Introduction and Construction

A little over a month ago, Pioneer quickly reclaimed their undisputed title as DVD recordable king with the introduction of the 107D. For several months prior, users were beginning to champion DVD+R over DVD-R since DVD+R 8X drives were a dime a dozen. However, Pioneer and NEC quickly extinguished any doubts of DVD-R with their newest drives, the Pioneer 107D and NEC 2500A.

Since the 107D had received so much attention in recent weeks, we decided to review a very similar drive, the ASUS DRW-0804P. Our ASUS 8x8 drive is based on the same chipset and pickup as the Pioneer 107D, and also carries an equivalent price tag.

The media bundle with the ASUS 8x8 was extremely weak. In the package, we received a copy of Ahead Nero Burning ROM 6.3, a user's manual, and installation manual. There were no bundled DVD+/-R discs. The saving grace for the drive bundle came in the form of the documentation. ASUS' documentation was short, sweet and easy to follow. Sometimes a little documentation goes a long way.

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ASUS' 8x8 looks similar to the DRW-0402P/D in both form and function. The front bezel looks identical to the older drive, although the drive shield has changed slightly. The loading tray, eject button and LED remained the same from our last review.

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Also, like the DRW-0402P/D (Pioneer A06), the drive has a small cutout for exhaust in the rear.

The ASUS 8x8 is based on the same NEC D63630GM chipset, the same chipset found in the NEC-2500A (and obviously the Pioneer 107D). We will see many similarities between these two drives throughout the review. This chipset is also used in some other 8X DVD+/-R drives (like the Aopen DRW8800). The ASUS 8x8 also uses the NEC C3330 analog controller, which comes with the D63630GM chipset.

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Unusually, internal documentation suggests the NEC D63630GM is capable of reading DVD-RAM media, although many drives that use the chip do not support this claim. ASUS does with this drive.

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  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Let's not forget #5 that Blu Ray discs won't be readable in standard DVD players either, right? Might as well go buy one of those new Sony drives that cost $2500 to $3000 and store an amazing 37 GB or some such of data. And they "only" cost $45 per cartridge. Gee... $80 GB hard drives only cost about $70 and are much faster. Get some hot-swap setup, and these cartridge optical discs are destined for the scrap heap of history.

    And WTF is up with my login password not sticking!? Stupid LAN admins....
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    Yeah, it should be published in the next couple days.

  • LeftSide - Friday, April 23, 2004 - link

    I think anandtech needs to redo the review on the nu tech 81. They have released the new firmware that alows the buner to burn on dvd-r's.
  • Ian@CDRlabs - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link

    Blu-Ray? You're either very rich or you're willing to wait a few years until the technology becomes affordable.
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    I'm looking to buy a DVD burner very soon as software is increasingly being released on DVD instead of (or as well as) CD. Splitting multi-gig image-files across several CDs isn't the most elegant solution.

    From what I've read on (which despite how their url might sound is really a very fine site specialising in optical storage), the NEC ND-2500A and Pioneer DVR-107D are the best drives currently available that lots of people have tested with a wide variety of media, and they both have strengths and weaknesses. I'm seriously tempted to go with the NEC ND-2500A given its low price and generally excellent reports on burn quality which is the whole reason for having a DVD burner (the less than stellar read performance with damaged media isn't so important to me).

    Is the new 8x DVD burner round-up almost finished?

    Eeek, I've just checked prices and seen that CD readers are less than £13, and CD burners around £21. Theres even a 4x DVD burner coming in at as little as £50. Those prices are crazy! Has the bottom totally dropped out of the optical storage market?
  • SUOrangeman - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    I think any "waste" of money on current DVD burner must be weighted against the actual cost(s). For instance, if someone was running a special on this Asus drive for, say, $60, is that really as much of a "waste" as buying it for $120? Is it even a waste at all for $60?

  • araczynski - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    i think anyone with half a brain would have not waste any money on any DVD burner since the bluerays are just around the corner.

    besides, the name of the game is consumables, not the drive, they all use the same components from the same sources. just like printers.
  • spyhalfer - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    not much info imho, who cares about the 0.01 difference in speed?
    error checking tests, with different media, would had been nice

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