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Testing & Results Continued
The spin up and spin down tests measure the time it takes for the drive to stop, then start again. The spin down time measures from the time the stop command is given until the drive has completely stopped. Then the spin up time measures the amount of time from that stop until the drive can effectively read information again. Obviously, shorter spin up and down times are better for a drive, but they can also effect the noise level. The spin up time for the ASUS DRW-24B1ST was pretty impressive, only 1.25 seconds, but it did take a backseat to the Panasonic drive, which spun up in just over half a second. The Panasonic drive also outperformed the DRW-24B1ST in the spin down test by about three quarters of a second. In defense of the ASUS drive, however, the noise level was noticeably quieter during spin up and down that it was with the Panasonic drive, or even the MAD DOG drive for that matter, which was quite a bit slower than the ASUS DRW-24B1ST.
The transfer rate test measures the transfer rate of the data from the disc, in other words, the read speed. The test runs throughout the entire disc to give a good idea of read speeds over different densities of information. Since the DVD that we used to test was writing using CAV (constant angular velocity), the information closest to the center of the disc is more dense than the information closer to the outside edge. The test was run reading at CAV also, and that is why the yellow line (RPMs) stays constant throughout the test. As you can see below, the read speed averages are pretty constant for the different speeds of the drives themselves. It's really no surprise that the average read speed for the ASUS DRW-24B1ST outpaces the pack, since it is the fastest drive.
The burst rate test measures the maximum possible transmission rate from the optical drive to the hard drive. Though this test is somewhat dependent on the read speed of the drive, it is really testing the transfer speed of the channel being used. In this case, it is clear to see that the ASUS DRW-24B1ST takes excellent advantage of the SATA channel and has a burst rate of 64 MB/s. The slower Panasonic SATA drive is nearly on par with the IDE MAD DOG drive. Again, I am not surprised by the slower speed of the USB drive, especially since this test is dependent on the channel. It is important to note at this point that when using the burst rate test on Nero Disc Speed 4, you will get better results if the disc is cached. Nero recommends this before running the test. If you use an audio CD for your testing, it is unlikely that your computer will cache it, and you will get much slower burst rate speeds.
Nero Disc Speed 4 has given us the tools necessary to compare the actual raw speeds of the ASUS DRW-24B1ST against some of the competition. As we have seen, the DRW-24B1ST holds its ground against every other drive we have tested it against, and even pulls ahead in most of the areas we have tested. With an optical drive these days, pure read and write speed is not going to be the deciding factor. Nearly all drives perform at rates so close to each other that it hard to tell a difference without benchmark programs to tell us that it's there. Still, it is nice to see results that show the drive coming out ahead.