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Media Review: Tuffdisc DVD-R 4x


E-net Distribution represents a huge number of DVD recordable media brands in Europe. Their portfolio currently includes brands like Ridisc, Bulkpaq, DataWrite and many others. Tuffdisc is one of their most recent additions to their selection.

In this review we have a look at the Tuffdisc DVD-R rated at 4x speed. Majority of the burns were done with a LiteON SOHW-1653S at the rated speed of 4x, but some burns were performed with other devices for verification of the results. The discs were scanned with a Kprobe 2.4.2 for error rate analysis. This method is not scientifically valid, and results may vary when different writers are used. However, error rate scans typically give a very good idea of the quality.



Tuffdisc - Forged in the fires of hell


The discs are advertised as extra durable, due to the coating on the top side of the disc.Quote from Tuffdisc.com:
Tuff Disc, as well as being based on a highly compatible dye, has the further advantage of being able to withstand any type of treatment thrown its way - from everyday wear and tear to the rough handling and damage caused by small children, or when taking data off-site. Our disc has been reprinted with a tough pebbledash finish producing a media surface that is 40 times more scratch resistant and 20 times more dust resistant than standard DVD media.


Indeed, the discs have a thick 'vinyl like' -orange coating on the top of the disc. We didn't actually test how durable the material is, but it seems reasonable to beleive that this coating quite protective.

What Tuffdisc actually is, is a "surprise spindle". This means that it is reprinted media, from various manufacturers. At nierle.com it is advertised to contain discs by A-grade manufacturers CMC, TDK, Mitsubishi Chemicals(MCC) and Fuji made discs. In the 100pcs we acquired, we encountered CMCs, TDKs, and MCCs but unfortunately no Fujis in this one. Naturally we did not go through every single disc in the 100pcs spindle - the results may vary from disc to disc, and from spindle to spindle.


CMC MAF. AF1 by CMC Magnetics Corporation


Majority of the discs in our 100pcs spindle were equipped with a CMC media identifier code, and also their physical serial number was pressed on the discs. The scan demonstrates rather medicore quality. The error rate is definitely not top notch, but still low enough not to give serious problems under most circumstances. The red spike is a bit worrying though.

The reason for the red spike in the graphs is most likely caused by a physical defect on the disc. For some reason many of the CMC manufactured Tuffdiscs had tiny scratches on the recording side. Intrestingly, most of them had an almost identical small defect, like it was bunched with needle. To me it seems were odd - has there been something wrong in the reprinting process that has caused the 'needle punches', or were these defects the reason these discs were reprinted in the first place?

The second graphs shows a rising error curve towards the end of the disc. The erros are again caused by physical defects, which this disc had at the outer rim of the recordable side. This time the error graphs simply shoots too high.


MCC 01RG20 by Mitsubishi Chemicals Corporation


From Mitsubishi I always expect top notch quality and they have never failed me. Even the reprinted MCCs I have used before has always performed very well. The MCC made discs did not have the systematic physical defects of the CMCs. However, this time there seems to be something wrong in the dye.

The error rate curve is clearly rising towards the end, peaking at 392. This is a bit too high for my taste, even though DVD player or DVD-ROMs may still be able to play these discs quite fine. However, it is expected that devices that are more sensitive to media quality may start to have problems with these discs.


TTG01 by TDK


The third media type discovered from the spindle was TDK's TTG01. These discs also seemed to suffer from rather systematic physical defects. Many of the discs had a slight linear smear on the recordable side, each identical in direction and shape.

The error rate graph of the TDK is quite constant. The effect of the smears doesn't seem to be too serious. If you look closely, you'll notice that the last two thirds of the graphs have slightly higher error rates than the beginning. It could be speculated that the linear smears are causing it (but that's not 100% sure though).


Conclusions


First of all I want to underline that Tuffdisc 4x spindle is not a bad buy. The discs were very affordable, one of the cheapest available, and they should be good enough for most uses.

Where the distributor of this brand goes wrong is advertising it as 'A-grade'. In my opinion it should stand for premium quality, and we can easily see that the MCCs for example aren't as good as we can expect from Mitsubishi if we buy it under the Verbatim label (for tripled price of course...).

The systematic physical defects on the CMCs and TDKs left me wondering about the origin of the scratches. Have the scratches occurred during shipping, or perhaps during the reprinting process? The fact that the discs have almost identical scratch marks also might suggest that it is the actual reason why they were relabeled in the first place? But then again, that would definitely make them less than A-grade, or wouldn't it?
Written by: Lasse Penttinen
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