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

CD/DVD Write Tests
How does the DRW-0402P/D stack up?

Nero CD-R Write Analysis:

DVD media is still fairly expensive, so CDs are still the most attractive media for backup, and of course, burning music.  Thus, we created a Nero compilation that consisted of 698MB of .mp3 files to test each drive's CD-writing capabilities. 

It's easy to criticize the DRW-0402P/D's 16x burning speed. After all, Plextor's PX-708A is rated at 40x. Taken in context, however, the real-world difference comes out to two and a half minutes between the two.  If you're used to a dedicated 52x CD-R drive, backing up to 16x is going to be unpleasant.  But if you're still tolerating an 8x or 16x writer, ASUS' DRW-0402P/D should still do the trick.

Nero DVD±R Write Analysis:

We performed a similar test to measure DVD writing performance, this time using a mixture of large files and smaller music files.  Additionally, because the DRW-0402P only supports DVD-R, we used a 4x Memorex -R disc to evaluate that drive.

Flying along at 8x, the Plextor PX-708A fills an entire DVD+R disc in little more than eight minutes.  The same process takes more than 14 minutes on the ASUS drives, which, unlike the prior test, is a significant difference.  Therefore, if you anticipate writing a fair number of DVD discs, stepping up to an 8x drive will make a significant difference. 


When  you look at the ASUS DRW-0402P/D, "value" should be your first thought.  It's an average performer, but it supports the most popular formats at an attractive price point.  It lacks support for Mt. Rainier, a technology that enables native operating system support of data storage on CD-RW and DVD±RW drives, but benefits from buffer underrun protection.  ASUS did a great job documenting the drive and given the few firmware updates on their site, they are supporting their customers as well.

It should also be noted that although Plextor's PX-708A appeared to sweep all of the performance benchmarks, it didn't do so perfectly.  Until we found the right combination of software and firmware (the latest version of Nero and the latest firmware for the Plextor drive), we were burning coaster after coaster.  Considering that DVD media averages more than $1 per disc, that's an expensive proposition.  Fortunately, it seems that Plextor has helped stabilize the PX-708A through consistent firmware updates.  On the same note, neither ASUS drive behaved perfectly, either.  The DRW-0402P/D, the star of our show, failed to burn the Saving Private Ryan using DVD X Copy, perhaps the most popular piece of mainstream software for copying encrypted DVD movies.  Meanwhile, the DRW-0402P choked up on the Nero DVD Data test.  Sadly, with so many manufacturers, brands of media, and demanding software applications, it's hard to guarantee unconditional compatibility.  ASUS has a good track record for supporting its products though, so there's a good chance that if problems are identified, they'll be fixed in short order.

Overall, it's difficult to place a final judgment on the DRW-0402P/D, a 4x DVD±R/RW drive competing in a market slowly filling with 8x drives.  Fortunately, new technology always comes at a premium, and while Plextor's PX-708A sells for a minimum of $190 online, you can find ASUS' top offering priced at about $125.  If value is your bottom line, pricey 8x drives might not even be an option, in which case ASUS' 0402P/D fits the bill.  Performance still reigns supreme, however.  If you anticipate burning a lot of DVD media, spend the extra $70 and get a newer 8x writer.

Although the DRW-0402P/D is an older drive, it's still ASUS' flagship DVD writer.  It's priced attractively, performs as advertised, and is extremely well-documented.  Nevertheless, the passing of time has seen the introduction of new technology, relegating the 0402P/D to the bargain bin.  NEC's ND-2500A ($125) burns DVDs at 8x, and although it isn't quite as fast as the Plextor drive, it'd probably be a better value than this ASUS drive we've shown you here today.

The Asus DRW-0402P/D earns a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of...  

 

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