Media Issues

There’s been a lot of nonsense written about CD-R media. One person swears that gold/green discs are great and silver/blue discs worthless, and another says the opposite. The truth is that there are distinct differences in media, but no absolutes. Disc A may work perfectly in Drive A and not work at all in Drive B, and Disc B may work perfectly in Drive B and not at all in Drive A. That situation is less common with recent drives than it was with older models, but some drives still show a strong preference or dislike for particular disc types. Discs differ as follows.

Current CD-R blanks use one of these reflective layers:


The metal used in early CD-R discs, and still commonly used in current production discs. The advantage of gold is that it is stable. The disadvantage is that 24K gold is expensive, even in the microscopically thin layers used in CD-R discs. As the price of CD-R discs continues to plummet, the cost of gold becomes an increasingly important factor, which has led some manufacturers to substitute silver. By early 2002, many disc manufacturers, including Kodak, had discontinued their gold-based products or limited gold reflective layers to their premium or “professional” lines. Note that some CD-R discs that appear gold in fact use little or no gold in their formulations.

Silver alloy

The advantages of silver alloy relative to gold are that it is relatively inexpensive and actually has better reflective characteristics across a wide spectrum. The ...

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