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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 32x CD-RW

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
32x CD-RW Roundup Vol3

1. Introduction

32x CD-RW Roundup Vol 3- Page 1

Which one is the faster?

- Introduction

The 32X recording family keeps growing. We have in our hands two new drives, from ASUS and TDK. ASUS CRW3212A supports 32X CD-R and 12X HS-RW while TDK Cyclone CDRW321040X writes CDs at 32X and rewrites at 10X. The results are expected to be interesting, since we will compare the performances of these drives and the previous we have already tested in the 32X CD-RW Roundup Vol 2. Enjoy :-)

- ASUS CRW-3212A

The drive supports 32x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, has an 2MB Buffer and includes "FlextraLink", "FlexSpeed" and "DDSS II" technologies.

ASUS explains : ".. FlextraLink, technology prevents users from buffer underrun problems and eliminates the creation of unusable discs, while FlextraSpeed technology enhances accuracy and reliability when reading, writing, re-writing across a broad base of certified media. Throughout the recording process, FlextraLink technology consistently monitors the data buffer status, whereas FlextraSpeed continously monitors the recording media and sets the optimal writing speeds to ensure best recording quality. Both ASUS proprietary technologies occupy minimal system resources so the PC remains full operational and available for other applications even during recording process.

The ASUS CRW-3212A drive also features advanced mechanical designs, including the patented ASUS DDSS II technology and unique dust resistance design. DDSS II is an enhanced follow-up to the first generation Double Dynamic Suspension System developed by ASUS. The DDSS technology is designed to minimize the vibration caused by the spindle motor and resonance between components as well as the drive and PC cases. The patented DDSS II stabilizes the pick-up head of the drive in both horizontal and vertical directions that makes tracking and focusing even more precise, and successfully reduces the vibration and noise caused by high revolution of the spindle motor..."

The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x,16x (CLV), 24x (16-24x), and 32x (16-32x) (Z-CLV). The re-writing speeds are 2x,4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive also supports 40x (CAV) reading speed. The drive supports all the known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW), among with packet write/overburning option but not Mt. Rainier format support. Last the drive is based upon MediaTek chipsets.

- ASUS 32x writing speed

ASUS CRW-3212A supports 32x writing speed using the Z-CLV writing technology. Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV writing technology:

The 32x writing speed range is divided into four zones: The drive starts writing at 16x from lead-in till the 6mins, then shifts up to 20x until 12mins, shifts to 24x at 18mins, and lastly shifts to 32x at 36mins and stays there until the end of the burning process. The average recording speed is 26.86X.

- The package

The package supplied contained: the drive, 1 piece of ASUS 80min 32x CD-R blank (manufactured by Acer, 97m 22s 67f), 1 piece of ASUS 80min 4-12x HS-RW blank (Acer 97m 22s 60f), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v5.5.6.4 and Ahead InCD v3.19(for packet writing use). The package also containes a manual, and an Info/product photos CD-ROM.


We don't know yet if the ASUS CRW-3212A comes with a 2-year warranty (only in Europe) or not. Lastly as the package says the drive is "XP" compatible which was confirmed from our test results, since the drive worked without any problems at UDMA-33 mode.

On the front of the drive there are the "ASUS" and the "32x12x40" logos. You will also find only two leds, the eject, audio files skip buttons and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

In the rear panel of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector, the analog/digital output connectors and 3 jumpers which are used to setup the drive's working mode, PIO-4Mode (default) or UDMA33. For setting up the UDMA33 mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:

- Installation

ASUS CRW-3212A was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as "ASUS CRW-3212A". We used WinXP for the recording, reading tests and the DMA was automatically enabled.

The drive was a January 2002 model with firmware revision v1.00 installed. We used the newer build of Nero (, InCD (3.21), and CloneCD ( for our recording tests. Note that the tested firmware revision (v1.00) doesn't support 24x writing speed, only 32x! ASUS said that with future firmware upgrade will support the 24x writing speed.

ASUS CRW-3212A reduces the writing speed when low quality or 99 min media are inserted for burning. The photo below comes from Nero when we tryied to burn a 99 min blank media.

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