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Aopen CD952E 52X CDROM
review by david, 13 May 2001

Introduction

Personally, I haven't had much experience with products from Aopen before. All I knew was that they made some CDROMs, and that was it. Quality-wise, I was biased towards names such as Creative, Asus and Sony. To me initially, Aopen was just another small Taiwanese company trying to make it big in the PC hardware industry. No biggie. Then Aopen exploded onto the scene with products like the Aopen CDRW 121032Pro with JustLink. Rave reviews popped up here and there. Even a good friend of mine who owns a PC store recommended the Aopen CDROM to me, claiming that its quality and performance rivalled that of other brands available to choose from in Malaysia, while being much cheaper too. So, when my sister wanted her own PC and asked me to build her one, I included the Aopen 52X CDROM into her system.

Initial Impression

First up, the box looks quite nice and flashy, but the CDROM itself looks quite plain. Usually, you would find the company logo embossed onto the front plate of the CDROM, but in this case, all you see is 52X splashed onto the right side of the cd-tray. Otherwise, the drive looks quite plain, with the standard beige colored front plate.

In the box was the standard paper 'manual' which was a few pages long, but detailed enough to provide the newbie with sufficiently clear instructions to install the CDROM drive into their own rigs. Also included were some screws, 4 to be exact. Nice touch, especially when not many manufacturers fail to include screws with their CDROM products. Of course, the CDROM was also in the box, wrapped in a static bag and protected with some cardboard mounting thingys to prevent the drive from bouncing around in the box.

Feature-wise, this drive comes with the standard stuff. Most notable was the inclusion of UDMA33 support. Most CDROMs around only support PIO 4, thus requiring you to hook it up on an IDE channel seperate from your HDD to ensure your CDROM doesn't slow your HDD down. UDMA33 is still significantly slower than ATA100, but its stil good to know that thisCDROM drive is capable of greater transfer rates, as compared to most other CDROMs out there.

The drive is quite new, as you can see, it was manufactured in January 2001. I normally don't flash the firmware of optical drives I receive. If I encounter problems with the drive, I assume its the drive at fault and return it to whomever I bought it from. Since the drive is quite newly manufactured, I assumed the firmware of the Aopen 52X CDROM was up to date. Besides, I don't see why users should have to upgrade the firmware on products we bought. Products on the market should work as advertised, and if the manufacturers suddenly require a firmware upgrade, then I would only agree if it was done by the manufacturers, at their own cost. I for one will NOT pay to fix something that wasn't my own fault.


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