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Can someone recommend a blu-ray drive that is known to work with M-Discs & BDXL discs and with ImgBurn?


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LUK: Ah, I should have realized the Cycle part.  Cycle means an eject and close, as you said.  Eject just ejects the tray after a Write operation but doesn't reload the tray.

 

 

So, you're saying you had Cycle Tray Before Verify checked and you still had to manually reload the disc before Verify?  Which makes sense since a slot drive doesn't have a tray.  And I think slot drives only load when a disc is inserted, e.g. it "detects" the drive is being inserted over some mechanical loaders and automatically activates.  Which would require the user manually reinsert the disc.  It seems that there are no automatic load commands for slot drives.  As I thought from a post I made a while back in another thread questioning Pioneer's latest slim external vertical oriented BD drive.

 

 

I don't like having to do that because if I leave a BD burn operation going that takes a long time, it will be waiting for me to insert the disc before the Verify.  Which means I have to baby sit the burn.  And if it's a BD-RE DL that is nearly being fully written, it will sit there waiting for me to insert the disc after 90 minutes of the write.  So, naturally, I'd hate to sit there for 90 minutes, and I'd have to go away and do something else.  Once the write is done, it would be waiting for me the whole time to load the disc for Verify.  But, that is, sadly, the nature of the beast as more and more drives, IF they're still being made, are going the way of slim, slot driven mechanisms.

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This burning thing is not so consistent.  I tried burning a 2nd blu-ray disc (BDXL M-Disc) and the burn process completed successfully but the verification failed again at a large video file.  I tried again with another disc but this time I created an image .ISO file of the folders that I wanted backed up.  I then burned the blu-ray disc from that .ISO file and it worked (including the verification).  Is burning from an .ISO file more reliable than burning from the actual files?  Or are they equally reliable and it's just a hit or miss thing?

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It makes no difference if you're burning files or an ISO.

 

The data gets put into ImgBurn's buffer in the form of raw sector info and that's then sent to the drive, where it's stored in the internal cache and ultimately burnt to disc via internal processes.

 

So the drive has complete control of the burn and just burns what it receives. It doesn't know or care about the original format... be it files or an ISO.

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If it makes no difference burning files or an ISO, then was it just luck that one worked for me and the other didn't?  Any possible explanation?  If I'm going to be burning discs and relying on luck that it works, then maybe I should reconsider buying the expensive BDXL blu-rays discs and getting smaller sizes instead like just a regular blu-ray M-disc. 

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Correct, just luck.

 

In order to fit that much data on a disc, these devices inherently sensitive. Discrepancies in manufacturing, dust etc all play a part and I guess they're just more likely to fail to burn... for whatever reason.

 

As you say, it would probably be cheaper and easier to just stick to single layer discs.

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As for there being no difference between an on the fly burn and burning from an ISO, I agree, as I always have, there's no difference to ImgBurn between the two.  But, results from another user and initially myself showed there was a difference in execution.  On LG drives, burning ISO's to DL BD media would almost always fail Verify.  But, burning on the fly would work.  And my initial tests showed it worked.  It also worked if something other than ImgBurn burned the ISO.  This was short lived though as actual real world execution proved the written contents weren't written correctly.  So, it just reinforced my results that LG's are bad BD DL burners.

 

 

Your luck could be down to it being a slim drive.  Slim drives really can't be trusted.  I wouldn't be satisfied until I tested a BD XL in my Pioneer 2209.  I still think they support M-Disc even though they no longer advertise it.  But, without being able to get my hands on a disc and testing it, I can't be sure.  However, you could always get one and an external enclosure and return them if it doesn't.

 

 

In fact, I found this:

 

https://www.amazon.com/BDR-2209-Internal-Accessories-Supports-Interface/dp/B00OD9X6GO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519315477&sr=8-1&keywords=bd+2209

 

I was going to check the questions section for the drive on Amazon.com and ask if it supported them still if no one else had.  Turned out, I found that listing which includes an M-Disc with the drive and its production description lists M-Disc.  In fact, Amazon said I bought this drive in 2016.  However, it was also the one I returned because it didn't burn BD-R correctly out of the box.  That was probably a fluke as the next 2209 I got in January has been working fine.

 

 

As has been said, single layer discs have a better chance of writing correctly.  When you go beyond 1 layer, you drastically increase the reasons for failure.  If you experience problems burning to SL discs, then I'd say the problem is it's a slim drive.  I only ever write to BD-RE DL's as giant floppies and for my monthly system backups to temporary discs and then only in my Pioneer or ASUS, not the LG.  And the monthly backups only go to those because they're just over a BD-RE SL size, ranging between 26 and 32 GB.

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To summarize what happened to the 5 BDXL M-discs I bought (for $97.21 including tax), these were my results:

 

0/1 with the Asus BW-16D1HT

0/1 with the LG BU40N

2/3 with the Pioneer BDR-XS06

 

Considering the cost of these particular discs, I want to make sure I have the most reliable drive.  So I went ahead and bought that Pioneer BDR-2209 internal drive as well as the Vantec NST-536S3-BK NexStar DX USB 3.0 External Enclosure that you mentioned earlier, dbminter.  I'll post what I find.  It supposedly comes with Cyberlink software, is it worth giving that a try?  Or just stick with ImgBurn?  (considering that I want to limit my experimentation because of the cost of these discs)

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I can say that the 2209 and that enclosure do work fine on my Dell 8700 PC and didn't have the semaphore timeout error that can occur fairly commonly with some systems.

 

 

As for the included Cyberlink Software, I didn't find much use in it.  I think it had PowerDVD 10 and a version of PowerDirector, like version 5.  I would only have used PowerDVD, but my ASUS drive came with a newer version of PowerDVD, so I installed that over the Pioneer's included utilities.  The included software doesn't do any writing, as far as I know, but, I never used any of it beyond PowerDVD, which only plays back video discs.

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I received the Pioneer BDR-2209.  I found it faster than than the BDR-XS06.  The BDR-XS06 burned my BDXL M-Disc in about 2 hours and the BDR-2209 burned the same image in 1 hour.  There's an optional power adapter you can get that would make the XS06 quicker but I only used the supplied USB cable.  The 2209 also has the auto eject and auto reload feature when verifying and that was pretty convenient.  The disadvantage I found is that the 2209 is significantly larger and heavier than the XS06.  It's taking up a lot more space than anticipated.  As for burning results, out of 5 BDXL M-Discs this is what happened:

 

Using the BDR-2209:

 

Disc 1) Burned from files/folders -> SUCCESS

Disc 2) Burned from files/folders -> Verification FAIL

Disc 3) Converted the content that was supposed to go into disc 2 into an .iso file -> SUCCESS

Disc 4) Burned from an .iso file (different than disc 3) -> Verification FAIL

 

I then tried burning the same .iso file from the failed disc 4 using the BDR-XS06:

 

Disc 5) Burned the .iso file that was supposed to go into disc 4 -> Verification FAIL

 

These verification fails appear to all occur with larger video files (larger than 1 GB).  So this really does seem to be a hit or miss thing.  I'm planning to make one final try.  I was trying to see if the M-Disc creators, Millenniata, had their own original discs to sell but I guess all of their BDXL discs are under the Verbatim name.  The Millenniata site does recommend Nero so I might just give that a try but I have a feeling I'll get a similar result.  I only need about 2 more, so if I could get a 2/5 success rate I'd be content with that. 

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It's probably just the nature of the multiple layer beast.  Having never used anything beyond DL media, and that was only Verbatim BD-RE, I can't say how well any drive writes to even Verbatim BD-R DL media.  Let alone triple or quadruple layer media.

 

 

Also, how are you orienting the 2209 in the enclosure?  Horizontally or vertically?  If you've tried it in its horizontal position, try the vertical one.  I've never actually tested that enclosure to see if it orients vertically, though.  Some drives don't like being positioned horizontally.  But, by this point, what else have you got to lose?  You've tried everything else and nothing else gives you steady reliability.

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When not in use, I'm leaving the 2209 with the enclosure on top of the computer (since the power cord is kind of short).  I also have a dual hard drive enclosure on top of the computer so to make them fit together, I orient the 2209 with enclosure vertically.  But when I was burning the discs, I put the 2209 horizontally.  I put it horizontally because that's how I thought internal burners were meant to be burned and all my previous internal burners were horizontal inside the computer.  I'll try vertically when I receive the new discs.  By the way, both Pioneer burners have had no problem burning single layer M-Disc DVD's (5 GB size), 100% success rate for both of them and the DVD's were Verbatim.  I'm still deciding which burner to keep and which to return.

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I've only ever burned BD-R SL M-Disc, but all of them burned fine in LG and Pioneer burners.  The only BD DL media I ever burned were Verbatim BD-RE, but the Pioneer and my ASUS USB burn them fine; LG's do not.  Maybe if there's a BD-R DL M-Disc, you might have better luck with those.

 

 

I ran all of my burn and read tests with a 2209 in that enclosure with it oriented vertically, since that's what I need external drives for.  Plus, I think that enclosure I recommended is designed to be oriented vertically as that's how I always used it.  Don't know if it even orients horizontally, like drives are when put into PC's.  (Well, some PC cases do orient internal drives vertically.  Depends on the manufacturer, but they're few and far between now.)  All read and write tests I performed to all media except CD-R (I have a limited number of those and they were getting hard to find on Amazon.com last time I bought them.  But, CD-RW tests passed fine.) were with the 2209 in that enclosure oriented vertically.

Edited by dbminter
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Here’s what happened with my 3rd pack of BDXL M-Discs (5-packs):

 

DISC 1:  Used Nero 2018 software, Pioneer 2209 (horizontal) & burned from files/folders -> Verification FAIL

 

DISC 2:  Used Nero 2018, Pioneer 2209 (horizontal) & burned from a .ISO file -> Verification FAIL

(For disc 2, I realized I had burned it incorrectly because it burned the actual .iso file instead of the contents in it so I tried again with disc 3)

 

DISC 3:  Used Nero 2018, Pioneer XS06 (horizontal) & burned (correctly) from a .ISO image file -> Verification FAIL

 

(For the first three discs, I had forgotten to test this with the drive set vertically so I did that for the rest)

 

DISC 4:  Used ImgBurn, Pioneer 2209 (vertical) & burned from a .ISO file -> Verification FAIL

 

DISC 5:  Used Nero 2018, Pioneer 2209 (vertical) & burned from a .ISO file -> Verification SUCCESS

 

So this time I got a 1/5 success rate.  So out of the total, I got 5/15 successful burns using the BDXL (100 GB) M-Discs.  This truly is a hit or miss thing.  One thing I should mention is that the file/folders I’m burning contain large video files (many are larger than 2 GB) and all of the verifications are failing when it's trying to read one of those large video files.  Maybe the success rate would be higher if there were smaller file sizes involved.  Who knows?  I’ll probably try the 50 GB discs next.

 

Dbminter, is there a reason why you prefer the drive being vertical?  Does it have an advantage in the burning process?  Or is it just saving you space?  I like the drive set vertically because it's saving me space.  But how are you loading discs vertically?  And aren’t you concerned that the disc might not be properly centered during the burning process when it’s vertical?  There are lengthy discussions about mounting drives horizontally or vertically with some saying that over time, the writing heads might get affected with a vertical mount (due to gravity).  Or I've read that if you've mounted your hard drive horizontally, then don't change it to vertical any time in the future (and vice-versa) because the disc might not be read properly.  Any thoughts about that?  I want these discs to last “1000 years” and I wouldn't want the burn process to get skewed in some manner that only lets the discs be played on the same drive that it was burned with.  In 1000 years, I'd want the discs to be playable on any drive, whether horizontal or vertical.  So again, do you see any advantage in the vertical position other than saving space? 

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File size should have nothing to do with it.  It depends on where it's failing on the disc.  And, it's most likely failing at the layer change, where most common problems with multiple layer media exist.

 

 

Well, I prefer horizontal, actually.  I use vertical for external drives because I have to.  I have little desktop real estate since I have an external HDD taking up a portion of it.  So, I needed a vertical drive simply for a lack of space reason.  I've read arguments that drives shouldn't be placed vertically, yet why then do they make external drives that orient vertically?  It's sort of like the argument of whether you should leave your PC on all the time or not.  Does turning it off and on wear it out sooner over time or is it better to leave it on all the time?  I leave it on all the time simply because I don't want to miss Scheduled Tasks and that I think turning it off and on probably wears it out faster.  But, there's little evidence for either side of the debate.  I mean, as I said, if a drive was never supposed to be placed vertically, why did they make external burners that do?

 

 

As for lasting a thousand years, I don't buy it.  CD-R was supposed to last 100 years and doesn't.  Besides, the problem is, in a thousand years, you won't be around.  And, most likely, there will be no more readers available to read in your disc even if does last 1000 years.  So, what's the point?  Kind of like in the 2014 Godzilla movie.  Someone had data stored on Zip disks and was able to freely read them.  However, I don't think they make Zip Drives anymore in this day and age.

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I was just kidding about the "1000 years."  I just want them around long enough until I reach old age and if I have kids, their old age, and if they have kids, their old age, and so on.  Beyond my parents' black and white photos, I don't know what their daily lives were like before I was born since there are no videos of them.  And I have no clue about what their parents looked like or what ancestors beyond that looked like or what their life stories were about.  It's kind of funny, but this process has made me think & take a deeper look at life, why I'm doing things and ultimately who I'm doing it for, how long do I think I'm going to live, if I'm going to have kids, etc. LOL.  Your comment about the Godzilla movie reminded me of the Star Trek captain from the Next Generation (actor Patrick Stewart).  That series was supposedly set hundreds of years in the future.  I would have thought hundreds of years in the future there'd be a cure for baldness but apparently there wasn't in that series.

 

Anyway, I should note that it only seems to be the enclosure that was designed to be vertical and the companies who design enclosures probably realize their customers are concerned about space.  But the Pioneer 2209 drive itself was meant to go inside a computer and all the computers I've owned have had the DVD/Blu-ray drives mounted horizontally.  So this is debateable.  I really only became interested when I saw that my last successful burn happened when it was vertical.

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Yeah, about the horizontal versus vertical orientation debate.  At one time, PC case makers used to sell models where the optical drives were designed to be put in vertically.  So, you could, if you wanted, fit 4 drives in the space of 2.  So, did they stop doing this because drives were never meant to do this?  Or did they stop doing it simply because it wasn't a feature people were using?  That people weren't stuffing their cases with 4 drives.  In fact, I never had more than 3 drives in a tower, and that one tower was the only one that ever had space for 3 5.25 inch drive bays.  And one of those drives had to be PATA because there were only 3 SATA connections on the mobo, and one went to the HDD.

 

 

I don't prefer vertical orientation because you have to make really sure you've secured the disc in the tray indentation before pulling your hand away.  Just last week, I didn't do it well enough and a disc fell on the floor.

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Also, I thoroughly tested the 2209 in that enclosure.  I threw many discs at it and all tests passed with the 2209 in the vertical position.  However, only a few double layer media tests were performed.  A few DVD+R DL's and 1 BD-RE DL write test were done.  So, I still think it's just the nature of the triple layer beast.  Let's see how well you do with DL M-Disc.

 

 

So, I don't see there being any real problem with the drive in the vertical position.

Edited by dbminter
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To update the thread, I burned four double layer 50 GB Verbatim M-Discs and all of them were successful (including verification), 4/4.  All of the single layer 25 GB discs were successful too and I tested over 10 of those.   

 

So, I still think it's just the nature of the triple layer beast.  Let's see how well you do with DL M-Disc.

 

I agree with you.  The 100 GB discs are probably still in the infancy stages.  I'll probably just use the 25 GB or 50 GB discs from now on.  It was an expensive lesson to learn and hopefully someone else learns from it.  Maybe in a few years from now, the 100 GB discs will be more reliable.  If someone else has a different experience with them, hopefully they will post it here...

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I only use double layer discs when necessary.  For DVD-Video jobs that require DVD+R DL and for BD-RE DL to make my monthly system and files backups to.  I avoid using multi-layer media whenever I can.  Even though it takes more BD-R to do a backup than it would BD-R DL, they're more likely to finish without errors and not have a problem reading back later on in years.

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Well, what do you know?  After over a year of no new firmware updates, Pioneer updated the 1.34 firmware of the BDR-2209 to 1.50.  I had thought that the 2209 would never receive another firmware update.  I'm testing an 8x DVD+RW right now, in the Verify stage where it failed before, to see if they fixed the borked firmware from before.

 

 

So, if the OP got the 2209 and has decided to keep it, there is a new 1.50 firmware released around March 2nd.  It's dated December 2017, though, oddly enough.

 

 

Surprisingly enough, the LG WH16NS40 also got a firmware update after like almost 4 years.  But that was to plug a decryption hole in Ultra HD Blu-Ray's.  Maybe that's why the 2209 got one, too.  Simply to plug a Hollywood Hole, a goof that the big movie producers don't want.  And nothing done to actually better the drive.

 

 

And, the 1.50 firmware PASSED!  :w00tdance: They actually followed up on my e-mail and fixed the borked firmware, it seems!  :D

Edited by dbminter
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Now, IF you wanted to gamble the money on it, you could try some more Verbatim BD-R X/TL M-Disc with this new Pioneer BDR-2209 1.50 firmware.  See if this new firmware handles those kinds of media better.  However, as I said, it's a gamble.  But, if you had any left, why got give it a throw?

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Thanks for the info.  I wish I knew about the firmware update before doing all that expensive testing >:p .  If the problem is with the 100 GB disc media itself, how much of a difference do you think a firmware update would make? 

 

Anyway, I've decided to keep the 2209 and return the XS06 (in large part due to the recommendations in this thread).  I just upgraded the firmware to 1.50 but I don't have any more 100 GB discs to test.  I only have a few more folders to backup anyway and they're each less than 50 GB.  I do plan to make photo/video backups every year from now on so maybe I'll try the triple layer discs again after the year is over.

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As far as the 2209 goes, firmware updates make a lot of difference.  For instance, when I first got the 2209, there were 2 Verbatim DVD+R DL media brands with the same Disc ID.  One disc had an inkjet printable surface and one was branded.  The 2209 had no problems with the branded discs, but would always fail Verify on the inkjet discs, even though they were the same DID.  Internally, they should not have been different, but apparently, they were.  The next firmware update to the 2209 fixed this issue.  Then, when the 1.34 firmware came out, it caused Ritek 8x DVD+RW that would burn and Verify under 1.33 to fail Verifies until fully formatted in another drive.  Hence why I started using the LG for my 8x DVD+RW.  Then, the 1.50 firmware came out for the 2209 and 8x DVD+RW completes Verifies now.  And now that my LG needs replacing and the 2209 appears to work again with 8x DVD+RW, I'm getting the Pioneer 209 BD that doesn't support BDXL and M-Disc since I don't need those.  It has the same firmware revision number (In fact, the other, newer Ultra HD BD drive Pioneer put out also has the same firmware revision number.) as the 2209 does now, so it should write to 8x DVD+RW fine, too.

 

 

I didn't know about the firmware update until today.  I had checked a few weeks ago, but there wasn't one.  Don't know what prompted me to check today, but I did, and there it was.

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