CD-RW Roundup Vol 1 - Page
Which one is
The 40X recording family keeps growing with new recorders from ASUS, LiteOn
and Cendyne manufacturers. After Plextor PX-W4012A, slowly other manufacturers
release their 40x (Z-CLV) recording proposals and the writing speed becomes
very interesting for the end users, and of course for us too. Let's see which
one is the faster 40x recorder/reader and how good the writing quality is in
that high recording speed. Enjoy :-)
- ASUS CRW-4012A
drive supports 40x writing (Z-CLV), 12x re-writing, has an 2MB Buffer and includes
"FlextraLink", "FlexSpeed" and "DDSS II" technologies.
ASUS explains: "...FlextraLink, technology prevents users from buffer
underrun problems and eliminates the creation of unusable discs, while FlextraSpeed
technology enhances accuracy and reliability when reading, writing, re-writing
across a broad base of certified media. Throughout the recording process, FlextraLink
technology consistently monitors the data buffer status, whereas FlextraSpeed
continuously monitors the recording media and sets the optimal writing speeds
to ensure best recording quality. Both ASUS proprietary technologies occupy
minimal system resources so the PC remains full operational and available for
other applications even during recording process.
The ASUS CRW-4012A drive also features advanced mechanical designs, including
the patented ASUS DDSS II technology and unique dust resistance design. DDSS
II is an enhanced follow-up to the first generation Double Dynamic Suspension
System developed by ASUS. The DDSS technology is designed to minimize the vibration
caused by the spindle motor and resonance between components as well as the
drive and PC cases. The patented DDSS II stabilizes the pick-up head of the
drive in both horizontal and vertical directions that makes tracking and focusing
even more precise, and successfully reduces the vibration and noise caused by
high revolution of the spindle motor..."
The exact writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 24x (16-24x), 32x (16-32x)
and 40x (20-40x) based upon the Zone-CLV recording technology. The writing speeds
are 2x, 4x, 8x, 10x and 12x (CLV). The drive also supports 48x (CAV) reading
speed. The drive supports all the known writing modes (DAO, SAO, TAO and RAW);
among with the packet write/overburning option but there is no Mt. Rainier format
support. As it happened with the last ASUS model, the drive is based upon the
MediaTek chipset. Lastly it supports AudioCD authoring up to 40x (Zone-CLV)
- ASUS 4012A 40x writing speed
ASUS CRW-4012A supports the 40x writing speed using the Z-CLV writing technology.
Below is the Nero CD Speed writing graph, which illustrates the use of Zone-CLV
The 40x writing speed range is divided into four zones: The drive starts writing
at 20x from the lead-in till the 8mins, then shifts up to 24x until 26mins,
shifts to 32x at 30mins, and lastly shifts to the 40x at 52mins and stays there
until the end of the burning process. The average recording speed is 30.39X.
The drive is supposed to be faster than PleXWriter PX-W4012A but the actual
recording tests showed the opposite.
- The package
The package supplied contained: the drive, 1 piece of ASUS 80min 32x CD-R
blank (manufactured by Acer, 97m 22s 67f), 1 piece of ASUS 80min 4-12x HS-RW
blank (Acer 97m 22s 60f), audio cable and mounting screws. The software supplied
with the drive was Nero Burning ROM v126.96.36.199 and Ahead InCD v3.23 (for packet
writing use). The drive is still under development, since the firmware revision
is only 0.60. In the future, firmware updates will possibly fix all the problems
we noticed during our tests.
We don't know yet whether ASUS CRW-3212A comes with a 2-year warranty (only
in Europe) or not. Lastly as the package says the drive is "XP" compatible
which was confirmed from our test results, since the drive worked without any
problems in UDMA-33 mode.
On the front of the drive there are the "ASUS" and the "40x12x48"
logos. You will also find only two leds, the eject/play buttons and the headphone
input jack/volume selector:
In the rear panel of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface,
power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector,
the analog/digital output connectors and 3 jumpers which are used to setup the
drive's working mode, PIO-4Mode (default) or UDMA33. For setting up the UDMA33
mode you just have to remove the middle jumper:
CRW-4012A was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked
in UDMA33 mode and after booting, identified itself as "ASUS CRW-4012A".
We used WinXP for the recording, reading tests and the DMA was automatically
The drive was a January 2002 model with firmware revision v0.60 installed.
We used the newer build of Nero (188.8.131.52), InCD (3.24), and CloneCD (184.108.40.206)
for our recording tests. Note that the tested firmware revision (v0.60) is not
final and the drive will be shipped with the v1.00 installed.
ASUS felt the drive was ready enough to be evaluated from our labs and in
general the performance was good, with some weak points in the supported media
list for the 40x recording speed and several recording problems (with coasters)
with the use of specific media in the same speed.
ASUS CRW-4012A automatically reduces the maximum writing speed (4x0) when
it detects lower quality media for burning. The below pictures come from Nero
when various blank media were inserted: