Review: MDISC Reviewed by: Vroom Provided by: Millenniata Manufactured: In Czech Republic
Data integrity is a big problem, and a large number of people have at some point experienced a failure and lost data stored on hard disk drives, optical discs, or more obsolete storage formats such as floppy discs. Millenniata is attempting to fill this gap and they claim to achieve a potential thousand year lifespan with their unique new form of optical discs.
So how is Millenniata able to achieve this?
Let’s try to keep the explanation as simple as possible. Current DVD technology uses a relatively low powered laser to record the data in an organic dye layer, sandwiched within a standard recordable DVD. Unfortunately all organic dyes degrade over time due to exposure to light, heat, humidity, chemicals in the air, and other substances in the surrounding environment. Eventually this degradation lowers the readability of the data layer to the point where the data you thought was safely stored could actually be lost. Millenniata’s solution is to use an inorganic layer which is written to by a much higher powered laser that actually engraves the data within the inorganic layer. As these are physical pits carved within a chemically stable layer and not just markings on a dye based layer they’re immune to the factors that normally affect standard DVDs and in the absence of physical damage, the limiting factor is the stability of the polycarbonate layers. According to tests conducted by the US National Standards Institute this can conservatively be estimated at 1,000 years.
How do we know that the MDISC will last?
Millenniata has performed extensive tests to assess the quality and the longevity of their discs, but more significantly the U.S. Department of Defense’s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division facility at China Lake has carried out its own tests to measure longevity under the most extreme conditions it’s possible to experience during warfare. So if the MDISC passes the U.S. Military’s standards then the quality of these discs cannot be easily overlooked. You can read the full 75 page report here and you can find out more about the MDISC technology on the Millenniata website.
For my tests I used the following equipment.
- CPU: Intel i5-750
- RAM: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR3
- Motherboard: Gigabyte P55A-UD4
- SSD: Vertex 2 60GB (OS Drive)
- HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB (Storage)
- ODD 1: Optiarc 7200A
- ODD 2: Liteon iHAS624
- ODD 3: LG BP40NS20 (MDISC Compatible)
- ODD 4: LG GH22NS90 (MDISC Compatible)
- ODD 5: BENQ 1650
For this review I will be using the drives that can correctly burn MDISCs. The procedure will be the same, all Transfer Rate Tests will be done with the Optiarc 7200A and this time I will be using two different drives to measure the quality of the MDISC. The two drives will be the Liteon iHAS624 and the BENQ 1650. Please note that these drives use a different method to measure the PIF and PIE errors, but you can always follow the simple golden rule when it come to Disc Quality Scans that says “The lower the better”.
A first look on the discs and packaging
Before we start our tests, we need to take a closer look at the packaging and the discs themselves. According to Millenniata’s web store you can purchase the discs in 5, 10 and 25 packs. Millenniata send me the 10 disc package, so let’s take closer look at this first, and then move to the discs.
The front of the box
The back of the box
Rear side of the box
On the card inside, we can see a lot of info mainly regarding the longevity of the discs, also we can see that the MDISCs were made in Czech Republic. Now it’s time to look at the discs.
Here is a first look at how the MDISCs are stacked inside the box.
Initially the discs look very similar to a DVD±RW disc, and as you can see from the picture they are highly reflective. The last thing that you will notice is that the discs are not only reflective, but also very transparent, as you can see from the picture below.
Now it’s time to move on and start our tests of the MDISC.