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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > Combo

Friday, June 18, 2004
AOpen COM5232 / AAH

1. Retail Package - Installation

AOpen COM5232 / AAH - Page 1

Taiwanese manufacturer, AOpen, has expanded its product line to include motherboards, graphics cards, sound cards and other PC peripherals. For optical storage devices, AOpen has released a new IDE combo drive labeled as AOpen COM5232/AHH..

- Features

The drive reads the following formats: DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, CD-RW, DVD, CD. AOpen features the Just Link technology developed by Ricoh to prevent buffer under-run errors. During the writing process, the drive calculates the optimum laser power, adjusting it in real-time to compensate for a dirty disc.

The amount of data accumulated in the buffer memory is continually monitored during the writing process. If for some reason, the data transfer speed from the computer falls below that of the drive's writing speed, the amount of data accumulated in the buffer memory will also fall. When the amount of data in the buffer memory falls below a certain level, and a buffer underrun error will occur should writing continue, writing is intentionally suspended. During this time, when writing is suspended, data transferred from the computer has a chance to fill the now depleted buffer memory. When enough data has accumulated, writing is once again resumed from the point directly after which it was suspended, and monitoring of the amount of data in the buffer memory is recommenced.

- Specifications
Read Speed DVD Family
DVD-ROM 16X CAV (21,600 KB/sec)

CD Family
CD-ROM 52X,P-CAV (7,800 KB/sec)
CD-RW 40X,P-CAV (6,000 KB/sec)

Write Speed
CD Family
CD-R (52X,P-CLV)
Read Formats
DVD Family

CD Family
Photo CD, CD-Text, CD-I, Video-CD, CD-R,

Writing mode
CD Family
Track at Once (TAO)
Track Reservation
Disk at Once (DAO)
Session at Once (SAO)
Packet Write
149x42x188.4 mm (cm)


- Retail package

The drive is well packaged. Apart from the AOpen combo drive itself, the user will also find two extra faceplates (one black and one gray), along with a printed guide for assembly and installation and mounting screws. There are also, NeroExpress for writing and PowerDVD for DVD-Video playback. Unfortunately the package does not come with blank media.


Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures.

Click for Higher Resolution!

The controller chipset is from Taiwanese Manufacturer ALi, the M5731 DVD-ROM + CD-RW Combo Controller, as the above screenshot shows. The previous AOpen 5232 writer had used the Ricoh chipset.

- Installation

Our test PC was a 1.8 GHz P4 configured with 512Mb RAM, an 80GB 7200rpm hard drive and Windows XP Professional SP1. The drive was connected to our test PC and was identified as "AOPEN COM5232/AAH". All reading tests were done with firmware vT108.

The following pages include test results for the AOpen drive in comparison with two other combo devices, the LiteOn SOHC-5232K and NU DBW-521.

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