We've taken a look at quite a few dual format DVD burners over the last few months, and found some to be better than others for various reasons. Most, if not all, of the drives we've reviewed shined in one area, but were lacking in another. Whether it be slower CD-R burning speeds, lack of options, or slow access times, we keep pressing on trying to find that one drive that will cover all the basics well. Don't take this the wrong way, however, as we have generally been impressed by of what we've seen in the past, and the Plextor 708A still reigns supreme as our burner of choice (a drive, by the way, that we gave a 9.5 and an Editor's Choice award last December).
Today, we're going to take an in-depth look at Asus' 8X Dual Format DVD / CD Burner. It's the first drive we've received so far that burns DVDs at both 8X DVD+R and 8X DVD-R. Thus, there are no handicaps depending on which media you've purchased, assuming you can actually find 8X media, that is. It may be a little surprising to find this drive coming from Asus, however, as generally one expects the "big guns" of the market to come out with the more advanced drives, with the rest playing catch-up. Asus, highly regarded for their excellent motherboards and video cards, has stepped up to the plate, looking to hit one out of the park with their offering of the DRW-0804P 8X Dual Format DVD Drive. Will this drive go the distance, or fall just short on the warning track?
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|Model: Asus DRW-0804P
Interface: Enhanced IDE (ATAPI)
Data Buffer Memory: 2MB
Average DVD Access Time: 140ms
Average CD Access Time: 130ms
Data Transfer Rates:
DVD+R Write: 8x (ZCLV)
DVD-R Write: 8x (ZCLV)
DVD+RW Write: 4x (CLV)
DVD-RW Write: 4x (CLV)
DVD Read: Up to 12x (CAV)
CD-R Write: 24x (ZCLV)
CD-RW Write: 24x (ZCLV)
CD Read: Up to 40x (CAV)
Supported Formats: CD-Audio, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-R, CD-RW, KODAK Photo CD, Video CD, CD-I, CD-Extra, CD-Text, DVD-ROM, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM
Front Panel: Eject/Load Button, READ/WRITE LED Indicator, and Emergency Eject pinhole
You'll only be able to get so far with the DRW-0804P without some cables and software, so Asus wisely included a little of both. After removing the drive from the padded inserts, which are used to stabilize the drive during shipping and handling, we rummaged through the contents of the box to catalog its accessories, which included:
The place where many new users will want to start will be the User's Manual, which covers basic operations and installation instructions. It covers the various options well, with large pictures, so that nothing is left to the DIY builder's imagination. For the more experienced user, the quick installation guide should suffice, although I would highly expect that installing a new drive is all but a second-hand operation by now. Still, it can't hurt for a quick reference of the jumper settings at the very least. To get said drive installed, we've got a typical 40-pin IDE cable, and mounting screws, as well as an audio cable, which we've seen less of in our last few reviews. Asus has also included an emergency ejection pin with added instructions on how and when to use such a device (and all these years I've been using a straightened out paper clip, for shame). It seemed to be a mostly complete set of tools, but the only software we received was an installation CD for Nero Burning Rom 6. Admittedly one of the best CD/DVD authoring tools on the market, we have absolutely no issue with the inclusion of a full working version of Nero. We were concerned, however, with the lack of any media to actually use Nero with. Alas, not including any blank media is one of the means of keeping prices down, and I guess it could be assumed that anybody buying a new drive will shell out the additional money for a spindle of CD-Rs or DVD-Rs as well.