HH Test Bed and Nero InfoTool
The outside the drive sports a familiar look. Long gone are the days of headphone jacks with independent volume. Nowadays, drives are evolving, devoid of antiquated features of yesterday. The DRW-1604P follows the same line of thinking, sporting an eject button, seek light and emergency eject hole. On the rear of the drive, it drive has the common IDE, Master/Slave/CS jumper and audio out connections, commonly found on most optical drives made today.
While the drive is strikingly similar to its peers on the outside, there are some differences. With the DRW-1604P, ASUS opted to leave the CD tray the standard beige color. We've seen several OEMs move to black trays which supposedly helps absorb stray light reflected during the read/write process, improving overall operational accuracy. In this case, it looks like ASUS has chosen to rely on its own mechanisms to improve overall drive accuracy.
Along with FlextraLink Buffer Underrun technology, ASUS utilizes their DDSSII (Double Dynamic Suspension System) to reduce noise created by vibration at various speeds. They couple this with their Optical Pickup Head LCD Tilt which compensates for disk irregularities such as variations in thickness and curves. Both of these not only improve read/write operations, ASUS claims the effects of these help extend the life of re-writable media, increasing how may times a disk can be re-written. What we can say is that not only do these techniques improve accuracy, they also help in making for an exceptionally quiet drive overall.
ASUS DRW-1604P Dual Layer DVD+/- R/RW
Utilities and Media Used For Testing
Nero InfoTool is a simple-to-run utility that catalogues a drive's functionality by polling its firmware. Here we lined up the DRW-1604P as well as a Plextor PX712A for reference.
Overall, the ASUS DRW-1604P covers a broad range with its features and functionality. The drive supports most of the major features available on the market except for CD+G and Mt Ranier. CD+G is commonly used with Karaoke software, whereas Mt. Ranier works with Operating Systems that offer native CD/DVD writing. Since broad support for Mt. Ranier is still a few years away, this is a minor strike against an otherwise feature rich CD/DVD writer.