 media code discs. They are a dark brown-blue colour rather than the metallic chocolate of the older BA3’s.
One thing to note is that newer discs like this may not be supported in older burners. I have two LG GGW-H20L 6x Supermultiblue burners that still see some use today – their media code support lists extracted from their firmware gives no support for this media code and the speed is reported as 2x only. I suspect that burns may fail or quality will be suboptimal.
In the iHBS212 and iHBS312, the discs are overspeedable to 10x, so I selected a test disc burn at 10x on the newer iHBS312 to see what happens. The wiggly line when it reaches 10x (45MB/s) along with the buffer drops are unlikely (but possibly) to be due to my SATA interface (the onboard B75 chipset ports, using latest Intel iRST drivers). They may be attributed to the drive performing some W-OPC type strategy to determine write quality and any adjustments to the write process.
The readback TRT is good – funny how the drive isn’t allowing you to read back BD-Rs faster than 8x, but this was burnt faster than it was read!
Trying a scan of the disc in the iHBS312 at 4x without removing the disc from the drive – here are the results.
Horrible. While the TRT looks fine, the burn quality is worse than many of my aged discs despite the drive never exceeding 4x. In fact, it looks like those horrid Riteks after they’ve aged. YIKES! This is a good example of how scanning can be more sensitive to errors than a TRT is.
A reasonable thought is that the drive will probably need a sample to learn how best to burn the disc (especially overspeeded) so this is actually my THIRD sample in pursuit of quality. The first two were just as bad and I thought it was anomalous so I threw them out. Again, this was burnt on the iHBS312 (as I tend to focus on newer, presently available burners for newer media – the performance on older drives is less relevant and Lite-Ons are a favourite for quality testing).
The lesson is clear – do NOT overspeed.
So lets stick to the 6x rating and see how it fares. The burn itself went fairly swimmingly and had a P-CAV strategy, accelerating to 6x very quickly (unlike the CAV 6x strategy of my old LG GGW-H20L).
The TRT itself is perfect (again)!
The scan is … better, but it’s not of the quality I would expect from a CMC disc. In fact, it’s not the quality that I’d expect of a disc burnt at the rated speed just fresh in the burner (did not leave the burner between burn and scan).
One last chance. Lets try 4x. The lowest speed that the LiteOn supports with the media … no TRT this time as we’ve established that it doesn’t really say much.
All in all, even at 4x, this media struggles to redeem itself especially when compared with how its earlier cousin – the BA3 – performed. Here’s a not-clean, at least one year old scan of a BA3 and it’s hard to say this fresh burn is better than this one.
At least for the Lite-On drives, this media doesn’t seem to be a good choice to overspeed, despite the urge to do so “because the firmware lets you”. It’s not too bad if you stick to the rated speed – so do that. And I’ve lost half my spindle to testing, but no matter. There’s some things which optical media guys like myself just have to know.
The problem with these discs is that (at least on the iHBS312), the burns are poor out of the box when burnt at the rated speed. I cannot recommend a disc which doesn’t fulfill or exceed the average LDC <13 and maximum BIS <9 rules of thumb. CMCMAG-BA3’s were one of my “go to” media earlier, the same cannot be said for the CMCMAG-BA5.