The Dutch PC-Active magazine has done an extensive CD-R quality test. For the test the magazine has taken a look at the readability of discs, thirty different CD-R brands, that were recorded twenty months ago. The results were quite shocking as a lot of the discs simply couldn’t be read anymore:
Roughly translated from Dutch:
The tests showed that a number of CD-Rs had become completely unreadable while others could only be read back partially. Data that was recorded 20 months ago had become unreadable. These included discs of well known and lesser known manufacturers.
It is presumed that CD-Rs are good for at least 10 years. Some manufacturers even claim that their CD-Rs will last up to a century. From our tests it’s concluded however that there is a lot of junk on the market. We came across CD-Rs that should never have been released to the market. It’s completely unacceptable that CD-Rs become unusable in less than two years.
On the image you can see the exact same CD-R. On the left you see the outcome of our tests done in 2001. On the right you see the same CD-R in 2003. The colours indicate the severeness of the errors in the following order; white, green, yellow and red whereas white indicates that the disc can be read well and red indicates that it cannot be read.