Asus SBC-06D1S-U Slim External Blu-Ray Combo Drive
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 09-07-2010
Provided by: Asus
Usage and Conclusions

I tested the SBC-06D1S-U on Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit and Windows 7 Professional 64- and 32-bit flavors. On all platforms, the device was up and running within seconds of first plugging it in. At 8x for most DVD speeds and 6x for Blu-Ray read, the device isn't the fastest external drive on the market, but it works like a charm for playback and similar.

Watching Blu-Ray discs was pleasant and easy. I wasn't sure how USB 2.0 would handle the bandwidth necessary for Blu-Ray, but Avatar looked great. Video playback usually resulted in less than 5% CPU usage on my Q6600 (quad core, 2.4GHz), and never exceeded 10%. As an added bonus, the drive is practically silent during use.

Because there aren't any good, free options for a Blu-Ray playback codec, it can be frustrating buying a new drive and having to shell out another $50 for software. Luckily, Asus includes lots of software, part of which is CyberLink PowerDVD 9. While version 10 is out now, PowerDVD is nevertheless recognized as the best option for Blu-Ray video playback. Unfortunately, after installing PowerDVD, you immediately have to install an update, which in turn uninstalls and then reinstalls the whole program. But, it's a small price to pay for free software, and there isn't even any crapware.

While your netbook probably can't handle Blu-Ray playback, the SBC-06D1S-U still does make a great alternative to an internal optical drive. Whether you are building a desktop and want to save some drive bays, or you opted for the extra battery on your laptop, the SBC-06D1S-U is good for both use at home and on the go. The SBC-06D1S-U is convenient, it works well, and it looks great. For its all around quality in both form and function, the Asus SBC-06-D1S-U earns the Gold Seal of Approval.

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