Compared to some other optical drives, the ASUS DRW-1814BLT is no beauty. A large and impossible to miss eject button is found on its rugged plastic faceplate, giving it a utilitarian look. It is relatively short for an optical drive, making it suitable for those with small form factor casings. ASUS has also included noise dampeners for the tray and together with its proprietary Double Dynamic Suspension System II to minimize internal vibrations from the spindle motor, the DRW-1814BLT is a quiet drive. A low, almost inaudible rumble that is felt rather than heard is the only sound made during operation.
Besides reducing the tedium of managing cables due to the thinner SATA cables, SATA drives have the advantage of not requiring the user to select Master or Slave settings manually. Hence, the rear of the ASUS is refreshingly clean and bare. The biggest draw however of the ASUS DRW-1814BLT and hinted at in its model name, is its 18x writing speed for both DVD+R and DVD-R. This compares favorably with 16x writers and should save around half a minute for most write scenarios. Rewritable media like DVD+RW however is kept at the typical 8x and 6x for DVD-RW. Those who occasionally still write to CD-Rs will be glad to know that unlike some other DVD writers, the ASUS writes to CD-R at a competitive 48x. Finally, this drive is also currently one of the fastest when it comes to DVD-RAM writing, as it is rated at 14x. But with high speed DVD-RAM media practically non-existant in retail, it is debatable if this capability will be anything more than a statistic.
The ASUS DRW-1814BLT also has the popular LightScribe feature, allowing budding content creators to enhance their discs with labels and images of their own designs. It is a simple and painless way to decorate your discs, though one would have to use LightScribe compatible media, which is more costly than conventional discs and of course, the technology is not that advanced yet to include color printing for the discs so don't expect retail quality labels.