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Asus sent over the black version of the DRW-1608P2S although it is available in good old PC beige as well. The front fascia is adorned by a single eject button, a manual eject hole and an indicator light. There’s no Super-Multi branding, but this drive will definitely write to DVD-RAM without issue.
Specification wise, this latest Asus writer will burn DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16x, DVD+RW at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x, DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL at 8x, DVD-RAM at 5x, CD-R at 40x and finally CD-RW at 32x.
As already mentioned there was a problem writing to DVD+R DL media and the result is that you’ll be waiting for around three quarters of an hour when writing to this format. By contrast, the DRW-1608P2S turned in the fastest DVD-R DL times I’ve ever seen, with both write tests finishing in under 19 minutes. The problem with DVD+R DL discs is unlikely to be the fault of the media either, since I used the same high quality Verbatim discs that I employ for all DVD writer testing.
Looking at standard single layer DVD+R, the DRW-1608P2S turned in pretty reasonable times, although still a little behind the NEC ND-4551A. This situation was reversed when using DVD-R media, where the Asus pulled ahead of the NEC slightly – that said, the LG GSA-4166B produced faster results than both of them using this media.
Turning to re-writable discs, the Asus again lagged slightly behind the NEC using DVD+RW media, but when it came to DVD-RW testing, the NEC streaked ahead in every test bar the disc format. DVD-RAM once again highlighted the superiority of the NEC drive, with the Asus lagging behind both it and the LG.
To be fair the total test times are all skewed by the 2.4x DVD+R DL performance, but even if I take that out of the equation, the NEC would still be the fastest drive I’ve tested by a significant margin.
Of course it’s not all about performance, value for money also comes into the equation and this is where Asus has really managed to impress. Whereas the NEC ND-4551A costs just under £33 including VAT for a bare drive, you can pickup this full retail box of the Asus DRW-1608P2S for £30 flat! That does represent amazing value for money, almost enough to forgive the slow DVD+R DL performance in fact.
If you really need the comfort of a retail box and don’t already have a software suite, the Asus DRW-1608P makes a good case for itself. It’s just a shame about the poor dual layer DVD+R performance – if it wasn’t for that small hiccup Asus would be walking away with a Recommended award.