Review: ASUS QuieTrack CRW-5232AS & CD-S520/A4

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ASUS CRW-5232AS Features

  • QuieTrack Series
    - DDSSII: Double Dynamic Suspension System
    - AFFM: Airflow Field Modification
  • Live Firmware Update Tool
  • Compact Drive
  • FlextraLink™ Buffer Underrun Errors Prevention Technology
  • FlextraSpeed™ Optimal Writing Speed Adjustment Technology
  • High-Speed DAE (Max. 52X) and VCD Data Extraction Supported
  • Vertical and Horizontal (+5° ~ -5°) Mounting Available
  • Unique Dust-Proof and Noise-Control Design

The ASUS CRW-5232AS comes with:

  • ASUS Internal IDE 52X CD-RW Drive x 1
  • Cable Set (IDE Cable*1pc + Screws*4pcs + Audio Cable*1pc) x 1
  • Manual (English + Traditional Chinese) x 1
  • Quick Installation Guide in 12 Languages x 1
  • Ejector Pin and Instruction Slip x 1
  • Nero Burning Software - Including Live Firmware Update Tool x 1
  • Cyberlink 3 in 1 (PowerDirector + ASUS DVD+ MediaShow) x 1

A very extensive set of technical specifications is provided.

Specifications

Data Transfer Rate CAV write/ P-CAV rewrite/ CAV read
Sustained Transfer Rate CD (Read): 52X Max. 7800 KB/sec (CAV)
DAE: 52X Max. 7800 KB/sec (CAV)
CD-R (Write): 52X, 48X, 40X, 32X, 24X, 16X, 8X, 4X
CD-RW (Write): 32X, 24X, 16X, 12X, 10X, 8X, 4X
Random Access Time 100 ms typical @ 1/3 stroke
Writing Modes TAO (Track-At-Once), DAO (Disc-At-Once),SAO (Session-At-Once), Packet Write
O/S Compatibility Windows XP/ NT/ ME/ 2000/ 98SE
Interface ATAPI/ E-IDE
Supported Disc Formats DDisc Formats: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, Photo CD, Mixed Mode CD-ROM, CD-I, CD-Extra, CD-Text, Video CD, DVCD, Bootable CD
Disc Diameters: 8 cm and 12 cm
Buffer Memory 2MB
Reliability MTBF
100,000 Power On Hours
Operating Duty Cycle (Read) 20% POH
Operating Duty Cycle (Write) 1% POH
MTTR
1/2 hour
Configurations Mounting Orientation: Vertical and Horizontal (+5° ~ -5°)
Dimensions (H/W/D): 43 x 149.0 x 174.30 mm
Weight: 830g
Electrical Specifications Power Requirement: DC + 5V / DC +12 V
Tolerance: ± 5 % / ± 10 %
Environmental Specifications Temperature
Operating: 5°C to 45°C
Storage: -20°C to 60°C
Humidity
Operating: 20% ~ 80% (Non-condensing)
Storage: 15% ~ 85% (Non-condensing)
Vibration
Operating: 0.3 G peak (at 5~500 Hz)
Storage: 2.0 G peak (at 10~500 Hz)

RESULTS of NOISE ANALYSIS

ASUS CRW-5232AS
dBA@1m
Subjective Comments
52X CD read / write
43
Mostly air turbulence and a bit of motor whine
24X CD read / write
34
Smooth subdued air turbulence sound
CD play (Windows Media Player)
33
Quiet steady whirring
Positioning noise
33~39
Subdued damped clicking
Drawer mechanism
-
Very smooth, well damped
Vibration
-
Low

Summary

Like the previously reviewed Samsung optical drives, this ASUS CRW-5232AS works smoothly and quietly. The maximum noise level at 52X speed was actually 2-3 dBA quieter than with the Samsungs. There was a definite sense of all the mechanical sounds being well-damped somehow. Noise during CD playback or 24X speed operation are modest enough that most users will find it perfectly acceptable.

As for performance, casual use showed no anomalies of any kind, and every CD burn came out perfectly fine. It certainly feels like a fast optical drive. At 174mm, the drive is a bit shorter than most, which is a good thing, as it will help with cable management inside the case. The bundled NERO software is a very popular package, certainly my personal favorite among CD burn software.

The ASUS CRW-5232AS is recommended for noise-aware users.

NOTE: Apparently, an earlier version of this drive did not feature QuieTrack; just make sure you're getting the new QuieTrack version before you buy.

Asus CD-S520/A4

Having reported all the above about the CRW-5232AS, there's really not that much more to say about the CD-ROM version of the same optical drive. It sounds the same during read operations at the same speeds. If you need a quiet read-only CD drive, then the CD-S520/A4 is a good choice. I expect that in this day and age, most users have little interest in read-only optical drives, not when DVD and CD-RW drives cost only marginally more and provide so much more functionality.

We look forward to seeing the Asus QuieTrack technology in DVD drives, which are notable by their absence in the QuieTrack series at this point in time.

Much thanks to Asus Computer for the review samples.

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