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Let’s now evaluate the quality of the written discs. The 24x media come first:

Burned CD-RW disc read graphs at 24x speed (Nero Quality Check)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.05)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.09)

 
Samsung SM-352N

 
Samsung TS-H492A

Nero Quality Check report

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.05)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.09)

 
Samsung SM-352N

 
Samsung TS-H492A

What influence does the firmware version have on the results of the AOpen COM5232/AAH? The graphs are similar with any version, but the quality improves dramatically with the fresh firmware! This drive wasn’t brilliant with firmware 1.05, getting about 11,000 first encoder errors and 884 second encoder errors (with a peak of 749 errors). After the firmware update to version 1.09, the C1 error count diminished to 2,649 (with a maximum of 28), the C2 error count to 103. I will take into account the results of the updated firmware only.

The quality of the disc written by the AOpen is worse if compared to the other two test participants, both in C1 error count and in C2 error count. Curiously, the TS-H492A is better than its predecessor, the SM-352N model, as concerns the first encoder errors (1,685 against 5,227), but has more C2 errors (718 against 699). Well, considering that that was a single surge, most likely provoked by a defect of the medium, I can claim the new drive from Samsung to produce discs of a higher quality.

Now, what about the discs written at 32x speed?

Burned CD-RW disc read graphs at 32x speed (Nero Quality Check)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.05)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.09)

 
Samsung SM-352N

 
Samsung TS-H492A

Nero Quality Check report

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.05)

 
AOpen COM5232/AAH (firmware 1.09)

 
Samsung SM-352N

 
Samsung TS-H492A

Let’s again examine the performance of the AOpen drive with its different firmware versions. Like in the previous case, the firmware update had a most salutary effect on the device – we see a dramatic reduction of the first encoder errors (from 549,707 to 17,284 – by a factor of thirty!), and of the second (from 21,321 to 761 – a similar ratio!). Once again, the firmware update proves to be a mandatory condition to making this drive work normally.

The AOpen becomes the leader of the test after the firmware update. It has more C1 errors than the Samsung TS-H492A (17,284 against 1,274), but fewer C2 errors (1,026 against 761). As for the Samsung SM-352N, even its 16x speed couldn’t help it to leave the last place. Burning a 32x CD-RW disc, it made over a million errors of the first encoder and about 5,000 of the second – an awful result.

So, the AOpen COM5232/AAH, an average drive with firmware 1.05, becomes an absolute leader among the tested devices in CD-RW burn quality both at 32x and 24x speeds, as soon as you update its firmware to version 1.09. However, the new Samsung is very close to the leader, and even surpasses it in the C1 error count.

 
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