The AD-7240S we received from Sony Optiarc was an OEM version. The drive did not come with any software, cables or even a printed manual.
The drive Optiarc sent us for this review was manufactured in February of 2009 and had firmware 1.00. For this review we used firmware versions 1.00 and 1.01.
The look of Optiarc's drives really hasn't changed much over the last few years. While they've gotten new features and faster speeds, the basic design has remained the same. The AD-7240S is no exception. From the front, it's almost identical to Optiarc's previous DVD writers, sharing not only the bezel design, but many of the same logos. Along the front of the tray you can see a few showing support for Ultra Speed CD-RW media and the DVD+ReWritable and DVD Multi specifications.
Below the tray you can see the AD-7240S's single LED. Off by default, this LED lights up green when the drive is reading or writing.
The rear of the AD-7240S is fairly straight forward. By looking at the picture below you can see the drive's SATA interface and power connector.
The specs below have been taken from Sony Optiarc America's website and by running a few simple tests.
|Sony Optiarc AD-7240S
|DVD+R Write Speeds||24x, 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||24x, 20x, 18x, 16x, 12x (CAV)
12x, 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2x (CLV)
|DVD-RW Write Speeds||6x, 4x, 2x, 1x (CLV)|
|DVD+R DL Write Speeds||12x (CAV)
8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
|DVD-R DL Write Speeds||12x (CAV)
8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
|DVD-RAM Write Speeds||12x (P-CAV)
5x, 3x, 2x (CLV)
|CD Write Speeds||48x, 40x (CAV)
32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 8x (CLV)
|CD Rewrite Speeds||32x, 24x (Z-CLV)
16x, 10x, 4x (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/CD-R)
40x Max (CD-RW)
|DAE Speed||40x Max|
|Buffer Size||2 MB|
|Random Access Times
||140 ms (CD)
160 ms (DVD)
210 ms (DVD-RAM)
|CD Recording Modes||Track At Once
Session At Once
Disc At Once
Fixed And Variable Packet Writing
|DVD+R Recording Modes||Disc At Once
|DVD+RW Recording Mode||Disc At Once
|DVD-R Recording Modes||Disc At Once
|DVD-RW Recording Modes||Disc At Once
|DVD-RAM Recording Mode||Random Write
By looking at the picture below, you can see that Optiarc's new DVD writer is identified as an "Optiarc DVD RW AD-7240S."
Nero shows that the AD-7240S 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, like Optiarc'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-7240S 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-7240S's maximum reading and writing speeds, recording modes, buffer underrun protection and 2MB buffer.
InfoTool also shows that the AD-7240S 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-7240S'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 technologies like LightScribe or Labelflash. If you need a drive that supports these technologies, they are supported on Optiarc's other 24x DVD writers, the AD-7241S (LightScribe) and AD-7243S (LabelFlash).
The AD-7240S doesn't let you set the book type of single layer DVD+R or DVD+RW media. However, using software like 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 Sony Optiarc AD-7240S 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-7240S is capable of 24x DVD±R, 12x 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 Sony Optiarc AD-7240S scores a solid 8 out of 10 for its features.