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ASUS DRW-0402P DVD-R/RW Drive Review

July 8, 2003







ASUS is well known in the IT sphere for its broad range of original products. In particular,  it has a good line of optical drives of its own design. A while ago the company entered a relatively young sector of DVD-R/RW drives. ASUS hasn't bring out any models of its own design and still uses OEM drives from Pioneer. One of its models, ASUS DRW-0402P, a top solution of the company's line, will be tested today.




Specification.

  • Interface: Enhanced-IDE (ATAPI)
  • Read rate:
    • CD-ROM/R: 32x max. (CAV)
    • CD-RW: 32x max. (CAV)
    • DVD-ROM: 12X max. (CAV)
    • DVD-R/RW: 6X max. (CLV)

  • Burn rate:
    • CD-RW: 8x, 4x
    • CD-R: 16x, 12x, 8x, 4x
    • DVD-RW: 2x, 1x
    • DVD-R: 4x, 2x, 1x

  • Formats supported:
    • DVD:DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD Video
    • CD: Photo CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-TEXT, CD-R, CD-RW

  • Burn methods
    • DVD-R: DAO, Incremental Recording, Multi-Border Recording DVD-RW: Restricted Overwriting
    • CD-R/RW: TAO (Track-At-Once), DAO (Disc-At-Once), SAO (Session-At-Once), Packet Write

  • Access time
    • CD-ROM: 130ms (Random)
    • DVD-ROM: 140ms (Random)

  • Buffer size: 2MBytes
  • MTBF 60,000 POH(20% POH)
  • Dimensions: 148m x 190mm x 42.3mm
  • Weight: 1.1 kg

The drive came in the Retail package. The box also contains a blank CD-R, 2 CDs with software (software for CD/DVD recording and editing, AsusDVD player), installation guide, cables (interface and audio) and bolts.




The drive is very similar to Pioneer's DVR-105 model. They have identical front panels with typical air vents, bolts above and the same printed-circuit boards. In this respect, ASUS's drive and the TEAC's one are as two peas in a pot.

The label on top provides information on the location and time of production. 





The installation caused no problems. A user is offered a standard procedure, like that of an ordinary CD-ROM drive. The drive needs no special drivers. Yo can do just with the NeroBurning Rom ver 5.5.10.20 which identifies the drive correctly.




Now let's use other utilities to get more information on the drive; for example, Nero Infotool, which tells what formats and disc types the drive supports:





As you can see from the screenshot, it's still impossible to turn the drive into RPC-1 (according to www.firmware-flash.com). However, you can use the DVD Region free program which provides the regional protection. 

EAC (EAC Configuration Wizard) tells us about Audio CDs.




Well, it's typical of all drives from Pioneer to return information about C2 errors.

Now, when we have preliminary information on the drive, let's dive into the tests.  

Test results

DVD recording

The DVD-R media was recorded without problems. However, I hoped that ASUS would make corrections in the drive's firmware. But they didn't do that and you can see the performance typical of Pioneer's drives and the same problems of incompatibility with some types of DVD-R media. The drive doesn't support blank media of some manufacturers, in particular, from Prodisk whose discs can be found under SmartBuy, Digitex and some other trade marks. Here is the identifier in the Lead-In of such media.

00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 8A 0D 14  .B...@....P.....
88 88 80 00 03 50 52 4F 44 49 53 00 04 43 47 30 .....PRODIS..CG0
31 00 00 00 05 CC C0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 1...............

Gigastorage's media selling under the Digitex and Universal Asia trade marks are not supported either. Here is their identifier.

00 6A 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 8C 06 14  .J...@....P.....
88 88 80 00 03 47 53 43 30 30 31 00 04 20 20 20 .....GSC001..
20 20 20 00 05 CC C0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 .............

The DVD discs of different types were recorded successfully, no errors were noticed at all speeds available.




Here is the burn time for different discs.

DVD-R recording
Drive recording at 1x, min. recording at 2x, min. recording at 4x, min.
ASUS DRW-0402P 57:24 28:42 14:41

DVD-RW recording
Drive fast clearing, min. recording at 1x, min. recording at 2x, min.
ASUS DRW-0402P 00:24 57:16 28:21

All DVDs recorded passed the control reading test on two reference DVD-ROM drives Toshiba SD-M1712 and Pioneer DVD-117LJ. The tests on the home DVD player BBK 939 revealed no problems with reading, the movies were played without artifacts. 

Below are also results of reading of the recorded discs for the Lite-On drive with the KProbe utility. The KProbe utility is a new test program developed for OS Widows which estimates a level of C1/C2 errors on a disc tested. The outcome may depend on whether the drive favors a given disc, but we can obtain some general data anyway. 

ASUS DRW-0402P, 4x burn speed (Idinteractive)




ASUS DRW-0402P, 2x burn speed (Princo)




ASUS DRW-0402P, 1x burn speed (Imation)



DVD media reading

NERO DVD Speed

Test DVD reading

ASUS DRW-0402P 1-layer DVD (stamped DVD-Data)




ASUS DRW-0402P
Average speed 9.33x CAV
Random Seek 136 ms
Full Seek 305 ms
CPU usage (Max Speed) 2 %
SpinUp Time 0.01 sec
SpinDown Time 3.11 sec
Disc Recognition Time 1.01 sec


ASUS DRW-0402P 2-layer DVD (stamped DVD-Video)




ASUS DRW-0402P
Average speed 2.06x CAV
Random Seek 138 ms
Full Seek 296 ms
CPU usage (Max Speed) 2 %
SpinUp Time 0.02 sec
SpinDown Time 3.12 sec
Disc Recognition Time 0.64 sec
Layer Change Time 256 ms



Reading of recordable DVD

DVD+R reading

ASUS DRW-0402P



DVD+RW reading

ASUS DRW-0402P



DVD-R reading

ASUS DRW-0402P



DVD-RW reading

ASUS DRW-0402P



The drive flawlessly reads all types of recordable DVD media, as well as multiborder DVD discs. But reading of DVD-R/RW media is still slow.

DVD Video copying with Smart Ripper

CD-RW drive Average speed
ASUS DRW-0402P 4.3 X

CD-R and CD-RW recording

CD burning time

Traditionally, we used two types of media - with cyanine and phthalocyanine coating. The number of the trade marks were lift up to 4, 2 of each type, to provide more information of how the drive treats discs of different trade marks. The burning results will be partially represented in the graphical form.

Recording on the ASUS DRW-0402P ( Philips 32x, phthalocyanine)



The screenshot above looks the same for all trade marks of the discs. The burn speed was the same for all trade marks and types of media. We also tested ability of the drive to record cyanine discs at the minimal speed, - this mode is usually used by music lovers to get the highest quality sound. 

CD-R disc Burn time
Philips 32x 5:22
Verbatim 48x 5:21
Mirex 48x 5:22
SKC 4x 21:14

To extend the picture, I added the results of the Verbatim CD-RW 10x. 

Recording on the ASUS DRW-0402P (Verbatim 10x CD-RW)



Time of CD-RW full formatting in UDF with InCD ver. 3.5.2

CD-RW recording in UDF format, 530 Mb test packet in 3550 files.  

Verbatim DataLifePlus 10x

CD-RW drive Burn time (min.) Formatting time (min.)
ASUS DRW-0402P 11:58 14:34

Operation with 80mm CDs (tested with a CD-RW disc), formatting and recording in UDF

Formatting and recording of the 80mm CD-RW disc in UDF, 4x write speed. 

CD-RW drive Formatting time (min.) Burn time (min.)
ASUS DRW-0402P 9:31 6:58

The drive reads and burns 80mm discs quite well.

BLER factor of the recorded CD-R

The most important part of the tests, and we here used the device described in this article

CD-R disc BLER
Philips 32x 4-8
Verbatim 48x 10-23
Mirex 48x 12-25
SKC 4x 35-57

The error level of the most recorded discs is pretty low, that is why the record quality can be considered good. 

Reading of the discs recorded for the Lite-On drive with KProbe

Reading of the Philips disc recorded on the ASUS DRW-0402P




Reading of the Verbatim recorded on the ASUS DRW-0402P




Reading of the Mirex disc recorded on the ASUS DRW-0402P




Reading of the SKC disc recorded on the ASUS DRW-0402P



The level of errors is not that high. Later we will publish the test results obtained with the professional equipment CDCATS SA3, and then we will see who is right in this test. 

Overburn

CD-RW drive 80 min CD-R 90 min CD-R
ASUS DRW-0402P 81:22.42 96:01.05

CD reading: main parameters

CDWinBench 99

ASUS DRW-0402P
Winmark 1180
Inside transfer 2420 Kb/s
Outside transfer 4680 Kb/s
CPU Utilization 0.97 %
Access Time 118 ms

NERO CD Speed

Test CD reading 

ASUS DRW-0402P




ASUS DRW-0402P
Average speed 25.20 CAV
Random Seek 131 ms
Full Seek 295 ms
CPU Usage 8X 6 %
SpinUp Time 0.01
SpinDown Time 3.11
Disc Recognition Time 0.12 sec
Accurate stream Yes

CD-ROM Drive Analyzer

Test CD-R reading 

ASUS DRW-0402P




Test CD-RW reading
 
ASUS DRW-0402P



Low-quality CD reading

ASUS DRW-0402P



CD audio track extraction (CDDAE 99, EAC)

CDDAE ASUS DRW-0402P
  Licensed disc  Pirated disc
Average extraction speed 18.6x 17.4x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%


EAC (high-quality mode) ASUS DRW-0402P
  Licensed disc  Pirated disc
Average extraction speed 6.0x 5.8x
Total errors 0.00% 0.00%

Advanced DAE Quality(Nero CD-Speed)

ASUS DRW-0402P drive




Note that the drive correctly reads Subchannel Data. In general, the drive copes well with this test. 

The detailed information on the tested parameters is given in the help file to the Nero CD Speed test program. If you don't want to download the utility, then here you can find the HTMl help file.

DAE Quality (EAC)

This test was made by the developer of the EAC, and it's called DAE Quality (here you can find its description). In short, it measures quality of audio data extraction and quality of C2 error processing with a special test disc. In this case we couldn't measure C2 processing quality, and below are only general data on quality of audio track extraction.

ASUS DRW-0402P  drive




ASUS DRW-0402P

  • Total Test Result : 71.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Direct copying of information from 780 MB CD-R to HDD

The drive successfully copied the contents of the 780MB disc without errors.

ASUS DRW-0402P drive




The copy time was
  • ASUS DRW-0402P - 14 min. 05 sec.

Physical characteristics of the drive

Noise

CD-RW drive Tray CD-Seek CD general DVD-Seek DVD general
ASUS DRW-0402P 8/10 8/10 7/10 8/10 8/10

The drive works pretty quietly except those cases when it works with CDs which are not properly balanced and when it works at the maximum speed.

Thermal conditions

CD-RW drive T inside PC case, C T of the upper surface, C T of the lower surface, C
ASUS DRW-0402P 36 48 49

The drive doesn't get too hot even when used a lot. But be careful when placing other devices close to it as they can burn.

Vibration in case of unbalanced CDs

The drive vibrated a little when worked with such discs but it managed to finish their reading without errors, though the speed wasn't high.

Conclusion

We have just tested one more clone of Pioneer's drive. This is a classical realization of  a drive of the 4x DVD-R/2x DVD-RW class. It works with CD-R/RW media at a too low speed and supports DVD-R media not from all manufacturers. Unfortunately, there are no original realizations of DVD-R/RW drives on the market except the one from Toshiba. Probably, drive makers focus on developing multiformat models, and users have to get what's offered and wait further.


Roman Shelepov aka SRL (srl@ixbt.com)

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