Cheap CD’s and laptops – the color is important.

Something I wrote back in January 2004, it still holds up fairly well.

Cheap CD’s and laptops…
The Development Lab have found that the Compaq E500 laptop has problems reading "cheap" CD’s.

Because of this, the Development Lab now use a known quality brand.  At the moment, we’re using "Verbatim DataLifePlus" CDs.

So if you copy the CD’s we send you, and you have CD errors, please check the quality of CD that you are using.

CD-R read quality seems based on dye type and manufacturer.

Dye colour.
Different brand CD-R’s may use different dye colours.

Cyanine
Cyanine was the first dye used with CD-R’s, and was the dye used in the "Orange Book" standard.

As it was the first dye used, CD-R burners are most comfortable with it.  "Cyanine discs use a Long Write Strategy"

Note that while the Verbatim DataLifePlus disk is a AZO based disk, it’s ATIP track reports it as a Cyanine disk.

Phthalocyanine
Phthalocyanine disks are less sensitive to ordinary light, we is a bonus as far as durable / storage goes. (not affected as much by UV light)

The downside is that the tolerance for a CD burn laser is a lot tighter with Phthalocyanine, than Cyanine based disks.

Because of these tighter tolerances, it is thought that Cyanine is more compatible with CD readers.  "Phthalocyanine discs use a Short Write Strategy".  RadioShack CD-R Data 700MB CD is a Phthalocyanine based disk.
(There are more than two dyes, but these are the most common).

Manufacturers.
Who makes the disk seems as important as the type of dye used.
(eg. a good brand of Phthalocyanine based disk, will work as well as a Cyanine type disk).

It seems that some manufacturers produce a consistently better CD than others.
In general, the following are "good" brands:

  • Imation
  • Kodak
  • Verbatim

Conclusion
For production releases of SOE and Agency Software Bundles, we should stick with good quality disks, preferably with an Cyanine / AZO dye, as the Compaq E500 laptop DVD drive seems to have problems reading cheap / Phthalocyanine disks.

References:
CD Dye (CD Media World)
The Rest of the Rest of the Story: Shedding Some Coherent Light on CD-R, by Dana J. Parker
Media Science, Inc.
DVD Identifier – Your DVD, HD DVD & Blu-ray Companion

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