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ASUS CRW-5232AS Drive ASUS CRW-5232AS Drive: At 52x read/write and 32x re-write, it certainly has the speed. Are there any intangibles to set it apart though?
Date: February 8, 2004
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Introduction

ASUS has been a leading motherboard manufacturer for years and has branched out into other market segments. First it was video cards in 1996, and more recently in 1999 they moved into the optical drive segment. Today we take a look at the CRW-5232AS, and see if it's up to task of being your primary burner.

Product Features

Multi-Functions: 52X Write/32X Rewrite/52X Read
CAV (constant angular velocity) Writing Strategy
FlextraLink" Buffer Underrun Errors Prevention Technology
FlextraSpeed" Optimal Writing Speed Adjustment Technology
Superior Stability with DDSS II (2nd Generation Double Dynamic Suspension System)
High-Speed DAE (Max. 52X) and VCD Data Extraction Supported
Supports Multi-Format and O/S Compatibility
Windows XP Logo Certified
Plug & Play Supported
Vertical and Horizontal (+5° ~ -5°) Mounting Available
Unique Dust-Proof and Noise-Control Design

Because this isn't a technical article about the inner workings of the CRW-5232AS, I'm not going to go into the technologies that it uses; rather I'll provide the white papers from ASUS' website.

FlextraLink, a flexible and Strategic Writing Technology preventing users from buffer underrun problems caused by an empty data buffer, thereby eliminating the creation of unusable discs. Throughout the recording process, FlextraLink consistently monitors the data buffer status to ensure best recording quality. Once the available data drops below 1% of the total buffer capacity, FlextraLink suspends the recording and sets a marker at the last written position to avoid recording blocks. As soon as enough cache data is refilled in, the pickup head repositions itself to the marker and restarts the recording. FlextraLink uses minimal system resources so the PC remains full operational and available for other applications even during recording process.

In English, it's essentially a burn proof technology, always nice to have.

FlextraSpeed (Flexible and Strategic Speed Switch Tech.) for optimal recording speed. FlextraSpeed enhances accuracy and reliability when writing/re-writing across a broad base of certified media. It continuously monitors the recording media and sets the optimal writing speeds to ensure best recording quality.

Depending on the quality of the discs, the burner will automatically adjust the burn speed for optimal speed and quality.

The DDSS II is an enhanced follow-up to the first generation Double Dynamic Suspension System developed by ASUS. The DDSS technology is designed to minimize the vibration caused by the spindle motor and resonance between components as well as the drive and PC cases.

DDSS II makes tracking and focusing even more precise, and successfully reduces the vibration and noise caused by high revolution of the spindle motor.

The CRW-5232AS comes in more or less a standard looking CD-ROM drive box like this:

The drive itself is cradled between two pieces of Styrofoam packing material, along with other items that come with the burner.

Included inside with the burner is, the burner itself, Nero 6 Express, a bundle CD that includes PowerDirector ME, Medi@Show, and ASUSDVD, a basic installation and usage instruction manual, and an emergency eject pin, with instructions.

All the items included are pretty self explanatory. However I wish that ASUS would have decided to put the full version of Nero 6 with the CRW-5232AS, but unfortunately no so luck. As for the other software, the ASUS DVD player proved to be quite good at playing DVD's, and operated similarly to WinDVD. I wondered why ASUS decided to package DVD software for a CD-RW, but it is useful, and free none the less.

The ASUS CRW-5232AS includes an IDE and audio cable, which we here at VL consider a bonus since almost every optical drive we've received included none. There is also an ejector pin in case you need to manually eject a disc, so no more bending paper clips.

The drive is just standard beige, but it is also available in black, for those whom are trying to match all of their hardware. I personally am not too much for the rounded shape of the bezel and wish that ASUS would have just made it flat, but to each their own. The problem with a rounded bezel is those nifty aluminum faceplates to stealth optical drives will not mount flush with the ASUS burner.

From left to right, the order of the ports/buttons on the front of the unit are: speaker out, volume control, write LED, read LED, play/next, and stop/eject. Nothing of note on the rear of the drive, just the IDE connection, power, audio connection and the jumper for Master/Slave and Cable Select.

The length of the drive is slightly shorter than most drives and measures 17.4 centimeters, whereas my DVD-ROM drive is at least 3cm longer then that. This is advantageous especially when trying to squeeze an optical drive into an SFF.

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