Setting Our Sights On 32x: Asus CRW-3212A, Continued
This Asus drive, which has been on store shelves since the beginning of the year, is physically capable of writing to CD-R media at 32x and to CD-RW blanks at 12x speeds. Here, it achieves rotation speeds that exceed 6000 rpm. By comparison, a burner running at a write speed of 1x barely makes it up to 200 rpm. Along with the burner, the manufacturer includes a CD for 32x as well as a CD-RW for 12x. Asus calls the technology it uses to prevent buffer underruns "Flextralink," even though it's basically the same technology as always. Also, the 2 MB of integrated cache memory help to ensure that the flow of data remains constant. Overall, the Asus drive manages to overburn only CD-R80 and CD-R90s to our complete satisfaction. When CD-R99s were used instead, several problems became evident during the test. For one, the burner can only write to CDs at speeds of 4x and higher. The inevitable errors made on the most outlying tracks then forced the CD to discontinue the write process. If this situation is to be remedied, users need to have an option that lets them reduce the writing speed manually to 2x, or even 1x. A closer look at the writing features of this burner revealed that, although the burner does in fact work at 32x speeds, the drive constantly accesses its "Burn Proof" function. Our testers needed about six minutes to copy a data CD with 700 MB of data after having activated the "on-the-fly" option. Not only that, but it took forever for the drive to recognize the data of the special, as yet blank, 32x CD. The bottom line is that the 32x drive does not offer any advantages over the 24x model.
Asus includes special 32x blank CDs with its drive.
The Asus drive also processes small CD-RW21s (mini CDs).