The AD-7200S we received from Sony NEC Optiarc was an OEM version. The drive did not come with any software, cables or even a printed manual.

Physical Features:

The drive Optiarc sent us for this review was manufactured in November of 2007 and came preloaded with firmware 1.06.This is the newest firmware currently available for the AD-7200S.

Optiarc's new DVD writer definitely doesn't get any bonus points for looks. Like their previous drives, they've kept the look of the AD-7200S very simple. There are no large Optiarc logos or anything advertising the drive's reading and writing speeds. If you look closely though, you can see logos advertising support for Ultra Speed CD-RW media and theDVD+ReWritable and DVD Multi specifications.

Below the tray you can see the AD-7200A's single LED. Off by default, this LED lights up green when the drive is reading or writing.

The rear of the AD-7200A is fairly straight forward. By looking at the picture below you can see the drive's SATA interface and power connector.

Technical Specs:

The specs below have been taken from Optiarc's website and by running a few simple tests.

   Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7200S
CD Write Speeds 48x (CAV)
40x, 32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 8x (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speeds 32x, 24x (Z-CLV)
16x, 10x, 4x (CLV)
DVD+R Write Speeds 20x, 18x, 16x, 12x (CAV)
12x, 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD+RW Write Speeds 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R Write Speeds 20x, 18x, 16x, 12x (CAV)
12x, 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2x (CLV)
DVD-RW Write Speeds 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2x, 1x (CLV)
DVD+R DL Write Speeds 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R DL Write Speeds 12x, 10x, 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2x (CLV)
DVD-RAM Write Speeds 12x (P-CAV)
5x, 3x, 2x (CLV)
DVD Read Speeds 16x Max (DVD-ROM Single Layer)
12x Max (DVD-ROM Dual Layer)
16x Max (DVD±R)
13x Max (DVD±RW)
12x Max (DVD±R DL)
12x Max (DVD-RAM)
CD Read Speeds 48x Max (CD-ROM)
40x Max (CD-R/CD-RW)
DAE Speed 40x Max
Buffer Size 2 MB
Random Access Times
140 ms (CD)
160 ms (DVD)
210 ms (DVD-RAM)
CD Formats CD-DA
Photo CD
Video CD
CD Text
CD Recording Modes Track At Once
Session At Once
Disc At Once
Packet Writing
DVD+R Recording Modes Disc At Once
Sequential Recording
DVD+RW Recording Mode Disc At Once
Random Write
Sequential Recording
DVD-R Recording Modes Disc At Once
Incremental Recording
DVD-RW Recording Modes Disc At Once
Incremental Recording
Restricted Overwrite
DVD-RAM Recording Mode Random Write
Sequential Recording

More Features:

By looking at the picture below, you can see that Optiarc's new DVD writer is identified as a "Optiarc DVD RW AD-7200S."

Nero shows that the AD-7200S has a maximum CD writing speed of 48x and a 2048KB buffer, which is backed up by some form of buffer underrun protection. According to Nero, the drive can also write CD-Text and overburn. Unfortunately, likeNEC's earlier DVD writers, it wasn't able to recognize our 99 minute CompUSA discs at all.

Using Alex Noe's Weak Sector Utility I was able to determine that the AD-7200S is a "two sheep" burner. This means that Optiarc's new drive is capable of backing up titles protected by SafeDisc 2, including version 2.51.

Here is a screen shot from Nero's InfoTool. This program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. InfoTool had no problems detecting the AD-7200S's maximum reading and writing speeds, recording modes, buffer underrun protection and 2MB buffer.

InfoTool also shows that the AD-7200S is an RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore. A patched RPC-1 firmware can be downloaded here. Just keep in mind that it is not supported by Optiarc nor by CDRLabs. Use it at your own risk.

While InfoTool gives us a quick glance at the AD-7200S's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities. By looking at the screenshot above you can see Optiarc's new drive can read and write to DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL and DVD-RAM media, it does not support the Mt. Rainier format nor technologies like LightScribe or Labelflash.

The AD-7200S doesn't let you set the book type of single layer DVD+R or DVD+RW media. However, using programs like CD Speed or Nero, you can set the book type for DVD+R DL discs to "DVD-ROM." This greatly reduces compatibility problems, especially with older DVD players.

While affordably priced, the Optiarc AD-7200S delivers a good number of features. This Serial ATA equipped "Super Multi" drive not only supports all major DVD formats, it sports some of the fastest DVD reading and writing speeds available. The AD-7200S is capable of 20x DVD±R, 12x DVD-R DL, 8x DVD+R DL, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW and 12x DVD-RAM writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. Optiarc's new drive also includes features like a 2MB buffer and support for some sort of buffer underrun protection, but lacks bitsetting support for single layer DVD+R and DVD+RW media. Even then, the Optiarc AD-7200S scores a solid 8 out of 10 for its features.