DVD-RAM as storage

23 07 2008

I wandered upon a way to increase digital storage space, without shelling out >$50 to buy a new hard drive. Even though, of course there are deals sometimes where you can get 250GB for $50, but then when you look at the HD on sale right above that, you can get double that space (500GB) for $20 more. And me being broke can settle for neither, and already having my internal HD (80GB) and external HD (160GB), rapidly running out of Hard Disc storage choose to go buy DVD-RAM (3x), in order to use it like a hot-swappable Data Storage Medium. At $7 for five 4.7GB discs, it was not at all a bad deal compared to **azon.com and **rcuit ci*y. Getting it up and running was confusing at first but once the obstacles were overcome, here was the results.

What is needed:

  1. Some super-multi style DVD-rewriter with DVD-RAM writing skills
  2. DVD-RAM (Higher write times is faster in read/write, but can be rewritten less)
  3. A Computer…. preferably one that’s running out of disc space.

In the world of DVD-RAM, 3x=33MBps, and thus x=11MBps, speeds can go up to 12x and thus 132MBps. (though the fastest I could find online was 5x which is 55MBps).. Please note that: unfortunately, I seem to be stuck with a 3x model. So results may vary.

Considering that this technology is normally used for things like…. Recording DVDs, and…. recording footages on various Camcorders, and such. Let’s just say “you get what you pay for”, do not expect a full fledged HD, SSD replacement, because it feels like a Pentium II era hard drive. It takes a while to write 1GB worth of data into it. (45 minutes at 3x speeds)

Alright, so here’s the story of the obstacles I encountered on the setup. So, I came home from Fry’s electronics, unwrapped the Panasonic DVD-RAM 2~3x, and then popped in the DVD. What happened first is that I instantly unloaded files unto the drive. But they registered into the Main HD as files to be writ unto the CD. Realization came, that a format was necessary, thus files were removed, and the disc was then formatted to Fat32 format. Then came the problem of the system still wanting to burn the files onto the disc. This is avoidable by going into the drive’s properties in the recordable tab, and deselecting the burning option. Theoretically, the setting is only applied onto that specific disc (hopefully).



  • Cheap… 7-12 dollars can get you ~20GB of storage.
  • Good storage if you have a super-multi but don’t wanna spend your days erasing and rewriting.
  • Effective & affordable data backup. Write protection, and accidental data deletion fail-safes make this a great data backup solution (since you can update them and add on easily)…. next to an external hard drive.
  • Danmaku Games work (latency at 3x speed ones, however)
  • Videos run great
  • Easier to use (drag and drop)
  • I’m not sure…. but it seems… quieter than a normal hard drive. (IDK, but it’s about as loud as a CD-rom load)


  • Horrible (but bearable) write times, like I said… it’s taking me close to an hour to load this 1GB worth folder onto the disk.
  • Slow load times things like games.
  • No cache…. Hard Drives and stuff normally have things like cache and buffers.
  • Doesn’t work on some DVD-players
  • Obstacles to the set-up
  • You have to hot-swap to access all of the 23.5GB.
  • 4.7GB each disc has overhead which reduces capacity to 4.26GB per disc.

Application possibilities.

Ah yes, it seems that this introduces many possible applications for an otaku such as myself. Visual novels for example, can usually be fit in these, and run successfully off of them, Game saves are quickly applied, for they are small and the DVD-ram has no writing restrictions (unlike DVD-RW). Questionable content, can be kept away from other computers users, and under lock and key. Anime, (excluding 720p HD mkv/mp4 encodes) are usually ~4gb per 24 episode series (Q:but then wouldn’t you just use DVD-R/(W)? A: Ah. but what if the series is incomplete, and more episodes are pending?).

But that’s all if you’re patient… and broke… and you’re computer has a decent amount of ram, so that this thing doesn’t slow your computer down too significantly. I guess if you idle your computers all the time, then this will also give something for your computer to do during those times.

Speeds from 2x-5x seem to be available. (Wikipedia says 12x isn’t, So I guess nothing more than 8x is obtainable)




3 responses

24 07 2008

I see… This blog post explained me a lot better of this so called DVD-RAM… but I still think that the CONS are somewhat close to out-weighing the PROS, but there only close, so I think it was a good deal.

26 11 2008

DVD RAM another cons. New DVD RAMs come with CPRM bits. Only older drives will work with it by ignoring.

26 11 2008

NNNNOOOOOo! T_T Looks like I’m gonna have to go back to Hard Drives, once these run out….

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