Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2012
This product completely and utterly failed my expectations. Verbatim USED to be a top quality disk. Look at forums - seems times have changed and unfortunately I've now learned that first hand.

I purchased these disks for archival use - storing digital pics of my life and kids. The AZO dye used by Verbatim is claimed to be the longest lasting dye formulation for DVDs. However, the burn quality of these disks was quite bad. It better not degrade because there's not a lot of room for many of these disks to degrade! There have been issues with the "made in India" Verbatim disks and the newer "life series" is NOT respected as quality media. But these were made in Taiwan with AZO dye, media ID MCC004, so SHOULD have been the good stuff from what others say. I checked this all out carefully ... I thought.

Skip to the synopsis at the end if you want, but here are the details of my experience: Out of the first few disks, 1 was a complete coaster - wouldn't read on any of my drives (see below). Another was readable on only one of my drives. A few disks later and another couple had subtle issues with playback so I did TRT (transfer rate testing) which suggested trouble. Further testing showed very high PIE (Parity Inner Errors) and unacceptable PIF (Parity Inner Failures) on these 2. So, I was only about 1/4 way into the spindle and 4 I knew of were junk. Worried and curious, I scanned the rest of the disks. Several more, though they read without trouble, had what I consider completely unacceptably high PIF levels for brand new burns for **archival** use (areas of PIFmax >20 with total PIF in the thousands; I'm not talking rare narrow spikes). With use and time, these errors will only go up and eventually reach a threshold such that parts of the disk "go bad." But it's worse. The vast majority of the remainder were in my opinion JUST barely passable for archival use based on error checking. Only about 1 in 10 gives me a burn of the quality I expect from a premium disk. Bottom line is about 20% go in the trash and the majority of the rest of the "useable" disks are marginal on scanning.

I'm not an engineer, but get the basics of optical storage; I am not now, but I worked as hardware tech and have dabbled in electronics in the past. For those interested in details: I have several internal drives (2 pioneer, 3 lite-on, 1 plextor from back when plextor were top-teir), and one external USB (lite-on) and the results were same with burns in all drives. All are flashed with latest firmware. Burn speed, all the way down to 6x did not improve things. I use ImgBurn, but tried Nero, Plextools, and K3b (linux) with same results. I scanned with all drives capable of PIE/PIF scanning to be sure it wasn't just a scanner that didn't like Verbatims and tried Kprobe v. Nero v. Plextools; the patterns remained similar. I compared to other brand disks - disks with Media ID's indicating RICOH and SONY (burned on same drives) showed MUCH better scans even though they are a few years old. Several Taiyo Yuden had amazingly low error rates on disks several years old. Interestingly, I found a couple old MCC004 (verbatim) disks and they have decent scans! I did all this, keeping a spreadsheet to compare results and try to isolate what variable was causing problems, hoping, HOPING I could figure out a strategy to get good burns from these disks. No dice. The high error rates do not correlate with any variable I could isolate ... these disks are unacceptably variable in burn quality regardless of what I do. A few are decent, some are acceptable, most are borderline, and too many are flat out bad. Here's what really made me upset: in my comparisons, several brands with CMC Magnetics media ID's (CMC Mag 01) purchased between 2007 and 2010 generated considerably better scans! Check out the forums for yourselves, but CMC is widely believed to produce anywhere from "junk" to "C-rated" media. If cheap-o junk I picked up on sale for $10 per 100 at local office supply store has better scans ... I feel ripped off.

Here's my caution to you: if I went by disks that "acted" bad, I'd think my rate of "coasters" was about only 2-4% and would think "hey, these Verbies are pretty good." Error checking reveals that would be delusional!! I'd hate to think of anyone trusting their memories to these disks when in 10 years, a few scratches, a couple o' nicks and some smudged fingerprints bumps up the error rate, even if the Verbatim/Mitsubishi dye is good! If it's your bootleg copy of "It's a wonderful life" and you get glitches ...who cares. These disks are probably fine for that purpose. But for archival use where you want to maximize the chance your data will remain intact, I strongly suggest you do not depend on these disks!

So the SYNOPSIS: 1 star because ... a)these are priced as "premium" grade disks b) they perform like low grade or at best mid-grade media c) all the time I wasted RE-burning bad disks. I thought about giving them 2 stars because the AZO dye is supposed to be the longest lasting dye formulation in use. However, that would be speculation no different than that which lead me to buy these Verbatim DVD+R disks as arguably one of the two "best" disks in the first place. We can see how that assumption panned out for me. For all I know they may have reformulated the AZO dye to save a buck. Perhaps I just got a bad spindle ... but you pay more for Verbatim so you don't get a bad spindle! May I suggest if you are going to gamble, you buy lottery tickets instead. As for me, I'll likely shortly be buying a spindle of Taiyo Yuden DVD+R disks from Amazon and cross my fingers they are still top quality ... that $4 more per 100 disks is peanuts when we are talking about irreplaceable data.

If you do buy these, I strongly suggest you check your burns. At least at this point, the Nero CD-DVDspeed utility is available free but you MUST have a burner which which support error checking - this is a HARDWARE capability and not a software issue. (In Nero CD-DVDspeed, click the "Disc Quality" tab to test for PIE and PIF; if your burner can't the "start" button will not be active). Do read up on what is acceptable or not as you'd be surprised how tolerant DVD+Rs can be of errors.
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