SDRW-0804P-D External USB 2.0 Slim 8x DVD Burner & Double Layer DVD+R review: SDRW-0804P-D External USB 2.0 Slim 8x DVD Burner & Double Layer DVD+R

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The Good Lightweight and small; good performer for a low-profile drive; international AC adapter with changeable plug tips.

The Bad Won't run off power from the USB or FireWire bus, so you have to carry the AC adapter at all times; no double-layer DVD-R support.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for an external burner that's small enough to carry with your notebook computer, the Asus SDRW-0804P-D is the one for you.

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6.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 5

Asus SDRW-0804P-D

If you need an external DVD burner that fits easily in your briefcase or backpack, you won't find anything smaller than Asus's SDRW-0804P-D, which measures 5.5 inches wide, 6.37 inches long, and 0.7 inch high. With rated speeds of only 8X/4X/2.4X (recordable/rewritable/double-layer DVD+R), it's no speed demon, but it's as fast as low-profile notebook burners get. The handsome silver drive connects via mini-USB and mini-FireWire ports, which means you can't run it without the included AC adapter. However, the adapter is small, weighs only a couple of ounces, and even offers changeable tips for different international power grids, so our gripe is decidedly minor. If you're in the market for a faster drive and don't mind a bulkier form factor, the Iomega Super DVD Writer 16X16 is a good choice.

The Asus SDRW-0804P-D offers little in the way of physical features other than the aforementioned mini-USB and mini-FireWire ports, an AC jack, and a back-mounted on/off switch. Asus thoughtfully includes a velveteen carrying bag, USB and FireWire cables, and four exchangeable tips for the international AC adapter. The software bundle includes an OEM version of Nero 6 that consists of Nero Express for mastering, NeroVision Express for creating DVD movies, and the Nero Media Player for DVD movie playback. We'd consider that sparse, but Asus also includes Ulead's DVD Movie Factory Suite 3.5 SE, which fills in some of the artistic gaps.

The Asus SDRW-0804P-D generally performed as its speed ratings would lead you to expect. Writing a DVD+R or -R disc at 8X took around 12 minutes. Burning a full double-layer DVD+R disc at 2.4X took 44 minutes, 35 seconds. Ripping an audio CD at 24X took an average of 10 minutes, 40 seconds--slow even for a 24X drive. However, ripping a single-layer DVD took 12 minutes, 5 seconds, which is closer to average for an 8X reader. The SDRW-0804P-D doesn't support dual-layer DVD-R media.

DVD movie rip/burn tests (min:sec)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
4.4GB DVD Video burn test  
4.4GB DVD Video rip test (from DVD Video)  

Double-layer DVD movie rip/burn tests (min:sec)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
7.9GB DVD Video burn test  
7.9GB DVD Video rip test (from DVD Video)  

CD Audio rip/burn tests (min:sec)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
74:35 CD Audio burn test  
74:35 CD Audio rip test  

RW read/write tests (min:sec)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
4.22GB RW write test  
4.22GB RW read test  

Unless otherwise mentioned, all write tests are run with Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed. Find out more about how we test optical drives.

Asus backs the SDRW-0804P-D drive with a standard one-year warranty. Phone support is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to midnight and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, but it's a toll call. Asus's online support options include downloadable firmware and drivers. Unfortunately, Asus doesn't supply a manual to augment the spartan multilingual setup sheet that ships with the drive. You can also consult an online FAQ or access e-mail support through the company's Web site.