The situation in the market of optical drives has been steadily approaching its resolution. The average price of writable DVD-ROMs has been declining, making them more attractive to the common user.
The struggle between the two emerging optical technologies – Blu-Ray and HD-DVD – and the impendent onslaught of such devices also has an impact on the market of DVD drives. As usual, the current models become cheaper seeing next-generation products getting ready to take the market.
The price gap between DVD-RWs and DVD/CD-RW combos diminishing, I think a majority of users will vote for DVD-burners which are also becoming a bargain because of the constantly cheapening DVD media. For example, today the cost of 1MB of storage on a CD-R blank is higher in average than on a DVD+R disc.
The calculation is easy. One CD-R blank costs about 27 cents, while a DVD+R blank costs about $1.2 (I mean discs that come without an envelope, on a spindle). As you know, one DVD disc contains as much data as fits into six 700MB CDs and more, so buying a DVD-burner allows saving money on storage media in the future.
This drive comes into the marker under the ASUS brand, but it is in fact an OEM Pioneer DVR-106 model and resembles much other products of the well-known Japanese manufacturer. Anyway, there are letters “ASUS” on the front panel, next to the symbols denoting the device’s class. Then, the front panel carries an eject button, a LED and two horizontal slits, one for ventilation and another for show. At the back side of the drive we find power and interface connectors, an analog audio output, and two jumper sets, one of which selects the device’s status on the IDE channel (Master, Slave, Cable Select) and another serves for factory diagnostics. There’s no digital audio output – mark this if you use this output often. There are circle-shaped vent holes at the butt-end of the case.
Among the drive’s technical characteristics the support of the two competing formats (DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW) may be noted. The drive reads DVDs at 12x and CDs at 32x (I always tell the maximum speeds in this article; you may want to make the drive work at a smaller speed to reduce its noise). It burns DVD-RW media at 2x and DVD+RW discs at 2.4x. CD-Rs are written at 16x and CD-RWs at 10x. The amount of cache memory onboard is 2MB. The access time is 140msec for DVD media and 130msec for CDs. The drive supports UDMA Mode 2.
The ASUS DRW-0402P/D comes without accessories in the OEM version. The average retail price is $110.