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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Wednesday, August 04, 2004
ASUS DRW-1604P

1. Introduction - Specs

ASUS DRW-1604P DL Recorder - Page 1

is one of the biggest manufacturers for PC hardware. As a leading manufacturer, ASUS has taken the first step and introduced the fastest Double Layer recorder by offering 4X CLV recording speed, reducing the total burning time to burn a DL disc by half.

In addition, it supports the fastest writing speeds for ±R format along with many other interesting features. We will put the ASUS drive through its paces to see how it performs as well as to inform users as to what they can expect from the 4X DL recording speed.

- Official press release

According to the posted press released on 19/7/2004: "...ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS) today debuted it's latest internal DVD rewriter, the DRW-1604P, that supports both 16X DVD+/-Write and 4X DVD+R double layer technology.

With the popularity of digital multimedia entertainment, the demand for larger storage capacity to accommodate video and audio content is on the rise. The ASUS DRW-1604P supports the latest double layer technology, which, as the name suggests, doubles DVD+R media from 4.7GB to 8.5GB or four hours of DVD quality video.

Flexibility for the wide array of media formats is also very important. The ASUS DRW-1604P offers both 16X DVD-Write and 16X DVD+Write, making it capable of reading from and writing on DVD-Writeable/Rewriteable and DVD+Writeable/Rewriteable formats.

With the dual-compatibility feature, the DRW-1604P creates DVDs that can be played or read by most DVD-ROM drives and DVD players. It enables 4X DVD-Rewrite, 4X DVD+Rewrite, 16X DVD-ROM, 32X CD-Write, 24X CD-Rewrite and 40X CD-ROM as well to provide flexibility and high-speed operation.

The ASUS DRW-1604P adopted several innovative technologies found only in ASUS optical drives.

  • FlextraLink - No More Disc Coasters
    Unusable discs are often caused by buffer under-run, which occurs when the system cannot keep up a steady data stream to the writer, causing "blank spots" on the disc. FlextraLink prevents this problem by marking the disc where writing stopped and resume operation at the same place when information flow begins again.
  • FlextraSpeed - The Best Recording Speed
    FlextraSpeed intelligently adjusts writing speeds depending on the media. The best operation speed effectively lowers operation noise, prolongs motor life and saves CPU resource.
  • DDSSII - Precision for Reading and Writing
    DDSS II (Double Dynamic Suspension System II) is a patented anti-vibration technology. It stabilizes the pick-up head vertically and horizontally, achieving more precise tacking while reducing vibration and noise.
  • Liquid Crystal Tilt - Precision on uneven discs
    LCT (Liquid Crystal Tilt) technology provides enhanced pick up head accuracy during recording and playback on disks with uneven curvature and thickness.

All ASUS proprietary technologies occupy minimal system resources, allowing the PC to remain fully operational and available for other applications even during the recording process.

- Features

The ASUS DRW-1604P supports 16X DVD±R, 4X DVD±RW and 4X DVD+R DL writing according to the official specifications. As a CD recorder, it supports 32X CD-R and 24X US-RW writing along with 40X CD-ROM reading. Below are the full specs for the drive:

Drive
ASUS DRW-1604P
Media
DVD
CD
Transfer Rate Read
16X CAV SL DVD-ROM
12X CAV DL DVD-ROM
40X CD-ROM CAV
12X CAV DVD±R
8X CAV DVD±RW
32X CD-RW CAV
2X CLV DVD-RAM
8X CAV DVD+R9
Transfer Rate Write
16X DVD±R Z-CLV
32X CD-R Z-CLV
4X DVD±RW CLV
24X CD-RW Z-CLV
4 DVD+R9 CLV
Access Time
145ms
125ms
Mechanism
motorized Tray load mechanism for horizonal and vertical use
Interface
IDE / ATAPI
Burst Transfer Rate
PIO mode 4 / Ultra DMA 33
Cashe Memory
2MB
Supported Media formats
DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Audio, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-IReady, CD-Bridge, Photo-CD, VideoCD, Hybrid CD
Audio
headphone jack and volume control at front plus digital-out and line-out at the back (MPC compatible)
Writing methods
DAO(disc at once), SAO(session at once), TAO(track at once) with zero gap, variable or fixed packet, multisession
Weight
1.1kgr
Dimensions
148(W) × 42.3(H) × 198(D) mm

The drive does not support Mount Rainier, as is the case with almost all new DVD recorders for both the CD and DVD formats. It uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. Until now, there is no known way to make the drive region-free.

Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool. and DVDInfoPro:

- The drive

We received the bulk version of the ASUS DRW-1604P as the drive's retail package was not yet available. We would like to thank ASUS HQ for providing this engineering sample for our review. Below is a picture of the final retail package along with the package contents:

The bulk package included burning software from Ahead (Nero Express and InCD), an IDE Cable, audio screws along with the eject pin and instructions sheet. Lastly, newbie users will find the users manual and the quick installation guides useful.

The front of the drive includes all the usual logos to help identify the supported reading/writing formats, "DVD+R DL", "DVD+RW", "US-RW" and of course the "ASUS" logo. On the rear panel there are the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE Master/Slave/CS selection pins, the IDE interface block and the power input. There are also vent holes for a fan, but there isn't one installed.

The top of the drive includes the manufacture identification sticker, which indicates compliances and standards the device meets, place of manufacture - "Made in China" - along with the drive's SN and Model No (written by hand due to the fact that this is an engineering sample).

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. Click on the photos for an enlarged view.

Click To Enlarge!

The main chipset comes from NEC, the NEC D63635GM combined with the NEC C333500:

Model name
C3335
Process
Bi-CMOS 0.35
Voltage
5V
Package
120-pin TQFP (14x14mm)
Power consumption
0.66W (8x DVD playback)
0.74W 8x DVD recording)
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

Model name
D63635
Process
CMOS 0.15
Voltage
1.5V core, 3.3V I/O
Package
216-pin LQFP (24x24mm)
Power consumption
0.35W (8x DVD playback)
0.95W (8x DVD recording, LVDS)
Interface
Host
ATA/ATAPI5
Buffer
16Mbit SDRAM
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

Below is a close up picture of the drive's pickup/lens system:

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "ASUS DRW-1604P" under WinXP.

The drive arrived with v0.53 firmware revision,

which was updated to v1.04 and used to perform all the reading/writing tests.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the BenQ DW1600A, Plextor PX-712A and LG GSA-4120B since all these drives have, currently, the fastest CD/DVD recording speeds.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.12
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.24
  5. KProbe v2.2.2 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S14 Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.15 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.03, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.54
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.17
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.2.2.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.22




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