by October 1, 2001 0 comments

This is an internal, CD-R/CD-RW IDE drive that can be used for multiple functions. You can use it to read normal CD-ROMs or create your own CD-ROMs and audio CDs with it. You can even use it as a regular storage media like your floppy disk or hard disk, and save and copy files on to it. It has 12x CD-R writing speeds, 10x rewrite speeds, and 32x read speeds. The front panel of the drive has a headphone jack, a volume control, a writing, and a disk in/active/error-indicator.

The drive comes with software for creating CDs and writing to RW disks

ASUS CRW-1210R Drive
Price: Rs 14,000
Features: Internal IDE CD-R/CD-RW drive, 12x/10x/32x speeds, 2 MB cache buffer, Nero software for CD-R, InCD for CD-RW, JustLink technology to prevent buffer overrun 
Pros: Good performance
Cons: None
Contact: Aditya Infotech. Tel: 011-6816986-90 Fax: 6372438, B-254. Okhla Phase I, New Delhi.

The drive supports JustLink technology–a writing error-prevention technology that prevents error caused by buffer under-run. Buffer under-run error occurs when the computer is not able to feed data to the buffer in time, while data is being written to the CD. Buffer under-run causes the CD-drive to stop burning, thereby rendering the CD-R media useless. This problem could occur due to a slow hard disk or multiple applications running simultaneously. JustLink technology monitors the amount of data accumulated in the buffer memory, and the moment data falls below a certain level, and the possibility of a buffer under-run is predicted, writing is temporarily suspended. Writing is resumed from the point it was suspended, when enough data has been accumulated or transferred to the buffer memory. We tested the JustLink feature by opening multiple applications when CD burning was in progress. This did not affect the CD-R media and we got a message in the end saying ‘Buffer under-run error was avoided 1 time’. Another interesting feature of the drive is that you can’t open the drive while CD burning is in progress. Also, when the data has been burnt on the CD-R/CR-RW disk, the drive automatically pops out.

The drive comes bundled with the Nero software for creating CDs, the InCD software for writing to RW disks, and a pack of 10 CDs, out of which 9 are 16x CD-R disks and 1, 10x CD-RW disk. Other package contents include an IDE cable, audio cable, and user’s manual. We did a variety of tests on the drive, for both burning data and audio. We tested it on an ASUS CUSL2 motherboard with 64 MB RAM, Celeron/600 processor, ASUS V3800 display card with 16 MB VRAM, Maxtor’s 100 GB hard drive, and an Acer 52x CD-drive.

We first tested the drive on the time it takes to burn a simple CD-R at 12x, using our standard 652.6 MB of test files. Here, the drive took only 6 min 51 sec, which was better than the Acer 12x/8x/32x CD-ReWriter (reviewed in July 2001), which had taken 7 min 23 sec. Next, we created an ISO image file on the hard disk and then burnt that image on to the CD-R disk and measured the total time taken. It took 1 min 29 sec to create the image file, and 6 min 54 sec to burn the image file on to the CD-R disk. The score here was much better than the Acer drive, which took a little less than 11 min to do so. We then tested the drive for the time it takes to burn 15 tracks of 59.5 minutes of a single audio CD. Here it took 11 min 23 sec to burn 59.5 min of audio, which is again pretty good timing.

Next we tested the rewriting capabilities of the drive. Here we first tested the time it takes to do a full format of a RW disk. For this, we used the InCD software that comes bundled with the drive. The software performs a two-fold formatting process, where it first performs a physical format of the drive and then a logical format where it scans the CD-RW disk and registers all defective sectors. The drive took 8 min 51 sec for a physical formatting and 10 min 6 sec for logical formatting. Overall it took 18 min 57 sec to format the CD-RW disk at 10x speed. This when compared to the ACER CD-Rewriter was high, which took less than 15 min to format a CD-RW disk at 8x speed.

Once a CD-RW is formatted it becomes available for use, just like floppy and hard drives. We checked this by timing how long it took to copy a single 102 MB compressed file on to the CD-RW disk. The drive took 1 min 24 sec, which was again a good score and slightly better than the Acer drive. We then tested the maximum available formatted capacity against the actual usable formatted-capacity, and found no difference. Both remained at 534 MB.

Overall, the drive is good in performance, reasonably priced, and comes with a warranty of one year.

Neelima Vaid at PCQ Labs

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