AOpen COM5232/AAH - Page 11
Only a few days ago, AOpen released a combo drive with a maximum supported writing speed of 52X, the AOpen COM5232/AHH. This is an all in one device, supporting CD-R reading/writing while the user is able to use the same device to playback and rip DVD-ROM's.
The drive came to us in a retail version bundled with Nero Burning Rom and PowerDVD although unfortunately without any blank media. We made several tests in order to check the capabilities of the device.
The AOpen drive proved fast in the CD-R and CD-ROM reading tasks. Using CAV reading strategy, the drive easily reached the 52X maximum reading speed as given in the manufacturer's specifications. The seek times were slightly increased in comparison with the other devices used in the comparison but were still quite acceptable. For the CD-RW format, the supported reading speed of 40x was reached once again using CAV reading strategy.
We also checked the CD error correction abilities of the drive. We used EAC software and media from Abex for the tests. The drive needed more time than the competition's drives but managed to get a good average score at 87.75 out of 100.
The DVD reading tests showed that the AOpen is a fast DVD reader with quite low seek times but was not as fast as we expected in the DVD ripping department. The combo dive read all writable, rewritable and pressed media fast, with consistent performance but reported only 3.7X maximum ripping speed.
The drive also proved that it can be relied upon to playback scratched and defective DVD media. The drive managed to read and finish all tested media without problems or read errors.
One of the weaknesses of the AOpen was with backups of protected games. We checked the time that AOpen needs to make images of various protected games and then we burned those images. AOpen was very slow on the image making process, especially with SafeDisc protected game where the drive needed about one hour to finish the task The image burn process was quite disappointing since the AOpen drive managed only one valid disc, that with the SD v2.51.020 protected game.
Although the AOpen COM5232 proved weak with protected game backups, it recognized, played back and ripped all protected audio discs we tested. On the other hand, the DAE speed of the drive was 32X and not 40X as expected but the drive was awarded with a perfect DAE quality score.
Users who choose to purchase the AOpen COM5232 are those seeking fast writing times. The drive supports the maximum currently available writing speed of 52X under CAV writing strategy. The drive managed to write a full 80min audio disc in about 2:39min, a time that is really fast but the compatibility of the AOpen was restricted. We used many different media from MMC, MC , TY, Ritek and other manufacturers, but only four brands successfully burned at the maximum supported speed of 52X while the speed with the others was lower.
Despite the writing time, what matters is the quality of the written media and that was the next thing we tested. Almost all written media returned low C1C2 errors but Pit and Land values were all above the 35ns limit. For all media that returned increased values, since there was a possibility of errors during reading, we used Plextor premium to check them but the tests finished without reporting problems.
The drive is already in the market at the price of $50.