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We've well chronicled the recent growth and market expansion that Taiwanese mega-vendor ASUS has enjoyed in 1998. One area that ASUS would like to increase their market share in, is the area of high-speed CD/DVD playback and recording devices.

To accomplish that goal, ASUS has introduced three UltraDMA/33 compatible CD-ROM drives this year: a 34x, a 36x, and their most recent addition that we're taking a look at today, a 40x drive.

All of the ASUS drives utilize a traditional "constant linear velocity" format, meaning that they operate to a maximum of 40x, not a constant like the multi-beam "true 40x" drives you might have been reading about the last month or so.

For novices, constant linear velocity is referred to in CD-ROM literature as CLV. CLV basically means that a drive accelerates to its maximum spindle or rotational speed, in this case 8900rpm. Once the maximum rpm rate is achieved, the data being read from the inside and outside of the disc itself varies in speed, since the inner tracks of the disc are spinning at a faster rate than the outer tracks. This is what causes most CD-ROM drives to have words to the effect of "maximum of 40x" plastered all over the spec sheet, since it is indeed a maximum, not a constant data transfer rate.

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