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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Monday, January 09, 2006
Samsung SH-W162L


1. Introduction

Samsung recently released their new DVD±R DL burner, the SH-W162L, equipped with LightScribe (Disc Labeling) technology. The maximum speed for +R DL has been increased to 8X, while -R DL writing speed remains at 4X. Apart from that, the drive also offers 8X DVD+RW and 6X DVD-RW media burning speed. It can also write +R and -R media at the maximum speed of 16X.

- Drive Features

Let's have a look at the drive's features as supplied by Samsung.

Direct disc Labeling
Easy disc Labeling. Just burn, flip and burn
Speed Adjustment Technology
Intelligent detection of media type. Error-free reading of all media types, increases life of drive.
Double O.P.C. Technology
Provides reliable, zero-error recording.
Tilt Actuator Compensation Technology
Improves recording capability on deformed media.
Magic Speed
Enables flexibility of drive operation, low noise mode, high-speed mode.
Buffer Under Run Free Technology
Prevents Buffer Under Run error, enabling high-speed writing of media.
Automatic Ball Balancing System
Vibration control for unbalanced discs.
Weight Balance System Technology
Mechanically designed for minimal vibration and noise.
Eco-Product
Minimal Usage of drive operation, low noise mode, high-speed mode.
Firmware Live Update
Automatically upgrades the latest firmware version through Internet by continued support of newer media.

Specifications

Model Samsung SH-W162L
Data Transfer Media Type Write Read
DVD+R 16X (21.6MB/sec) 12X (16.2MB/sec)
DVD+R DL 8X (10.8MB/sec) 8X (10.8MB/sec)
DVD+RW 8X (10.8MB/sec) 8X (10.8MB/sec)
DVD-R 16X (21.6MB/sec) 12X (16.2MB/sec)
DVD-R DL 4X (5.4MB/sec) 8X (10.8MB/sec)
DVD-RW 6X (8.1MB/sec) 8X (10.8MB/sec)
DVD ROM - 16X (21.6MB/sec)
CD ROM - 48X (7.2MB/sec)
CD-R 48X (7.2MB/sec) 40X (6.0MB/sec)
CD-RW 32X (4.8MB/sec) 40X (6.0MB/sec)
Burst Transfer Rate PIO Mode 4 (16.6MB/sec)
Ultra DMA Mode 2 (33.3MB/sec)
Average Seek Time DVD : 130ms
CD : 110ms
Supported Disc DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, LightScribe DVD±R, LightScribe CD-R, CD-Audio, Video-CD, Photo CD, CD-I(FMV), CD-Extra, CD-TEXT
Disc Labeling Time Best 36 minutes: Normal 28 minutes: Draft 20 minutes
Buffer Memory 2MB

Below are the specs for the drive as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- Nero InfoTool

- DVD InfoPro

- Retail Package

The Retail package includes: the SH-W162L internal tray loading burner, an E-IDE (ATAPI) cable, an audio cable, mounting screws, a comprehensive Quick Installation Guide and bundled software which includes Nero Express 6, InCD4, Nero Showtime, and a wide collection of Nero Utilities. The drive did not contain any blank media but the accompanying software more than makes up for it.

-The Drive

The tray loader has the LightScribe, Writemaster and SAMSUNG logos from left to centre, and the DVD R/RW, DVD+Rewritable and Compact Disc Rewritable Ultra Speed logos on the right. Typical design, very much like all the latest releases from Samsung.

On the rear panel you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input.

A closer look at the interior of the drive reveals the Mediatek chipset also found in LiteOn drives. Note that this does not make the Samsung drive an OEM version of LiteOn drives. Clicking on the image below will bring up an enlarged photo.

Close-up view of the Mediatek Chipset.

- Installation

The drive was installed under WindowsXP and was recognized as "TSSTcorp CD/DVDW SH-W162L". The drive came with firmware revision TS01 which at the time of the review was the latest available firmware.

Throughout this review, we will be comparing the Samsung model with two other latest release drives, the Plextor 750A and the NEC 4551A.

Having looked over the drive's main features, contents and its retail package, let us now move on to the rest of the review and get started with the testing.


2. Reading Tests

- CD Format

For our CD transfer rate tests, we used Nero CD-Speed utility and a set of Pressed CDs. Let's take a look at how the drive performed as compared with the other two drives.

The Samsung SH-W162L supports up to 48X max reading speed but surprisingly enough, the drive managed to read the pressed media at a maximum of 50X. The Plextor and NEC drives offer a max reading speed of 40X and 48X respectively.

Good reading speed was reported with USRW media also, where the Samsung drive reported an average speed of 31X and a max speed of just under 42X.

- AudioCD

In the case of AudioCDs, both the Samsung and NEC drives support 40X DAE speed while the Plextor supports 39X. All drives reported a perfect score in the Advanced DAE Quality Test from Nero.

- 90mins Audio disc

- 99mins Audio disc

The Samsung SH-W162L successfully read both the 90 and 99 min Audio discs.

- DVD Format

Now let's have a look at how the drive performs when DVD media is inserted. Again, a set of DVD media was used, both SL and DL.

 

Same specifications for all drives and hence, similar performance.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards its outer range. Samsung and Plextor reported similar performance, with 8X support, while the NEC supports up to 12X.

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously, the main difference being the reading strategy of the second layer on the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks towards the inner part of the disc. Here we see similar performance to that with PTP media with an average speed of around 6.4X.

The supported reading speeds for DVD±RW are not the same for all tested drives. In the case of DVD±R, the NEC is the fastest since it supports 16X while the Samsung and Plextor drives support 12X and 8X respectively.

Average ripping performance from all the tested drives, with Plextor offering a slightly higher ripping transfer rate.

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs

CD Pressed /US-RW / AudioCD

DVD Pressed SL / DVD Pressed DL PTP / DVD Pressed DL OTP / DVD-R / DVD-RW / DVD+R / DVD+RW


3. CD Error Correction

In the following tests we check the drive's behaviour when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total Num: 1116090
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 55785 Avg: -73.6 dB(A) Max: -36.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 3684 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max: 8 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.5 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 99.7 %

A fairly decent effort with the specific disc. The total error count is not too high while the maximum error loudness is rather good and very importantly, no samples were skipped. The good performance is rewarded with a good Test Result score of 76.5.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 0 Avg: -174.0 dB(A) Max: -174.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 100.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 100.0 %

The ABEX TCD-726 test disc is always easier to read but we did not expect it to be that easy!. No skipped samples and no error muting samples indicate excellent performance.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
NEC ND-4551A
5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5

With this test disc, the drive reported average performance, achieving flawless reading with 3 out of 5 tracks.

- Summary

Overall, Samsung seems to have rather good CD Error correction capabilities.


4. DVD Error Correction

In the following tests we check the DVD reading capabilities of the SAMSUNG SH-W162L drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For our tests, we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media
ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch varying in dimensions from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

Apart from the jump upwards in speed just after the start, it is a fairly steady graph and reaches 16X reading speed at the end.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, the only difference being that there are no scratches on it. Instead, there are defective areas, ranging in dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

In this case, there are quite a number of speed jumps. The first this time round is a speed drop, and quite substantial just after the start, where the speed was reduced from 9X down to 3X. About half way through, there are several speed steps upwards, however no errors were reported and the process was finished successfully with the drive again reaching 16X.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is an 8.5GB dual layer single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches ranging dimensionally from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.

Scratches sized from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers, are not a problem for the SH-W162L drive.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a 8.5GBcapacity. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the former includes defective areas and fingerprints.

The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Smooth reading for both layers with 9X max speed.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which was designed to inspect and adjust DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals on DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive. It also includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Very good error correction capabilities, without any deviations in speed.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has al so 65 - 75 micro meter fingerprints.

Excellent reading by the Samsung drive. The artificially embedded dots and fingerprints did not present a problem for the drive's error correction mechanism.

- Summary

The SAMSUNG SH-W162L has a very strong error correction mechanism and it managed to read all of our discs successfully, without errors being reported.


5. Protected Discs

At this point we will check the drive's ability to read and backup protected CDs.

- AudioCD protection

For the test procedure, we used three audio discs with different audio copy protection schemes. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9 beta5.

The protected audio discs tested, were:

Audio Discs Protection
Celine Dion - New Day Has Come Sony's Key2Audio
Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island Cactus Data Shield 200
Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session causing problems to readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

- Recognition of the inserted disc (Yes/No).

- Ripping all wav files(with EAC's Burst Mode) to the hard disk through copy&compare function.

- Listening to the produced wav files to detect any possible click/skips.

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track in the CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, the drive recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Samsung SH-W162L Key2Audio CDS200
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks The drive could not rip the specific media.

The Samsung SH-W162L did not managed to read/rip Cactus Data Shield 200 AudioCD protection.

- Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a (Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter)

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors which create problems during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

Samsung SH-W162L CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors.

- Games Protections

To create the image of the various protected titles on the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, in accordance with the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.

SecuROM and PSX ripping present no problem for the Samsung drive although for PSX, it's ripping rate was around half that of the other two drives. With Safedisc protection, the Samsung drive was quite impressive especially considering the fact that the Plextor couldn't even rip the SafeDisc media, when after three hours, the overall progress was less than 1% completed.

- Writing Tests

The Samsung SH-W162L supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To check the drive's EFM correction status we used 2 different game titles with two different SafeDisc versions, having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (at maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.3105. Two different discs were recorded for each title; one with the "Rectify Sub-Channel Data" enabled and one with the function disabled.

- Quake 4 - Safedisc v4.6x

- Fifa 2004 - Safedisc v3.1x

Surprisingly enough, the Samsung SH-W162L succeeded in making a working back-up of Safedisc v3.1x, but failed to do the same with Safedisc v4.6x, since there is no drive to date that is able of bypassing this protection scheme.


6. CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 8X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 40X and 48X (CAV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the reported average speed when recording at 48X is 37.27X.

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart depicting all recording times with various media.

As the first of the above graphs indicates, not all inserted media were burned at the max 48X speed. Mmore media was burned at 40X in 3:04mins, while SKC media was burned at 32X in 3:19mins.

- Other features

According to Nero's CDSpeed and its overburning simulation test, the Samsung drive is capable of recording 101min on a CD. Note that this test is done with a 99min disc. No such overburning is possible on an 80min CD, while not many drives can write to 99min discs.

- CD-RW Format

The SH-W162L supports 16X (CLV), 24X (Z-CLV) and 32X (Z-CLV) rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 32x US-RW media by Mitsubishi Chemicals.

The drive, when recording at 32X, reported an average writing speed of 28.09X.


7. CD Writing Quality - Plextools
Untitled Document

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is the latest PleXTools Professional and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The Plextor PX-716A was used as the reader.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

MMore 80min 52X @ 40X

TY 80min 48X @ 40X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

- Summary

According to the above scans produced with Plextools Q-check, the reported C1 levels were low while only a few C2 values were reported as in the case with BenQ media. Overall, very good writing quality not forgetting that this is at 48X!


8. CD Writing Quality - Clover System
Untitled Document

The Clover System CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a high-speed tool to quantitatively measure the quality of a CD. It will analyze CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-R, Photo-CD, Enhanced CD and CD-RW discs at 4X, 8X, 24X, 32X or 40X speeds. It effectively measures disc quality by examining the quantity and severity of CIRC errors generated during playback. It also provides the capability to measure signal parameters related to pit geometry, such as asymmetry and reflectivity. When put together, all these facts provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover System Analyzers can also perform various format-checking tests on data discs, and do bit-for-bit data comparison on all types of CDs. All tests are carried out at a maximum speed of 40X.

CIRC error correction uses two principles to detect and correct errors. The first is redundancy (extra information is added, which gives an extra chance to read the disc), and the second is interleaving (data is distributed over a relatively large physical area). The CIRC error correction used in CD players uses two stages of error correction, the well known C1 and C2, with de-interleaving of the data between the stages.

The error type E11 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C1 stage. E21means two bad symbols were corrected in the C1 stage. E31 means that there were three or more bad symbols at the C1 stage. This block is uncorrectable at the C1 stage, and is passed to the C2 stage. Respectively, E12 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C2 stage and E22 means two bad symbols were corrected in the C2 stage. E32 means that there were three or more bad symbols in one block at the C2 stage, and therefore this error is not correctable.

BLER (Block Error Rate) is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors, at the input of the C1 decoder. Since this is the most general measurement of the quality of a disc, you will find BLER graphs for all media tested below. If you click on the images you can see a more detailed table, indicating error levels. The Red Book specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second averaged over ten seconds. Discs with higher BLER are likely to produce uncorrectable errors. Al low BLER shows that the system as a whole is performing well, and the pit geometry is good. However, BLER only tells us how many errors were generated per second, and it does not tell us anything about the severity of those errors.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

MMore 80min 52X @ 40X

TY 80min 48X @ 40X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

- Summary

Quite a different outcome to what we saw in the previous page with Plextools as far as writing quality is concerned. Only TY media managed to PASS the Clover Systems test. Traxdata media didn't fail by much, but the rest have too many errors.


9. DVD Writing Tests

- Writing Performance

Now we will check the burning performance with DVD media. Below, the available writing speeds can be seen, as reported by Nero Burning Rom.

By using Nero CDSpeed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 16X writing strategies.

- DVD+R media @ 16X CAV

- DVD-R media @ 16X CAV

- Burning Tests

DVD-R media

The Samsung SH-W162L burner's writing times were good, which managed to burn at 16X speed in less than 6 minutes for most of the media. Impressive is the time needed with the BenQ disc, only 5:36min. Traxdata and ProdiscF01 media are 16X certified but they were burned as 8X media and the Ridisc 8X disc took too long to burn. A new firmware release will hopefully fix this.

The compatibility list for 16X is good for the DVD+R, with the exception of BenQ media which reported a time closer to 12X recording. However, the 5:33min with Verbatim media is rather impressive.

- Comparison with other drives

There is not a lot to comment about here. The lower the better...

- DVD Overburning Tests

The Samsung SH-W162L failed to overburn DVD-R and DVD+R media.


10. DVD Writing Quality - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Plextor 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- BenQ 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- ProdiscR04 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- RiDisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Philips 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Ricoh 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- ProdiscR05 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Opto 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Traxdata 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

Excellent quality in almost all cases. Low error counts in Plextools and quite smooth reading graphs in CDSpeed, where some momentary speed drops were reported but not so important as to affect the overall, very good writing quality at 16X with DVD+R media.


11. DVD Writing Quality - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- CMC 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- That's 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Datawrite 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- BenQ 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Opto 8X DVD+R @ 8X

 

- Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 8X

 

- Summary

The quality is still good with DVD+R media when burning at 8X.


12. DVD Writing Quality - Page 3

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Opto 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- ProdiscF01 16X DVD-R @ 8X

- ProdiscS05 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Traxdata 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Philips 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

It seems that with DVD-R media at 16X, the scene is quite different. The reported error count and levels by Plextools were high in most cases and our LiteOn reader had problems with specific media, while in some cases, it failed to complete the reading process. We re-burned the discs that our LiteOn DVD-ROM failed to read, but still the same outcome. A new firmware release addressing this problem is a must.


13. DVD Writing Quality - Page 4

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Taiyo Yuden 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- RiDisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Bulkpaq 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Datawrite 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD-R @ 8X

 

- Summary

The performance with DVD-R media at 8X is average. Most media reported low quality results with the CDSpeed utility. Also, there were cases where the LiteOn failed to complete the reading process. Here too, we repeated the burning but again, the outcome was the same.


14. DVD Writing Quality - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

DVD+RW and DVD-RW Media

- Traxdata 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- MKM 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- MKM 8X DVD+RW @ 8X

- Summary

Even though all media were burned at their designated speeds, quality remains an issue here also. MKM +RW media, fared quite well, with a relatively good CDSpeed Scan. MKM-RW media was a similar story although the CDSpeed scan could have been better but, no errors were reported. Traxdata -RW media reported high PI and POE values and a messy CDSpeed scan.


15. DVD Writing Quality - Almedio

The AEC-1000 consists of a DVD Drive and the "ALChecker" error measurement application which can check the written data quality. The application is capable of 1X CLV measurement as well as 4X CLV on DVD-Video/ROM and finalized DVD+R/-R media.

There are three measurement modes:

- Fine Mode: checks a series of eight consecutive ECC blocks,

- Rough Mode: checks eight consecutive ECC blocks every 100h ECC blocks

- Quick Mode: checks three specified areas

The checking status is shown graphically in real time while you can save the error graph at the end of the test. The reported errors are the PI and the UncPO. The PI counts the number of rows corrected by the PI error correction in each group of eight consecutive ECC blocks. The UncPO counts the number of ECC blocks in which more than one bytes are uncorrectable in eight consecutive ECC blocks. For our quality scans, we set for 1X CLV and Fine Mode which is the slowest and produces the safest results. Also, we chose to measure all the media burned at the maximum available writing speed, namely 16X.

- Traxdata 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- RiDisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- ProdiscS05 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

According to the Almedio AEC-1000 error checker, the drive has good writing quality.


16. DVDR DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned a DVD+R DL and a DVD-R DL disc with data content. For this task we used "Create Data Disc" from Nero CDSpeed in order to fully burn the discs.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R DL 8X

The specific DL disc from Mitsubishi Chemicals is certified for 8X burning, one of the few if not the only one. According to the graph, the writing strategy is Z-CLV. The reported time of 19:13min is quite fast and is due to the fact that writing at 8X is done over the greater part of the disc's surface.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD-R DL 4X

This disc, according to the manufacturer, is certified for 4X recording, the speed that the Samsung SH-W162L drive burned it at. The writing strategy here is CLV.


17. DVDR DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

- MKM DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

- MKM DVD-R DL 4X @ 6X

 

The writing quality with DL media is good. The error levels in Plextools were within acceptable levels although the POE count is on the high side.


18. Booktype Setting

BookType setting is a "must" which all latest model burners released on the market today should be equipped with.

The drive, in the bundled version with Nero 6, has by default the BookType set to Automatic and can be changed to DVD-ROM. So we inserted DVD+R, DVD+R DL and DVD+RW media and changed the Booktype for each. In the case of DVD+RW media, we witnessed that the booktype change was not recognised on all drives. We also noticed that the bitsetting was only possible on brand new DVD+RW discs. If the disc had been previously used, the bitsetting could not be set, despite Nero reporting that the disc's booktype setting had indeed been changed to DVD-ROM.


19. LightScribe Feature

As mentioned earlier in this review, the Samsung SH-W162L, among other things, also features the LightScribe technology. We provide a brief run down of the basics of LightScribe before moving on to the drive's capabilities and performance regarding this feature.

-What is LightScribe?

With a view to replacing the "old" fashioned CD markers, the LightScribe technology is an integrated system that with the combination of three key elements, manages to produce "precise" as it is said, CD and DVD labels. These three elements are the Lightscribe enabled drive, the specially dye coated discs, and the specific supported software. Note, that the use of specific coated media is required and cannot be done with any ordinary printable media.

-How it works?

In layman's terms, the LS enabled drive, uses a laser that emits light energy onto the thin dye coating of the disc (the label side of the media) chemically changing it so that visible points appear on the disc. As the disc spins inside the drive, the light beam marks even more points on the dye, following the pattern given to the drives mechanism by the LS software mentioned previously. The result is a a precision image on the label side of the disc.

- Samsung SH-W162L LightScribe Drive

The process is quite easy, accomplished with the aid of a wizard that is integrated into the latest Nero releases, as well as in the bundled NERO OEM suite included in the retail package.

As soon as you press the LightScribe button, located on the top right of the Nero Burning ROM main screen, the wizard prompts you to select the image you want to "print" onto the disc media. You can scale the image, use fonts, and generally use common tools found with all CD labeling software. You then choose the preferred print quality (print time is dependent on the quality level, which ranges from draft to best) and you are ready to print. The package also contains the SureThing labeling software which will work flawlessly with the drive and labeling process.

Note that in order to print on the LS enabled media, you must put it in the tray upside down. This may seem a bit awkward, but that's the way it must be done.

Last step, we start printing the media. The printing process depends on the print quality selected and differs from drive to drive.

Our tests confirmed the quality - time ratio given by the manufacturer. For a best quality print, the time required was approx. 28mins.

The results of this test were quite good...

That's about it for the LightScribe capabilities of the SH-W162L. Now let's move on to the last page and the conclusion of the Samsung review.


20. Conclusion

Samsung's latest release, the SH-W162L burner is suitable for most of the every day back up needs. Speed, quality, and LightScribe technology are some of the handy features of the SH-W162L. In a few words, we would say that it is a good drive.

At the time of this review, the drive was flashed to the latest firmware from the manufacturer and no later version has become available.

Moving on to the transfer rate tests, the Samsung drive gave its best, managing to keep on par with the other two comparison drives ( the other two being two of the best drives on the market), with no significant speed differences when it came to CD media. But with DVD reading speeds, the Samsung stood in second position, behind the NEC. The SH-W162L is one of the few that also managed to read both of the 90/99min test discs.

In the error correction arena, the SH-W162L managed to successfully read all the defective media. DVD error correction was good while CD needs some improvement. Overall, a decent correction mechanism that could read most defective DVD media inserted.

When it comes to protected media, with audio protected CDs the drive did not manage to rip and successfully backup all the inserted audio media. Whereas the drive managed to rip all the protected games media inserted. The pleasant surprise here, is that the drive is capable of creating working backups of Safedisc protection up to v3.1.

48X CD writing speed is usually too high to expect good quality from. Despite this, the Samsung burner did well with the exception in performance of MMore and Traxdata media, where the Clover Systems utility reported many errors. However, we would still recommend burning at lower speeds for better and safer results.

The DVD writing quality seems to be much dependant on the format. The drive prefers DVD+R media which managed to burn with good quality. Things weren't quite as rosy with DVD-R and RW media, where the reported quality was barely average. We hope this issue can be fixed with the next firmware release. With DL media the reported writing quality was good.

When it comes to BookType, the drive has by default the BookType set to Automatic but can be changed to DVD-ROM using Nero 6 which is part of the included bundle package. There were some problems however, concerning DVD+RW media compatibility where the booktype setting change was not recognised by all drives, as well as with the media itself, which could be set to DVD-ROM only if the DVD+RW disc was brand new.

The LightScribe capabilities of the drive are as expected, with no changes in the procedure or the quality of the produced LightScribe media. At the "best" quality level, the drive can complete a "printing" on LS media in 29 mins. The process is easy enough, with a wizard to guide you through. For an extra touch, the bundled SureThing labeling software will do the trick.

- The Good

- LightScribe technology
- 4X DVD-R DL and 8X DVD+R DL support
- Very good DVD error correction capabilities
- Can burn DVD+RW media at 8X, and DVD-RW media at 6X
- Can completely read 90/99min Audio CD's
- Can overburn CD media up to 99mins
- Writing quality with DVD+R media
- Can create working backups of Safedisc v3.1x

- The Bad

- Writing quality with DVD-R media
- Doesn't fully support all audio protected discs
- Cannot create working backups with Safedisc protected games over v4.6x
- Cannot overburn DVD recordable media

- Like To be fixed

- Writing quality with specific media

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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