AOpen 3248 CDRW

As promised, here is the review of the AOpen 3248. This review was delayed because the first 3248 I received had such a bad vibration that it would cause "Focus Error", "Write Error", and even some "Read errors". The one I have in my rig as of this moment, is an altogether different drive. I will be reviewing this drive in a similar manner as the AOpen 2440. This is done, so that you can see what the extra 8x does. Now, on with the review. . .

First, the specs from AOpen's website. . .

Interface: E-IDE/ATAPI (SFF8080 Rev 1.2&8020I Rev 2.6), *ATA-33 (33MB/sec), PIO Mode 4
*Default factory jumper setting is DISABLED.
Data Buffer Memory: 8MB
Data Transfer Rate:
CD-R Write: (CLV) 4X, 8X, 12X
(ZCLV) 16X, 20X, 24X,28X, 32X =4.8MB/sec (CD-R);
CD-RW Write: (CLV) 4X, 8X, 10X, 12X =1.8MB/sec (CD-RW)
CD Read: Up to 48X (1X=150KB/s)
Average Access Time: 100ms
Mounting Orientation: Horizontal or vertical (eject button must be upside)
Supported Formats: CD-Audio,CD-ROM (mode 1 and 2), CD-ROM XA (mode2, from 1 and from 2), CD-I, Photo-CD (single and multiple sessions), Video CD, CD Extra, I-Trax CD, CD Text, and High Density (80-min) CD.
*CD-I, Photo-CD requires special reader/player.
*Photo-CD writing requires Kodak's license.
*CD Text and High Density requires Nero.
Power Requirement: DC5V±5%, DC12V±10%
Logical Recording Format: UDF and ISO9660
Weight: 1.0 kg or less (accessories not include)
Dimensions: 149x42x197.5mm (WxHxD)
Power Consumption:
10W or less (normal operation)
1.2W or less (stand by)

This burner comes boxed with 1 - 32x12x48x burner, 1 - audio cable, 1 - 32x CD-R, 1 - 12x CD-RW, slimmer manual than the 2440 and a full version of Nero Burner software. One of the better packages available. In the box is a piece of paper that tells you to flash the firmware to 1.10 from 1.09. This allows Nero to access the 8mb buffer. The 3248 features Justlink (burn-proof), and Justspeed, which is supposed to be able to detect how fast the CD-R's can be burned safely at. On AOpen's 2440, I found the Justspeed to be quite inaccurate, so I just shut it off. On the AOpen 3248 however, it seems to be working so far. It properly detected my 32x Silver/silver cheapies, my 24x Teon, and a couple of 16x Fuji's all correctly. That's a bonus for sure.

For the first test, I stuck in my Linux Mandrake 8.0 cd#2, and fired up a little Nero CD Speed. The seek times on this drive are excellent, as it is rated as having 100 ms random seek times. Average speed is 37.04x and it ends above it's rated speed at 48.70. . .super sweet. Also, this drive is actually quiet! I'm am impressed at it makes as little noise as my Pioneer 116 DVD. I'm impressed so far. . .

For the next test I inserted an Audio CD. I ran all of the available tests, and this is how it breaks down:

The transfer rate on this cd finished at almost 50x. Average is over 37x. Once again the seek times are great! DAE is 10 and accurate stream.

On to burn testing!!! This test here shows how the Z-CLV works on the 3248. When you start to burn a 74 min cd, the burner starts to burn @ 16x for about the first 2 min of cd time. Then it stops writing, changes speed up to 20x, until about 12 min of cd time. Again stops writing, changes speed up to 24x, up to 24 min of cd time, 28x up to 36 min, then finally it wraps up to 32x for the last half of the cd. This is how just about all cd-rw's burn that are faster than 24x. However, quite a few burners don't hit high speed until they are 60+ min of cd time. If you were burning a 40min cd, it would never hit top speed. As you can see, however, the 3248 is quite agressive on the Z-CLV. 27.11x average burn is pretty darn quick.


To put this tech into practice, I fired up the latest version of Nero which you can get here. I used "Hyper Media" 32x certified blanks from Memory Express for all tests. The tests done were simulations. I've found that actual burn times are almost identical to simulation times. Besides, it saves me the money for blank cd's as I have no corporate sponsorship for this site. Anyhoo. . . This iso is a single file DivX that is 700MB + the 1MB lilo(lead in-lead out). It is "The One". heh The file was burned in 3:32, including LILO. That comares to 4:09 on the AOpen 2440 reviewed here. Not too bad at all. 0:37 seconds faster on this one.

For the next test, I did a simulated CD copy on-the-fly, using the 32x Hyper Media blanks. The cd copied was Jedi Outcast. This copy finished in 3:42. Again a bit faster than AOpen's 2440, which of course it should be. The 2440 finished this test in 4:03. This time the 3248 is 0:26 seconds faster than it's little sister. That works for me.

As you can see, the AOpen 3248 is definitely a step up from the 2440. This one is quiet, fast, and accurate at DAE. I'm very pleased with the performance of this drive, and would recommed it to all who want to get ripping CD's. For Data, Music, and Games, this burner can handle it all. . .and faster than a lot of other drives out there.

Ben's custom cases gives the AOpen 3248 a 9.5/10!!!

(*note* that is the same rating that I gave the 2440. Each drive is equally good, and deserving of such a high mark.)