Asus 20x20 SATA Light Scribe DVD Burner Review
Reviewed by: Desja
Reviewed on: December 15, 2008
Time seems to be a very valuable thing these days. Whether you are in school or in the work force, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to complete your work in one place. It seems for me, at least, that I am constantly backing up or transferring data every time I turn around. Flash media and jump drives just don't cut it sometimes. If you want a hard copy back up of your data you need a write media like CD, DVD or DL-DVD, and not every burner does all of these media types.
This is where the Asus 20x20 SATA Lightscribe DVD Burner comes into play. It has support for all three formats, and Asus wants it to be your be all end all for write media on the SATA platform. There are a number of drives on the market that do the same thing, so we will see together whether the Asus 20x20 SATA Lightscribe DVD Burner is up for the challenge. I know personally I need speed, but I also want quality when it comes to backing up my personal DVDs and family movies. I don't want blips, pops, or garbled video ruining my family memories. Let's open up the package and see what we are looking at.
The package is pretty standard, lots of information on the box about write speeds and what is included inside. One thing I noticed right away was the replaceable plastic face plate that comes in black or white. This is one of the best additions I have seen yet, it's an inexpensive solution to your constantly changing platform. I hated having to buy black writers in the past when I changed from a white case to a trendier black case. With the Asus 20x20 SATA Lightscribe DVD Burner I am covered, that is until they start making florescent pink the new standard color case.
Included with the drive comes the faceplate as mentioned above, but also included is a copy of Nero Essentials 8, which is a nice bonus. You also receive the needed hardware to install the drive in older non tool-less cases.
The drive is not IDE, it is the new SATA standard which really cleans up the look of your case. One thing I don't like that much is all the stuff on the front of the drive. I understand the need to state what the drives capabilities are, but once Blu-Ray Disc gets added to the front line up, optical drives are going to start looking like NASCAR race cars, there will be so much text on the drive you will be hard pressed to fit your companies logo on the front.
We have gotten a good look at the Asus 20x20 SATA Lightscribe DVD and all of its bells and whistles, now let's check out its specs and features.
Multi Function: (X MULTI+LightScribe)
- Max. 20X DVD±R/ 8X DVD+RW/ 6X DVD-RW/12X DVD±R (DL)
Auto Vibration Reducing System (AVRS)
The AVRS technology is designed to minimize the vibration caused by the spindle motor and resonance between components as well as the drive and PC cases. AVRS is designed to reduce vibration and noise induced by unbalanced mass of rotating machinery. With AVRS, ASUS DRW-20B1LT provides high readability and playability.
Optimal Tuning Strategy(OTS)
Automatic Adjustments for Optimum Disc Backup with OTS. The advantage of OTS:
Energy Green Engine(E-green)
The innovative E-Green Engine technology features an E-Green Mode that automatically closes drive applications when not in use to help conserve energy - helping the environment by decreasing CO2 emissions and reducing the depletion of trees.
The ASUS DRW-20B1LT is the Light Scribe drive enables CD images and disc labels to be burned onto disc using the same drive that is used to burn the data. Make a label wherever and whenever you want with your PC or burner. Simple, compatible and flexible:
- Operates on Horizontal or Vertical Mounting
- ASUS Unique Live Firmware Update Tool
- Compatible with a Wide Range of Disc Formats
- Windows XP/ NT/2000/VISTA Supported
Let's check out how this drive stacks up!
For testing I am going to be burning 1GB and 500MB files to DVD, and timing the difference between the Asus Drive, the LG drives IDE (GSA-H50N) and the SATA (GSA-H62N) drives. I will also be burn a 100MB file to CD and seeing how each of these driver perform against each other. All drives will be tested at 16X for DVD and 48X for CD, due to the fact I cannot do 20x on all of the test drives. I will also perform a CPU usage test, a transfer rate (both CD and DVD) test, and a speed test on each of the optical drives. I will be using Nero as my burning platform.
- Intel Core Duo E6600 Processor
- 2 Gigs Kingston PC2 5300
- Asus P5B Motherboard
- Nvidea 8600GTS Video Card
- 500watt Power Supply
- 320GB Seagate SATA 2 HD
- Asus 20x20 Sata, and X
- Creative Fatal1ty
- Windows XP SP 2
- LG DVD GSA-H62N (SATA)
- LG DVD GSA-H50N (IDE)
Remember, the lower the number on this test, the better the drive performed.
The lower the time in ms the better the drive performed in this test.
So, we see in these tests that the Asus didn't perform as well as I would hope it would. Let's see if the next batch of tests changes the performance.
Using the Nero 7 Ultra CD-DVD speed application we will test the transfer rates of all of the optical drives for both DVD and CD. I will also be performing a CPU test running at 8x.
These tests are a great way to see exactly what strain these drives will put on your system while burning, as well as give you a ball park figure of how well they will perform over all. These are what I consider to be the most important part of the testing. If an optical drive is going to hog resources, it is not worth using. I don't like having to stop everything I am doing to burn a simple DVD or CD. The days of turning everything off and not breathing on my old K6-2 so it wouldn't wreck another disc are long gone. Let's see how these drives perform.
The better the average drive speed, the better it performs.
Again we see SATA pulling ahead, this time with a much more forcefull lead over the IDE drive.
CPU usage test:
One thing that is important to most enthusiasts is resources. How many or how little resources your computer is using at any given time seriously effects system performance. In this test we will see how your CPU is effected by IDE and SATA at 8X. The lower the CPU usage, the better.
The results show that the Asus doesn't hog a lot of CPU bandwidth compared to the others, but its over all performance isn't keeping up with an older IDE drive; this is a bit troubling. The next two tests will be based on the SATA drives only. I will be testing burn times on a 4.36 DVD file. I will see how much time it takes to burn, and then run a burn quality test on the two disks.
After running the tests we see a 20 second speed difference between the LG and the Asus. When I ran the quality check both disks were 100% error free, so the quality was evenly matched.
I ran a test to see how long it would take to burn an image in high contrast using the Asus drive. For those that are interested it takes 26.45 minutes to complete a high contrast image on a Light Scribe CD or DVD. I think we all recognize Carl the ninja hamster from Blockbuster, my avatar.
Let's go on to the closing thoughts.
Over all, the Asus drive was a let down. There is no reason that an IDE drive that has been out for over a year now should be taking on and beating a newer, "faster" drive in bottom-end tests. Running at the specified 20x speed will definitely add some zip when it comes down to burning the Light Scribe images and full length movies. While I will give the Asus credit where credit is due, the CPU usage was a lot lower, which I liked to see. This does improve its marks a little. Even though the drive was out performed, it wasn't like we are talking minutes or hours, the win margins where slim and the average user wouldn't notice much of a difference.
More bonuses I would remark on, are the ability to swap the face plate. I like that option a lot. I have used many Asus drives in the past and they were always top notch. I still have some of the old ones kicking around, so that says a lot for an optical drives longevity. With the exception of new technologies, I have a feeling that the fact you can swap out the faceplate gives the shelf life of this drive a much longer existence. I would recommend this drive over the LG's for the simple fact it is a 20x20 drive, and it has the face plate options.
- Lower CPU usage
- SATA makes for much cleaner looking case
- Easy installation
- Includes a copy of Nero
- Needs a Molex-to-SATA power cable converter for older PSUs
- Slower speeds then the IDE drive