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.

In general, newer drives, name-brand models, and those with current firmware are unlikely to have problems writing almost any brand of disc, except perhaps those you find on sale in the bargain bin. Older drives, no-name models, and those with outdated firmware may be very choosy indeed about which discs they’ll use. Discs differ as follows.

CD-R blanks use one of these reflective layers:


The metal used in early CD-R discs, and still used in some current discs. The advantage of gold is that it is stable. The disadvantage is that gold is expensive, even in the microscopically thin layers used in CD-R discs. As the price of CD-R discs plummeted, the cost of gold became an increasingly large part of the cost of the disc, which led some makers to substitute silver. By early 2002 many disc manufacturers had discontinued gold-based products or limited gold reflective layers to their premium or “professional” lines. Note that some ...

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