Saturday, November 12, 2011

ASUS DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Reliable and fast
Cons: A little loud at full speed

Current System

AMD Athlon II X3 450 3.2GHz Processor
Antec 300 Case
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24x DVD Burner
ASUS M4A87TD EVO AMD870 Motherboard
ASUS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card
Corsair Builder Series CX600 PSU
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive
Samsung Spinpoint F4 EcoGreen 2TB Hard Drive
Samsung SyncMaster 2333T 23" LCD Widescreen Monitor


Introduction

When I assembled this most recent computer, I went ahead and purchased a new DVD burner so that I could leave the old one in the previous computer that it was already installed in. When it comes to DVD burners, I'm not too fussy. The main thing is that it has to work good, burn dual layer discs, and not be too expensive. I've not bothered making the switch to Blu-Ray, and even if I had I rarely watch movies on my PC anyway. I was pretty happy with the LG burner I had in the last computer, but this ASUS DRW-24B1ST was a couple of dollars cheaper so I decided to give it a shot instead this time around. On top of that, both the motherboard and the video card I was installing were also ASUS products, so I figured why not go for the trifecta.

Looks

The ASUS DRW-24B1ST is an average looking drive. The front face has a black matte finish with an ASUS logo in the middle of the tray. It has a DVD Multi logo and an RW DVD+R DL logo on the left side, along with an X Multi and a CD Rewritable logo on the right side of the tray. The eject button has rounded corners and is in the regular bottom right position, and has a silent but tactile click when pressed. Above the eject button is the standard pinhole to insert a paperclip or similar to manually open the drive. Lastly, we have a green activity LED about an inch away from the eject button.

It's a fairly light-weight drive (650g) with a standard 5.25 inch form factor. That's a bit misleading, since the 5.25 inch form factor is really 5.75" wide by 1.63" tall and 8" long. The DRW-24B1ST is about 7" long, which means you shouldn't have any trouble fitting it in a Micro ATX case even with a top mounted power supply directly behind it.

It is easy to install, just slide it into an open 5.25 inch drive bay, install the 4 included mounting screws, plug in the SATA data and power cables, and you're all set. There are no extra drivers included or necessary, but you can install the included Nero Essentials if you have no other disc burning software on your computer.

Details

The ASUS DRW-24B1ST is an internal tray loading DVD burner that hooks up via an SATA cable. It has a 2MB cache and features a 150ms access time for either DVDs or CDs. It can be mounted either vertically or horizontally, and works with both 12cm and 8cm discs. It supports Audio CD, Video CD, CD-I, CD-Extra, Photo CD, CD-Text, CD-ROM/XA, Multi-session CD and DVD Video formats.

Read/Write Speeds: DVD+R 16x/24x, DVD-R 16x/24x, DVD+RW 12x/8x, DVD-RW 12x/6x, DVD-ROM 16x, DVD+R DL 12x/12x, DVD-R DL 12x/12x, DVD-ROM DL 12x/12x, CD-R 40x/48x, CD-RW 40x/24x, DVD-RAM 12x, DVD Video, Playback 6x, VCD Playback 16x, Audio CD Playback 16x. Not that it really matters to me if my drive will burn a DVD+R at 24x, because all the DVDs I buy are rated for 16x burns - on top of that, I usually burn them at 8x so that I make sure they come out correctly. The slower the better, if you've got the time to wait. It probably takes me between 4 and 5 minutes to burn a full DVD at 16x, and 8 to 10 minutes to burn one at 8x.

Despite the Auto Vibration Reducing System that was made to reduce noise and vibration, the drive is louder than my previous LG drive, especially when it's spun up to a high speed. It's not terrible, but it would certainly be an inconvenience if you installed this drive in a home theater PC or if you were putting together a silent system.

This DVD burner has an operating temperature of 5ºC to 45ºC and a storage temperature of -20ºC to 60º. It works in humidity ranging from 20% to 80% (non-condensing) and can be stored in humidity ranging from 15% to 90% (non-condensing). It comes with a 1 year limited warranty on parts and labor from the manufacturer.

The ASUS DRW-24B1ST comes bundled Nero Essentials and E-Hammer software. Nero Essentials is an OEM software suite for playing and recording CDs and DVDs. E-Hammer lets you permanently delete data on recordable CDs and DVDs. If you delete the data, it can never be restored or recovered and you will no longer be able to read the disc. It helps with data security, but be careful playing with it so you don't destroy anything important.

The drive works well and never has a problem reading discs. A couple of my game discs have a few scratches on them and it reads them quickly and without issues as well. It works just as well at recording discs, never giving me coasters if I use decent quality discs to start with. I've had coasters from cheap discs, but that is to be expected and is most likely the fault of the discs.

System Requirements

Processor: Pentium 300 MHz
RAM: 128 MB
Hard Drive: 10 GB
Operating System: Windows 7, Vista, 2000, XP

Like many products the ASUS DRW-24B1ST has no mention of Linux, but it performs flawlessly and requires no special steps to work in Linux Mint 11. I imagine it would work just as well in a Mac, but I have no way to test that claim.

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