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

Thursday, May 19, 2005
Asus DRW-1608P

1. Introduction

Several months ago, ASUS, one of the biggest hardware manufacturers, released an internal 16X Dual Layer Recorder, the 1604P, breaking new ground with 4X DL writing and becoming one of the fastest DL recorders on the market. Not much has changed since then in the DL writing speed limit until today, when ASUS introduces us to its latest release, the 1608P drive, a 16X±R and 6X DL recorder, breaking once again the DL writing speed limit.

- Features

The ASUS 1608P DL recorder, uses the same innovative technologies present in the previous release:

  • 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 resuming the 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 operating speed effectively lowers operation noise, prolongs motor life and saves CPU resources.
  • 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 tracking 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.

- Specifications

Model ASUS DRW-1608P
Write Speed DVD+R (DL) 6X (CLV), 4X, 2.4X
DVD-R (DL) 6X (CLV), 4X, 2X
DVD+R 16X (CAV), 12X (PCAV), 8X, 6X (CLV), 4X, 2.4X
DVD+RW
8X (ZCLV), 6X (CLV), 4X, 2.4X
DVD-R 16X (CAV), 12X (PCAV), 8X, 6X (CLV), 4X, 2X, 1X
DVD-RW 6X (CLV), 4X, 2X, 1X
CD-R 40X (CAV), 32X (PCAV), 16 (CLV), 10X, 4X
CD-RW 24X (ZCVL), 20X, 16X (CLV), 10X, 4X
Read Speed DVD-ROM 16X (CAV)
CD-ROM 40X (CAV)
Random Access Time DVD-ROM 130 ms
CD-ROM 120 ms
Interface Enhanced IDE/ATAPI
Data Buffer Size 2MB
Application Discs

DVD Single/Dual layer discs, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM/XA Mode 2, (form 1, form 2), Photo CD (single and multiple session), CD-DA, CD-Extra, Video CD, CD-Text, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM

Write Format

DVD-R & DVD-R (DL)

DAO, Incremental Recording (Multi-Border Recording)

DVD-RW

Restricted Overwriting, DAO, Incemental Recording (Multi-Border Recording)
DVD+R & DVD+R (DL) Sequential Recording (Multi-Session Recording)
DVD+RW Random Recording
CD-R & CD-RW DAO, TAO, SAO, Packet Recording (Multi-Session Recording)
OS Compatibility Windows 98SE/ME/2000/NT/XP
Mounting Orientation Vertical/Horizontal
Temperature Operating : + 5°C to 45°C
Storage : - 20°C to 60°C
Humidity Operating : 5% to 85% (non condensing)
Storage : 5% to 90% (non condensing)
Power Requirement DC +5V +/-5% DC +12V +/-10%
WxHxD 148 x 42.3 x 180 mm
Mass 1000g

The drive uses the famous RPCII region control which, for the purposes of this review, was set to region code 2. There is no known way at the moment to set the drive to region free.

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

- Retail Package

The retail package consists of : the ASUS 1608P internal IDE drive, an IDE cable, mounting screws and audio cable, as well as bundled software (Nero and Ulead DVD movie factory). The package also includes a multilanguage quick installation guide, an emergency eject pin and instruction manual.

-The Drive

On the front of the ASUS drive, we can see the different supported format logos while on the rear we have the analogue audio output, the IDE Master/Slave/CS selection pins, the IDE interface and the power input.

Below we can see a picture of the drive's identification label, located on the top of the drive which consists of information about the drive's serial number, manufacture date, model number, power supply rating, compliance logos, as well as the rear interface schematic and jumper settings.

Once again we provide you with images of the drive's circuitry, removing the screws and cover plate. We don't recommend you do this since it will void the warranty. Clicking on the image will result in a higher resolution image of the drive's internal mechanism.

Click To Enlarge!

The main chipset are from NEC, the NEC D63641GM. Same chipset can be found in the Pioneer DVR-109 burner. You can follow this link if you need more information about this chipset.

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

click to enlarge!

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "ASUS DRW-1608P" under Windows XP.

-Firmware

The drive came with firmware revision 1.17 installed and was upgraded to the latest 1.50 revision. As is stated by ASUS, "The drive will offer DVD-R Dual Layer compatibility through a firmware upgrade once the DVD-R Dual Layer specification has been officially approved by the DVD Forum. The write speed for selected DVD-R Dual Layer and +R Double Layer media types can also be increased to 6X through this firmware upgrade".

Also, "The +RW Alliance is now finalizing the +RW 8X format and the product can be enhanced to support this media through a firmware upgrade once the +RW 8X specification has been officially approved by the +RW Alliance".

In this review, we will be comparing the drive with the Pioneer DVR-109, Plextor PX-716A and LG GSA-4163B since all four drives share the same specs regarding speed.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.75
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v3.00
  5. PlexTools v2.20 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.03, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  6. DVDInfoPro v3.51
  7. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.12
  8. DVD Decrypter 3.5.4.0
  9. CopyToDVD 3.0.51.94




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