Have a Question About M-DISC™? It Just Happens to Be Our Favorite Thing to Talk About.
How is the M-DISC™ different from regular DVDs?
Most writable DVDs, including the most expensive “Gold” archival DVDs, burn data into an organic dye layer. Organic dyes start to degrade and fade as soon as they are written. This leads to a condition called “data rot”. This problem is so severe that the National Archives warns that the shelf life of a regular DVD is 2-5 years. The M-DISC™ contains no organic dyes. Instead, the M-DISC™’s data layer is composed of rock-like materials known to last for centuries. The M-DISC READY™ Drive etches the M-DISC™’s rock-like layer creating a permanent physical data record that is immune to data rot.
Is the M-DISC™ and the M-DISC READY™ Drive compatible with both Mac Computers and PCs?
Yes, The M-DISC READY™ Drive is compatible with both Mac computers and PCs. In fact, our products will work with most operating systems as long as your computer has up-to-date optical drive software and supports the drive interface, typically USB or SATA. Windows and the Mac OS X operating systems provide DVD drive software support, including the ability to engrave data onto the M-DISC™. The reason why some drives, especially Blu-ray drives, may be described by the manufacturer as PC only is because the bundled software included with the drive is PC only, not because of a basic hardware incompatibility. If the optical disc drive you want to purchase is described as PC only, it can typically be used on a Mac, but you may have to buy a separate 3rd-party disc burning software package. Two software packages that are well accepted for Max OS X are Final Cut Pro and Roxio Toast Titanium.
How much data can the M-DISC™ hold?
The M-DISC™ has a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes.
How does the external M-DISC READY™ Drive interface with my computer?
Just plug the M-DISC READY™ Drive into a USB port. The external M-DISC READY™ drive is a portable drive with an industry-standard USB 2.0 Interface.
How quickly can M-DISC READY™ Drive burn information to an M-DISC™?
Typical writing speeds for DVDs range from 4x to 24x. The M-DISC™ can be written at 4x speed.
What does “burning a disc” mean?
“Burning a disc” refers to writing data to optical media (CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays). In this case it means copying files and other data from your computer to an M-DISC™ using the M-DISC READY™ Drive.
How is the M-DISC READY™ Drive different from a regular DVD writer?
The M-DISC READY™ Drive is different from regular DVD writers because it is designed to make permanent physical changes (etching) to the rock-like data layer of the M-DISC™. See: http://www.mdisc.com/m-ready/
Can I erase or remove files from the M-DISC™?
No. The M-DISC™ is designed to permanently archive information. Once the information is burned it cannot be changed.
Can I add additional files to an M-DISC™ after it has been burned?
Some burning software applications allow for adding additional files to the disc if it has not been closed (sometimes referred to as finalizing or fixing the disc). Refer to your burning software documentation for more information about this. This multi-session capability may or may not be turned on by default in your software.
Should I finalize the M-DISC™ after writing the data? (Finalizing a disc can also be referred to as “close session” or “fixate the disc”)
Finalizing the disc assures maximum read back capability on other drives. Please Note: Do not finalize until you are completely finished burning data to the disc, as you will not be able to add any additional data to the disc after it is finalized. Refer to your burning software documentation for the proper disc finalization procedures.
Can I use the M-DISC READY™ Drive to write data to an M-DISC™ without a computer?
No. The M-DISC READY™ Drive requires a connection to a computer to read or write data.
What types of computers can I use with the M-DISC READY™ Drive?
The M-DISC READY™ Drive will work with most computers and operating systems. Windows® XP, Windows® Vista, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Mac® OS X and Linux are all supported.
What burning software is compatible with the M-DISC READY™ Drive?
Almost any DVD burning software will work with the M-DISC READY™ Drive. In fact, current operating systems (Windows 8, Mac OS X) come with compatible software pre-installed and will recognize the M-DISC READY™ Drive automatically. Additionally, the M-DISC READY™ Drive works with most common third party software. Some older operating systems such as Windows XP may require third-party software.
How can you prove that the M-DISC™ will last for centuries?
There are international standards for estimating the archival lifetime of optical media. The ECMA-379 (2nd edition, December 2008) is a widely recognized standard that tests the effects of temperature and relative humidity. Researchers at Millenniata have tested the M-DISC™ using the ECMA-379 temperature and humidity (85°C / 85% RH) and added further elements to develop the most rigorous testing possible. They have combined temperature and humidity (85°C / 85% RH) tests with exposure to the full-spectrum of natural light. The M-DISC™ is the only survivor after this rigorous testing. Considering the combination of the M-DISC™’s test results and its rock-like data layer, it is reasonable to conclude that the M-DISC™ has a greater longevity and durability than competitors’ discs.
What temperature can the M-DISC™ withstand?
The M-DISC™ can withstand temperatures of 176°F (80°C) for days with no effect to the data or the readability of the data in a standard DVD drive. In order to maximize archival lifetime, it is not recommended that an M-DISC™ be stored under these conditions.
Can the M-DISC™ withstand UV rays and prolonged exposure to the sun?
M-DISC™ products can withstand the full spectrum of the sun, including UV rays, for days with no effect to the data or the readability of the data in a standard DVD drive. In order to maximize archival lifetime, it is not recommended that M-DISC™ products be stored under these conditions.
The M-DISC™ may be around for centuries, but why would that matter if DVD players were not around that long?
Every storage technology faces the same question. The M-DISC™ is unique because it provides options that didn’t exist before. The stability of the M-DISC™ allows people to migrate data at their own convenience. This is in contrast to today’s storage technology that incessantly forces a constant and expensive physical rotation of stored data—trying to rotate the data before the media’s expiration date. This frustrating and costly challenge disappears with the M-DISC™. No longer will people be forced to rotate data onto a new storage medium because of data rot. Whether it is 10 years or 20 years down the road, your information will be safely etched on the M-DISC™.
What is the preferred method for labeling M-DISC™ products?
We suggest labeling the container in which your M-DISC™ is stored. If you want to label the M-DISC™ itself, we suggest marking the inner hub of the disc where no data is recorded. There is no information available to indicate what will happen to an M-DISC™ over time if labeled or marked over the data area.
How do I store M-DISC™ products to extend their useful life?
The M-DISC™ is extremely durable and does not corrupt even in extreme environmental conditions (heat, humidity, light, etc.). However, we suggest storing M-DISC™ products upright in plastic or steel containers manufactured specifically for the type of medium in cool, dry storage that is free of large temperature fluctuations.
What is the capacity of the M-DISC™ DVD in terms of photos, songs, or videos?
Using estimates with average file sizes, each M-DISC™ DVD: