The ASUS drive is a fairly straightforward design. There’s no fancy slot-loading design, no chassis overengineering, or novelty features. It’s a standard 12X DVD-reader/burner with 6X DVD+/-RW writing, a 32x CD reader/burner with 24x CD-RW writing, and a 5X Blu-Ray reader. The usual flavor of buffer underrun technology is also added.
Nero DriveSpeed Testing
Burning CDs and DVDs were uneventful, although we use Taiyo Yuden media exclusively.
When I bought my first CD-ROM, I spent somewhere in the four digit range. With my second CD-ROM (a SCSI-2 Toshiba 2X drive), it was a “cheap” $800. I would ultimately end up moving to Plextor range for several generations of CD burners and DVD burners. Nowadays, you can find a very reliable DVD burner for a measly $50. Optical drives have become a commodity and with today’s CD-R and DVD-R media quality, the difference between a basic DVD burner and a high-end one is much smaller. For at least the last 5 years, I’ve been using Taiyo Yuden media exclusively. Why buy media in bulk when you can just wait for a promo or coupon and stock up at your local Best Buy?
As I was doing my benchmarks with the ASUS Blu-ray drive, I came to the realization that a lot of this was moot. Would I actually be grading the ASUS more harshly if it only read at “32x” instead of “48x”? In a world where I’d rather FTP or use an 8GB flash card to transfer files to a friend, would the savings of an extra 2 minutes on a DVD burn time make a difference? Not really. The reason you’d buy this drive is Blu-ray capability. Since the ASUS drive is purely a reader, the likelihood of you needing the drive for Blu-ray data discs is slim to none, and really it’s a question of whether or not the $250 is worth it for the ability to watch high-definition content on your PC.