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MSI FX5700 Ultra-TD128 ASUS DRW-0804P DVD Burner: We have a spin with an ASUS DVD burner that supports multiple formats at 8x burn speeds.
Date: June 9, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:
 

    Over the past few years DVD burning has moved forward, faster some would say than CD burning did in its infancy.  We have gone from a few hundred dollars for a 1X DVD burner just about two years ago, to between one and two hundred for an 8X DVD +/- burner.  However the main sore point during the start of DVD burning era was which format to use, as there was + adopted by companies such as HP, and then there was - which was adopted by the MPC.

    This lead to questions that are still asked today, such as which format is more compatible, + or -?  We will look at this question during our review by testing the disks on a couple of different players.  The format war will never really end it seems so we can but give the facts about the different drives.

    ASUS has moved onto other technological areas besides their motherboard business, with video cards, burners, Pocket PC's, and laptops also in their portfolio.  Having released only one DVD burner previous to their latest, one may wonder if ASUS will have the same quality that their motherboards do.

ASUS DRW-0804P

    ASUS has a reputation to uphold with their products, so does this drive offer a quality package or does it provide a more basic packaging.  Lets take a look at the drive, and if you wan to take a look at the drives specifications, .

    Here's the contents of the box:

  • The Drive
  • Manual
  • Nero Burning ROM
  • IDE cable
  • Eject Pin
  • Audio cable

    So taking a look at the drive we see that it is a fairly standard IDE optical drive.  The contents of the package include one of my favorite burning programs Ahead Nero version 6.  A nice touch that ASUS included was the emergency eject pin, which can save you time if you manage to get a disk stuck in the drive.  The one main thing that this package is missing is disks, either a +/- R or RW would be nice, as 8X disks are fairly rare in Canada still.

    The software itself is a decent looking program though it isn't the full Nero version.  Rather it is Nero Express version 6, though it comes with many of the features of the full Nero program.   What you loose is the main Nero Explorer window, as well as some of the other newer features Ahead has added.  Some of these are a MPEG-2 encoder, backup program, and video capture program.  

    The above images show what you have to work with, either starting with the Smart Start program or the actual Nero Express program.  Smart Start is just a facade that takes you to Nero Express when you pick your task.  While I would have preferred the full program, this is almost as good as the full version, with just some things missing.

    However the software isn't what is primary in the package, its the drive.  With this drive the big thing is that it is a 8X +/-R writing and the 4X +/-RW writing.  So lets see how the drive did compared to two other DVD writers.

Benchmark System

CPU:

AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1833MHz) Barton Core

Motherboard: ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe Bios 1008
Memory:

1 - 256MB Corair PC3200, 1 - 256MB OCZ PC3500 - (133MHz, 2-2-5-2)

Hard Drives :

40GB Maxtor 6E040L0, 40GB Maxtor 6L040J2, 2*80GB Maxtor SATA 6Y080M0

Video Card: ATi AiW Radeon 9000 Pro - 64MB
Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP1 - DirectX 9b
Drives: LG GMA-4020B 2X DVD-R/RW/RAM External Drive 
Pioneer DVR-105 4X DVD-R/RW
ASUS DRW-0804P 8X DVD +/-R/RW 
Cooler: Alpha PAL-8045T
Case: InWin Q500
Power Supply: Sea Sonic SS-400FB
Software: Ahead Nero Express 6.3.0.0
Nero CD-DVD Speed 2.10.2

    All the reading tests were run using CD-DVD Speed, for the video DVD tests, WinDVD was run at the start so that the program could access the encryption key.  For the CD writing tests CD-DVD Speed was also used to show the speed of burning all the way through the disk.  For the DVD writing tests Nero Express was used, and we burned a 4.14GB ISO file, based on a DVD movie captured from TV (Star Wars Ep. 4).  The time it took to burn the ISO was recorded, as then graphed.  So lets now look at the results.

CD Reading/Writing Tests

    First we will look at the most basic uses of these drives, as regular CD readers and also as writers.  Lets see how they do.

ASUS DRW-0804P Pioneer DVR-105 LG GMA-4020B
Seek Times ASUS DRW-0804P Pioneer DVR-105 LG GMA-4020B
Random (ms) 128 126 n/a
1/3 (ms) 156 156 n/a
Full Access (ms) 298 296 n/a

    The results are telling.  The ASUS drive is a 40X drive, while the Pioneer and LG drives are 32X drives.  It doesn't matter if its a burned CD or its a pressed CD all the drives perform almost the same.  The ASUS has the speed advantage by about 3/4 of a MB/s.  Seek times are similar for the two drives that we got results for.  The LG drive gave consistent results of 2 or 3ms for all seek time tests, possibly due to the fact that it is an external drive bay.  Now lets see how the three drives do CD writing.

NEXT


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