The evaluation unit I received came in a relatively big box packaged quite
nicely to ensure against any damage to the drive while shipping. Upon opening
it, I found included: Asus 50x CD-ROM drive, brief installation manual, floppy
with DOS drivers, 4 phillips type screws for mounting and an analog CD-Audio
cable to connect the drive's CD-Audio OUT into its corresponding IN on the
sound card. The CD-ROM drive provides both digital and analog audio out headers.
Of course, not many soundcards (at least the commonly available ones) provide
support for a digital CD-IN but having the provision is always
Installation went smooth and without any incident. One thing I
noticed with the DOS driver is that it does provide support for Ultra DMA/33. Of
course, not many people use DOS these days but it looks like ASUS wanted to
ensure optimum performance under both the DOS and Windows platforms. Setting up
the drive for use in Windows 98 required no effort on my part and the drive was
detected by the operating system without asking for a reboot or asking me to
insert the Windows 98 CD. In this regard, I haven't experienced anything
different with any other CD-ROM drives as well.
The one thing that does make one
think is the high rotational speed exhibited by the Asus 50x Max. At a 10,400
rotational speed, it spins a lot faster than most hard disks out there in the
market. Before setting up the drive for use, I normally use the Creative 48X CD
drive which certainly gives out a heck of a lot of vibration.
So you could say that I am used to having my cabinet shake a bit when the
Creative drive is in use. Just for your information, even when the Creative
drive is not in the cabinet, the drive housing does its own rattle and hum
making me wonder about the overall finishing of the product. Moving up to 50x, I
expected the same 747-esqe noise characteristics (if not more) than the 48x
drive that I am currently using.
To my surprise, the level of vibration had gone down
significantly after the change of drives. Sure, the Asus drive still makes some
noise while in use, but MUCH less than the 48x. Asus has incorporated the use of
something called as DDSS II, or Double Dynamic Suspension System II to limit the
noise and reduce the vibration of the motor. I find that it does make a
difference, but do expect some noise to be there. You can think of DDSS II as a
muffler added to a non muffled car. Expect to hear the difference.
move on to see how well this drive performs.
- Celeron 400 CPU (66x6)
- 96MB PC100 SDRAM
- Soltek 67KV
Apollo Pro 133A Motherboard
- VIA 4-in-1 drivers installed
- Creative 52x
5220 CD-ROM drive
- Creative 48x 4820 CD-ROM drive
In order to
benchmark the drives, Ziff-Davis CD Winbench 99 was used to calculate various
transfer rates in the inner and outer region of the CD, access times and CPU
utilization. Each test was run 4 times with the resultant score being the
average of the 4 test runs. In addition, real world testing was done by copying
various CD to another storage medium. In this case, the hard disk. The number
of files as well as the amount of space used is described with its resultant
graph showing copy times. A couple of other applications were also used to
compare loading times between the 3 tested CD-ROM drives.
access is enabled throughout the duration of the tests using Windows 98 as the
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