AOpen DRW8800

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2004-05-25 Print this article Print

While the AOpen drives performance was somewhat lackluster, its software bundle certainly wasnt. The DRW8800 ships with about as rich a software bundle as you could want in a DVD recorder. The familiar Nero suite is included, albeit the older 5.5 version. DVD authoring chores are handled by MedioStreams Neo DVD version 4, while Power DVD 5 lets you watch DVD movies. AOpen even includes an entry-level video editor, Uleads VideoStudio 7. Some of these (i.e., Neo DVD and Nero) are not the latest versions, but theyll still let you accomplish what youd want a DVD burner to do.
The similar burn curves for DVD+R and –R are typical of most of the drives, although slightly slower. The drive ships with 2MB of buffer RAM.
However, the DVD-ROM test uncovered some odd behavior. Specifically, the drive seems to transfer data very slowly at the inner tracks then pickup speed normally after that. Also included is the usual set of mounting screws, a CD audio cable and a parallel IDE cable. The documentation is limited to a fold-out sheet with instructions on installing the software. As is typical with all these drives, no paper documentation is included for the software.
Product AOpen DRW8800 8x Multiformat DVD Recorder
Web Site
Pros Can burn DVD+RW/-RW and CD-R/-RW discs. Good software suite; low price
Cons Performance is anemic; drive seems a bit noisy.
Summary A good software bundle improves this otherwise average drive.
Price $86 street

Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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