The SBC-04D1S-U supports a nice variety of formats
. Unfortunately it does not support Blu-ray disk authoring, but that is not too big of a deal as right now the price of black Blu-ray disks is more than most people would want to pay anyway. Still even though you cannot write to Blu-ray you can write to DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD-DL, DVD-RAM and of course CD-R, and RW.
However, most of these features are not what you are looking for from this drive. Most people are going to use this as a playback only drive and then for Blu-ray. There is a very small minority that might pick this up if they are using an ION based netbook, but as there are very few 1080p [or even 720p] rated netbooks I have a feeling this one will be a very small minority indeed. Performance
We tested performance in two different ways. The first was purely synthetic and covered access times read by Sisoft Sandra 2010, the second and more important covered actual playback of different types of media. We used a retail DVD movie, a movie burned to DVD and a retail Blu-ray movie. We tested these against the internal Blu-ray drive in an HTPC system to see if there were any noticeable differences in playback.
As you can see the Asus SBC-04D1S-U has a drive index of 8MB/s with an average access time of 164.81ms when accessing a SD-DVD. This is better than what we got out of our PATA internal drive at 4.5MB/s with an access time of 168.27ms. When we dropped in a Blu-ray movie, things got interesting. According to Sandra we get 15.5 MB/s while the Optiarc is only capable of 6.1MB/s this means that the USB 2.0 Asus SBC-04D1S-U is faster than even an internal Blu-ray player. The Everest testing we ran showed a similar performance lead by the Asus External drive.
In real world testing we saw no problems playing both Blu-ray and SD-DVD movies. The external nature of the SBC-04D1S-U did not hinder it at all. The performance across the board on both our mobile platform and the HTPC system we use was excellent and the integration with Windows 7 [though CyberLink’s Power DVD] was flawless.
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