ASUS DRW0402P/D DVD+/R/RW Drive Review

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ASUS DRW-0402P/D DVD±R/RW Drive Review
High Capacity on a Budget

By Chris Angelini
January 28, 2004

ASUS' DRW-0402P/D DVD±R/RW Drive
It's as clear as black and white


The DRW-0402P/D is a pretty straightforward drive.  Its beige front bezel features a single LED used for indicating activity, while a lone button is responsible for ejecting the loading tray.  There are a couple of ventilation slits for circulating air, and a small hole accommodates the included emergency-eject tool (incidentally, ASUS recommends using the emergency-eject feature as a last resort).  Otherwise the only other markings on the front of the DRW-0402P/D indicate the drive's compliance with both DVD-R and DVD+R formats, in addition to standard CD-R duties.  There's no headphone jack or volume control, which shouldn't be a problem considering the frequency of those features on modern cases. 

Aesthetically, the drive is fairly blasé.  Of course, if you're into the beige box look, it'll match the rest of your equipment.  And for conservative OEM purposes, the simplistic front bezel is a blessing.  Whereas Plextor touts the benefits of its black disk tray for minimizing errors, the ASUS drive sports a standard beige tray.  Nevertheless, the DRW-0402P/D maneuvered through our test suite with ease, despite its drive tray. 

      

The back of ASUS' DRW-0402P/D is laid out intuitively.  The power connector and IDE interface are both obvious additions, as are the jumper switches and analog audio outputs.  Actual jumper settings are etched into the back of the drive for easy installation. Finally, a circular arrangement of slits provide ventilation to the drive's rear. 

Unfortunately, there isn't a digital S/PDIF audio output, a feature that would normally correspond to the S/PDIF input on many higher-end sound cards.  Notice the foam padding that ASUS uses to muffle the noise created when the drive closes.  On our Plextor PX-708A 8x DVD+R burner, that material is actually on the inside of the loading tray.  It's a nice touch that results in a solid, yet subdued finish. 

  

  

As advertised, the DRW-0402P/D burns both DVD-R and DVD+R discs at 4x, or about 5.5MB per second.  In the event that you only have access to older media, its DVD+R performance (2.4x) is slightly better than the maximum DVD-R setting (2x).  Perhaps the most disappointing specification is a 16x ceiling for writing CD-R's, which nowadays fly along at at least 32 or 40x.  In the following section, we'll quantify this number so you can see exactly how long it'll take to copy your favorite audio CD at 16x.  Note also that the ±RW settings are lower than the write-once speeds.  It isn't unusual to see slower re-write options, but you should certainly be aware that such a task will consume roughly half an hour.  The last important observation, which was previously mentioned, is that the DRW-0402P/D doesn't support the Mt. Rainier write mode.

Pushing the DRW-0402P/D...  

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