Buyer's Guide 2007: External Storage And Backup
Hard drives, CDs and DVDs provide reliable backup for your thousands of digital images
DVD media is reliable, inexpensive and highly portable. The capacity of Double Layer (DL) media currently exceeds 8 GB (formatted), and higher densities are on the horizon. There's still some debate about the long-term dependability of DVD (and CD) media, and storing image files only on DVDs could be considered a risky practice. But using a redundant set of DVDs in addition to hard drives adds an extra level of data protection. Plus, DVDs are a great way to organize and share sets of images. If you're worried about disc decay, look into Delkin's line of Archival Gold DVD-R media. Delkin claims a storage life of 100 years.
Sony's DRU-820A DVD Multi Drive features DVD-RAM recording, which makes it one of the most versatile drives around. It writes Double Layer DVD+R media at 16x and DVD-RAM at 5x. It also burns CDs at a speedy 48x. The estimated street price is less than $100 and that includes the award-winning Nero 6.6 authoring software. A nice touch for owners of black PCs: it includes a black faceplate that can be used to replace the standard office-white equipment.
Hewlett-Packard has the dvd840i, which writes to all types of blank media at speeds up to 16x. This HP is a favorite because it offers maximum available specifications, plus the LightScribe direct disc-labeling system. You can easily label your DVDs and CDs with graphics and text that are burned right into the disk surface. With an estimated street price of $99, it's hard to beat. An external version (dvd840e) is also available.