BD-R vs USB vs SSD

Pros and cons of CD-R/DVD-R/BD-R vs. USB

Nowadays there are many options to store digital data. Evidence Grade offers the physical optical media, that being CD-R, DVD-R, and BD-R. With storage capacities close to 100GB, typically this media is sufficient for the majority of applications. However, with USB drives offering larger capacity, are they any safer, or reliable than optical media?

The choice of storage medium for storing evidence depends on several factors. Each option has its advantages and considerations:

BD-R (Blu-ray Disc Recordable): BD-R discs can be write-once and have a large storage capacity ranging from 25GB up to 100GB. They are a good option for long-term archiving and can be easily labeled and organized. However, they may require specialized hardware to read and write, and their longevity may vary depending on the quality of the discs and storage conditions.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) drives: USB drives are portable, widely compatible, and offer convenient plug-and-play functionality. They come in various storage capacities and are generally durable. However, USB drives can be easily lost, damaged, or corrupted if not handled properly. Encryption and password protection can help secure the data.

SSD (Solid-State Drive): SSDs provide fast data transfer speeds, high storage capacities, and are less prone to physical damage due to their lack of moving parts. They are suitable for both short-term and long-term storage. However, like USB drives, they can be lost, stolen, or suffer from data corruption if mishandled.

Ultimately, the choice depends on the specific requirements of the evidence, including storage capacity, portability, accessibility, security, and potential future compatibility. It is often recommended to have multiple copies of evidence stored on different media and in different physical locations to minimize the risk of loss or damage.

We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages in a side by side comparison so you can decide:

  CD-R DVD-R - 4.7GB/8.5GB BD-R - 25GB/50GB/100GB USB* 128GB SSD** 1TB
Cost per GB/100 units $0.98 $0.19 / $0.14 $0.05 / $0.06 / $0.07 $0.09 $0.10
Printable for Identification? Yes Yes Yes Difficult Difficult
Large Print Area? Yes Yes Yes No No
Can they transfer Virus/Malware? Difficult Difficult Difficult Once infected, transfer is easy. Once infected, transfer is easy.
Can data be accidentally overwritten/deleted? No No No Easily Easily
Lifetime (Years) Evidence Grade ≥ 30 ≥ 30 ≥ 50 ≤ 10 ≤ 10

*=Sandisk 128GB Ultra 3.0 USB Drive **=Sandisk 1TB Ultra 3.0 SSD Drive

How long will data stay valid for on a USB drive ?

Memory cards, USB, and SSD drives are NOT designed for long term storage. You should always backup your data on to another device. The data will normally stay valid for a period of up to 10 years if stored under normal conditions. The data cells inside carry a charge which can dissipate over time. The data can be refreshed; copy all data off card and then format the card or USB drive and then restore all data to extend the data for another 10 years. Source:


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Evidence Grade® is now your sole source of Evidence Grade® media, including CD-R, DVD-R DVD±R, BD-R, BD-R-DL, and BD-RXL. We provide this media to US Government Agencies, Federal and State Prosecutors, District Attorneys, Courts, and State, Local, and County Law Enforcement organizations. These organizations require that any media used for original or derived evidence must be readable until after the last appeal. For evidence use, we manufacture Evidence Grade® media and Judicial Grade Media. The Evidence Grade® media is for use where recording and storage may be under adverse environmental and physical conditions. Evidence Grade® has been the source for Evidence Grade® media for the Law Enforcement community since 2009. Learn More

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