What exactly is a DVD-RAM drive and how does it work?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Subject line pretty much sez it all. I know that they're in a lot of older PowerMac G4s, but what exactly do they do? Someone told me that they just write data DVDs, not video DVDs or CD-Rs, and they read both DVDs and CDs. But I was told that that was not correct, so I'm just wondering what exactly they can read and write.

Edit: I just found a site using Google that tries to explain what DVD-RAM is. I'm still not quite sure, but it compares it to DVD-R and DVD-RW. Apparently, DVD-RAM can be rewritten 100,000 times, whereas DVD-R can't be rewritten and DVD-RW can only be rewritten about 1,000 times. And DVD-RAM is less expensive. So why do we want DVD-R if DVD-RAM is so much better (or so it seems)?

BTW, the address for the page is <a href="http://www.toshiba.com/taissdd/products/docs/dvdramwhitepaper.shtml"; target="_blank">http://www.toshiba.com/taissdd/products/docs/dvdramwhitepaper.shtml</a>; and it's pretty old. It lists a DVD-R drive as costing $17,000 and media being $100 a pop!

[ 07-03-2002: Message edited by: Luca Rescigno ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 7
    digixdigix Posts: 109member
    Here's from the Apple Knowledge Base article ?SuperDrive: About Rewriteable DVD Discs? with the article number of ?42718?

    <a href="http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=42718"; target="_blank">http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=42718</a>;


    There are three formats for rewritable DVD discs: DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM.


    DVD-RW is a rewriteable format (similar in nature to CD-RW). DVD-RW has a read-write capacity of 4.7 gigabytes per side. It can be rewritten up to about 1000 times. Both DVD-R and DVD-RW were developed and approved by the DVD Forum (http://www.dvdforum.org), of which Apple is a member.

    The SuperDrive can use DVD-RW discs. Mac OS X can write to DVD-R General Media discs, which are not rewriteable. Roxio's Toast 5 Titanium and Charismac's Discribe 5 can write to DVD-RW discs. Contact Roxio and Charismac for additional information.

    Once written, DVD-R and DVD-RW discs can be used in many different drives and players. The DVD Compatibility page (http://www.apple.com/dvd/compatibility) only lists players compatible with DVD-R discs. Because of differences in DVD-R and DVD-RW media, not all players that read DVD-R discs will read DVD-RW discs. Check with the player manufacturer for DVD-RW compatibility information.


    DVD+RW is a rewriteable format of similar capacity to DVD-RW, but was developed separately by the DVD+RW Alliance (http://www.dvdrw.com/). DVD+RW is not write compatible with DVD-R drives such as the SuperDrive, so the SuperDrive cannot

    write to DVD+RW discs.


    DVD-RAM can be looked at as a large capacity floppy or Zip disk as it is has random read-write access. The disc is part of a cartridge and is available in 2.6 GB and 4.7 GB single-sided and 5.2 GB and 9.4 GB double-sided capacities. It can be rewritten more than one hundred thousand times. DVD-RAM was developed by the DVD Forum seperately from the release of DVD-R and DVD-RW.

    While some DVD-RAM discs can be removed from the cartridge, those discs cannot be read by or written to using the SuperDrive.

    Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute Apple's recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information. Document 17159 can help you search for a particular vendor's address and phone number: "Locating Vendor Information"

  • Reply 2 of 7
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    So all a DVD-RAM can do, outside of reading CDs and DVDs, is be used as high capacity backup storage or transfer to other computers with DVD-RAM drives? Well, it may be useful, but it's not as useful as I thought it was. Thanks for the info.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    It's useful in a sense that it can be written to at any time, out of order, just like a HD or floppy disk. A DVD-RW cannot function like a floppy. If you want to erase something on a DVD-RW, you have to erase the entire disk.

    DVD+RW is supposed to offer the functionality of DVD-RAM with better compatibility with consumer DVD players. The only problem is the group behind the technology. The DVD Forum has more weight than the DVD Alliance, especially in the consumer electronics business. They also have a headstart, cheaper hardware and fewer hiccups...(the HP/Philips no DVD+R capability upgrade fiasco anyone?)

    EDIT: There are companies that make combo DVD-RAM/DVD-R drives. The only problem with these drives is that they don't write DVD-RWs...If Panasonic or Pioneer would band together and create a DVD-R/RW/RAM combo drive, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

    [ 07-03-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 7
    thuh freakthuh freak Posts: 2,664member
    can the `superdrive` write cd-r's? can it do cd-rw's? or does it only do dvd-r/w's?
  • Reply 5 of 7
    jutusjutus Posts: 272member
    [quote]Originally posted by thuh Freak:

    <strong>can the `superdrive` write cd-r's? can it do cd-rw's? or does it only do dvd-r/w's?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    It can do them all, that's why it's the SuperDrive!

  • Reply 6 of 7
    mimacmimac Posts: 872member
    [quote]Originally posted by jutus:


    It can do them all, that's why it's the SuperDrive!


    Yes....but, Apple does not support DVDRW yet on Superdrive.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    bluesignsbluesigns Posts: 315member
    if you know of a place to get DVD-RAM media cheaper than DVD-R media ...pease let me know.

    i am trying to figure out what to use my DVD-RAM drive for other than a book-end or a door-stop.

    when Apple came out in support of DVD-RAM technology i figured they were in for keeps, so i bought one.

    then Apple discontinued using them in their machines and as far as i can tell - the media price never came down anywhere near how low DVD-R media has come down.

    i have found DVD-R media for under 1.41$ a disc.

    THAT"S .30¢ a GIG !!! THIRTY CENTS !?!

    try and find a DVD-RAM disc for that price.

    maybe DVD-RAM is a more reliable solution for long term back-up. i don't know that for a fact.

    i am using a superdrive to back-up to DVD-R .

    i'm still hoping and looking for someway to utilize my DVD-RAM drive but if i could get a decent price for it, i'd sell it in a heartbeat.

    i jumped too soon when i made that purchase.
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