Asus DRW

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

-0804P"> The Asus DRW-0804P seems to be based on the Pioneer 8x mechanism. Like the Memorex drive, it seems to behave very similarly to the Pioneer DVR-A07, though there are a couple of interesting, if relatively minor, differences in access times. The Asus drive has a 2MB buffer built in.
The Asus drive ships with the OEM version of Nero suite 6.3. Although its tied to the drive, it is the full 6.3 version, with all the goodies, including music ripping, DVD authoring as well as DVD and CD burning. (For a full review of Nero 6.3, check out Don Labriolas review at
The usual sketchy install manual is included, as is the standard set of screws, IDE cable and CD audio cable. Given that this is the lowest cost of the Pioneer-based drives, the Asus drive is actually a pretty good deal. If you do buy the DRW-0804P, make sure you download the 1.12 firmware, which adds support for more media.
Product Asus DRW-0804P
Web Site
Pros Reliable Pioneer mechanism; good write performance; full Nero bundle; low price
Cons Slow DAE access
Summary The cheapest Pioneer-based drive we’ve seen, this unit is an excellent value--once the latest firmware is installed.
Price $109, check prices

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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