|ASUS DRW-24B1ST DVD-RW SATA Optical Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Wednesday, 10 February 2010|
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Closer Look: ASUS DVD-Burner
A very nice feature of the ASUS DRW-24B1ST is that it is a retail drive, rather than an OEM. It's becoming increasingly more difficult now-a-days to find retail drives without going to your local retail store. If you, like me, buy a lot of your computer hardware online, many of the drives will arrive to your home in a only plastic bag, packed into a shipping box, and surrounded with packing peanuts. The accessories that accompany the drive, if any, are simply thrown in the plastic bag along with the drive. The DRW-24B1ST arrived packed in a shipping box as well. But when I opened the box, I was a little surprised to see another box for the drive itself! This really gives the DRW-24B1ST a better chance of surviving the shipping experience, and you don't have to fear for the loss of any screws, manuals, or CDs that may be hidden amongst the peanuts.
The box clearly portrays the DRW-24B1ST without being overly flashy. The contents of the box include the drive, a small bag of four screws, a disc for nero8 essentials (which also contains the E-Green and E-Hammer programs and the drivers), and the manual. The manual is just a quick installation guide with hardly any instructions at all. However, if you speak one of 32 other languages besides English, you are in luck. The installation guide is provided in all of those other languages as well, which is what transforms it from a one sheet guide to a full spread layout. The DRW-24B1ST does it all, as far as DVD burners are concerned. It will read any type of CD or DVD and will write to everything except a DVD-RAM. This is pretty normal, as it is really not that common to find a DVD-ROM writer. In fact, none of the other DVD burners that I have on hand and tested the DRW-24B1ST against were DVD-RAM writers either.
Along with all the different CD and DVD types that the DRW-24B1ST will read from and write to, it also comes with an expansive set of options for the actual writing of information to a disc. For burning CDs, the DRW-24B1ST offers the option of disc-at-once, track-at-once, session-at-once, and packet recording. The only differences between the "at-once" styles is when the laser stops writing. For disc and session-at-once, the laser doesn't stop until all the data has been written to the disc. The session is not closed using session-at-once, meaning you can use the disc again later without erasing the data. Track-at-once causes the laser to stop at the end of every track, leaving a space on the disc before the beginning of a new track. Sometimes this style can cause a click between audio CD tracks. Packet recording, or packet writing, is an extremely useful tool. This allows you to use a CD or DVD as you would a drive, making it somewhat like a floppy drive used to be. Packet writing is what allows you to drag and drop files to and from your CD/DVD drive as though it were a regular hard drive.
As for the DVD writing functions of the DRW-24B1ST, they are quite similar the CD writing functions. Besides disc-at-once, the DVD functions also include random, incremental, and sequential recording, as well as restricted overwriting. Random recording is just what it sounds like. It allows each individual 32kb block on the disc to be written to without compromising the readability of the entire disc. The data is then written in a non-linear fashion and pulled from the disc in the same way. Sequential recording use a phase-change technology that allows the data being written to the disc to be in a linear order in cases when it will have to be sequentially accessed, such as video files. It also allows this to happen over the course of multiple sessions. Incremental recording, in essence, allows you to close the disc multiple times, creating separate borders around the information written during each recording. It is very similar to sequential recording. It should be noted, however, that using incremental and sequential recording might cause problems if you are trying to view the discs on use a UDF version older than 1.5. This affects a lot of standard DVD players, which use version 1.02. If you use an incremental or sequentially recorded disc in these, you will likely only be able to view one "session" of recording.
So far, the ASUS DRW-24B1ST looks like a pretty normal DVD Burner. One plus that the drive brings to the table is the fact that it comes in its own box, wrapped nice and snugly against any unwanted damage. Of course, a downside to the DRW-24B1ST is that, even in it's own box, it doesn't include a cable. Most motherboards come with or two SATA cables, but if they are both in use, you'll have to pick up another one on the side. I discovered soon after the DRW-24B1ST arrived that Radio Shack has SATA cables for $2.99. Now that we have taken a closer look at the ASUS DRW-24B1ST, let's dive into some of the more detailed features that really make this drive stand out from the pack.