The adoption of Blu-ray drives in desktop PCs has been steady – not stratospheric, but the technological side of the high-definition disc format continues to develop.
Pioneer’s BDR-206MBK is the first drive we’ve seen to support the brand-new BDXL technology, which means it supports triple-layer BD-R (write-once) and BD-RE (re-writable) discs with huge capacities of 100GB, and even 128GB quad-layer BD-R discs.
It is important to note that the BDXL discs this drive burns to won’t work in standard Blu-ray drives. It’s definitely a specialist archiving solution, rather than a means of disseminating large quantities of data.
Given the layers involved, the Pioneer limits burning of these new multilayer BDXL discs to 4x speed, rather than the 8x of single and dual-layer discs. It supports the full range of legacy formats, although its 8x speed for writing DVDs is much slower than standard DVD writers.
We filled the bundled triple-layer 100GB BD-R disc with a mixture of small and large files designed to replicate a typical single-user backup and it took 1hr 34mins to complete. The resulting transfer rate of 16MB/sec isn’t the quickest we have seen.
Compatibility and speed are compromised, then, but the biggest downside will be price. The drive itself should be twice the price of standard Blu-ray writers. And media, when available, won’t be cheap.
Admittedly, half the point of BDXL is that it gives the tiny footprint and added security of a physical archive, but the exceptionally low price of multi-terabyte hard disks makes Blu-ray archiving look poor value.
New technology always takes time to bed in and settle down, and though BDXL won’t be for everyone, it’s fit for purpose. If you’ve decided on optical archiving, then the Pioneer BDR-206MBK can back up vast amounts of data in a reasonable length of time.