The Asus CRW5224A - 52X CDRW Drive
The fastest rated burn speed on the planet.. for now.

By Dave Altavilla
December 13, 2002

In our next test, we also used Nero CD Speed, but this time, we tested the drives using a 1 hour and 14 minute audio CD with a total of 18 tracks  These test results show not only the speed of the drives, but also the Digital Audio Extraction quality.

Benchmarks and Comparisons Continued
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Nero CD Speed - Audio:

 

Asus CRW5224A

Plextor 48X24X48

                                       
Here both drives fare better with the recorded audio disc but regardless, the Asus CRW5224A blows right past the Plextor unit.  Averaging 39X across the disc with a perfect 10 for DAE quality, the performance from the Asus drive was commendable.  In addition, although seek times were still slower here versus the Plextor, the Asus drive also exhibited slightly lower CPU utilization.

 

MP3 Encoding With Nero Express:

We then took that same Audio Disc and proceeded to rip all 18 tracks from it to the hard drive of our test system.  We used Nero Express to perform this operation and stop watch timed both drives from the second we hit the "go" button until completion.

 

Time To Encode Listed in Minutes:Seconds

Asus CRW5224A

Plextor 48x24x48

3:15

4:37

This needs no explanation. The Asus drive completely smoked the Plextor unit, beating it by over a full minute.  If you are into ripping CDs for your MP3 player, the Asus CRW5224A won't let you down.

Disc Copy with Nero 5.5.9.17
 

Time To Burn CD Listed in Minutes:Seconds

Asus CRW5224A

Plextor 48x24x48

TDK Media
2:45
TDK Media
4:56
Verbatim Media
2:34
Verbatim Media
2:46
Asus 52X Media
Memorex 48X Media
2:32

For our last test, we burned a single 600MB compressed ZIP file to a CD using Nero Burning ROM v 5.5.9.17, and the results were interesting to say the least.  Like the Encoding tests, the times posted above reflect the total amount of time it took to burn the CD, from the moment we clicked "Write" until the session was finalized and the CD ejected from the drive.  This is perhaps the most interesting test, in our opinion, that we performed on the both drives in this competition. Too often, fast burn times are hampered by lesser quality CDR media and your shiny new bleeding edge CDRW drive can look like an old has-been. 

As you'll note in the testing above, the Plextor unit was caught fairly hard by the TDK media and dropped more than a full minute of burn time.  On the other hand, the Asus CRW5224A unit held very consistent burn times across various types of media and only varied a few seconds between the TDK and the other types of media we used.  The fastest burn times for the Asus 52X unit were only a few seconds better than the Plextor 48X unit but we were extremely impressed with the performance of this drive with all the various types of media we threw at it.  As a side note, the first eval unit of the Asus 52X drive we received came shipped with a revision .9 of its firmware.  This version of the firmware didn't perform nearly as well in this test and in fact did burn a coaster or two.  However, after we got a unit with Asus' latest 1.01 firmware release, these problems were solved and the performance you see here is indicative of this revision.  Just make sure, if you end up purchasing this drive, that you flash upgrade it to the latest version of the Asus firmware.

The CRW5224A CDRW drive from Asus is currently listed on various price search engines, for around $75 - $80.  For the kind of performance we've seen with this drive, it's hard to beat.  Plextor's 48X drive is still close to $100 with various on line merchants, considerably more for the just the Plextor name.  The Asus drive consistently out performed the Plextor 48X unit we tested along side it, whether it was reading or writing discs.  Furthermore, with its most recent firmware release, the Asus CRW5224A is significantly less finicky with respect to media types, versus the Plextor unit. 

It's not hard to see why we're going to give the Asus CRW5224A 52X CDRW Drive a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of 9.5 and the Editor's Choice Award!

 

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