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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Monday, February 20, 2006
Samsung SH-W163A


1. Introduction

Samsung is a major manufacturer of storage devices in the optical storage industry. With SATA becoming increasingly popular, in the case of DVD burners however, there are not many currently available on the market. But now and then, a S-ATA device does get released to accommodate the ever increasing number of SATA users, providing among other things, faster transfer rates. Samsung's SH-W163A is such a device and supports all the basic features.

So let's start by taking a look at the drive's main features.

- Drive Features

The drive's features as supplied by Samsung.

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.
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-W163A
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)
US-RW 32X (4.8MB/sec) 40X (6.0MB/sec)
HS-RW 10X (1.5MB/sec) 40X (6.0MB/sec)
CD-RW 4X (0.6MB/sec) 40X (6.0MB/sec)
Interface S-ATA
Burst Transfer Rate S-ATA 1.5Gbps
Average Seek Time DVD : 130ms
CD : 110ms
Supported Disc DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, CD-Audio, Video-CD, Photo CD, CD-I(FMV), CD-Extra, CD-TEXT
Dimensions
(WxHxD)

148.2x 42x 184
Weight (Kg) 0.74
Buffer Memory 2MB

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

- Nero InfoTool

- DVD InfoPro

- VSO Inspector

- Retail Package

The Retail package includes:

-The Drive

Typical design, very much like all the latest releases from Samsung.

On the rear panel one can clearly discern the S-ATA inputs for the power and connection cables.

We removed the cover to take a closer look inside the drive. Removing the cover renders the warranty void, so we strongly advise against it. Instead, click on the image below for a larger, more detailed view of the drive.

The drive uses the Mediatek chipset, which is widely used in LiteOn drives.

- Installation

The drive was installed under WindowsXP and was recognized as "TSSTcorp CD/DVDW SH-W163A". The drive came with firmware revision TS00 which at the time of the review was the latest available firmware.

Throughout this review, we will be comparing the Samsung device with two other latest release drives, the LiteOn 165P6S and BenQ DW-1655.


2. Reading Tests

- CD Format

The Samsung SH-W163A, supports up to 48X reading speed for CD media, while it can read up to 32X USRW media. The following graphs, indicate the starting, average and end reading speeds the drive managed to achieve with the two different CD media types, as well as the respective reading speeds of the comparison drives.

With Pressed CD media, all three drives reported more or less the same reading speeds, as all three drives support up to 48X with this kind of media. With USRW media, the Samsung and BenQ drives managed to reach up to 40X reading speed, while the LiteOn was left behind, since its maximum supported reading speed for this media is 32X.

- AudioCD

For these tests, we used a pressed AudioCD and the Advanced DAE CDSpeed feature.

The average DAE speed reported with the Samsung drive is 30.84X. As reported by the NeroCDSpeed Advance DAE quality test, the quality score for all drives was 100 , while the average speed reported for the Samsung drive was 29.09X. The drive can read CD Text and Subchannel Data, while it cannot read Leadin and Leadout data.

- 90mins Audio disc

- 99mins Audio disc

The drive can flawlessly read both 90 and 99min audio discs.

- DVD Format

We repeated the reading tests, this time using a collection of pressed SL and DL DVD media to test the drive's reading capabilities with DVD media and we post the results below.

All three drives support up to 16X reading speed with Pressed SL media, hence the speed differences are negligible.

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 the outer range, for each layer. The reviewed drive supports up to 8X with this kind of media, hence its position in this comparison, where the BenQ drive came first, thanks to its supported 12X max reading speed with DL media.

The graph shown above indicates the reading performance of the drive with OTP dual layer media. 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 difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of 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. Again, we have 8X max reading speed with DL media for the Samsung drive.

With both write-once and rewritable media, the BenQ drive was fastest. Again, the supported max reading speeds play a major role, with the Samsung supporting 12X max for -R/+R and 8X max for -RW/+RW media.

Good ripping speed reported, although lots of faster rippers are available on the market.

Overall good reading capabilities, although higher reading speeds with DL and RW media would be welcomed.

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction
In the following tests, we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defective discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total Num: 951004
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 50538 Avg: -73.8 dB(A) Max: -36.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 3072 Avg: 1.0 Samples Max: 8 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 99.7 %

With a low total error count, no skipped samples and low muting samples count, the drive's error correction mechanism seems to be up to the task in this CD error correction test.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total Num: 00
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 0 Avg: 0 Max: 0
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 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 100 %

With 100 points total, we have a flawless reading of this error correction test disc.

- 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 ability to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level -1 through Check Level -5.

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

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Samsung SH-W163
5/5
5/5
4/5
0/5
0/5

The drive passed only the first three Check Levels of the test (actually, only the first two with 4 out of 5 in the 5th). The results indicate average performance with the specific test disc. The fourth and the fifth levels include an error size of 1.125mm and 1.500mm respectively, and the drive produced continuous, audible clicks over those tracks.


4. DVD Error Correction

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the LiteOn SHW-1635S drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the 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 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

As we can see from the above graph, the drive managed to read all the way to the end of the test, without any drops in speed, although the max reading speed was not achieved, with the drive reaching only as high as 8X.

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, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

In this case, the max reading speed achieved was 16X with flawless reading once more. The drive's mechanism did not have any trouble reading both defective areas, producing a smooth speed graph.

- Dual Layer media
ABEX TDR-841

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

Both layers were read without any errors and a max reading speed of over 8X.

ABEX TDR-845

This test disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 discs is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas ranges from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

Last graph and the most difficult task for the drive's reading mechanism, as each layer contains two defective areas which the drive has to read over. In both layers, the error correction mechanism made quick work of the defects, reaching a max reading speed of 8X and with no errors or speed drops.

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 is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

click to enlarge!

Job well done with the 541 test media. Max speed reported was 8X and a smooth graph was produced.

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 also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

/Tests/DVD/545.png" target="_blank">click to enlarge!

Same performance as the previous test disc, with perhaps in this case, a much smoother graph. Excellent reading.

- Conclusion

All the above tests indicate very good DVD error correction capabilities, even though the max reading speed was not achieved in all cases.


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

- AudioCD protections

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. 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-W163A Key2Audio CDS200
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks. Cannot rip or playback the contents of this disc

Unfortunately, the drive seems to have some problems with the CDS protection scheme.

- 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-W163A CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Cannot rip or playback the contents of this disc

- Games Protections

To create the image of the various protected titles in 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.

Good ripping times with all inserted media. The reviewed drive managed to rip the SafeDisc protected media in 7:00mins. Quite good performance as most drives achieve a full rip in around 2:30 hours.

- Writing Tests

The Samsung SH-W163A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To check the drive's EFM correction status we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 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 v4.6

- Fifa 2004 - SafeDisc v3.1x

The drive managed to create working backups of the Fifa 2004 - SafeDisc v3.1x.


6. CD Recording Tests
The Samsung SH-W163A supports up to 48X writing speed with CD media and 32X max speed with US-RW media.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive confirmed the maximum 48X speed. The test started at 21.83X and finished at 48.27X, having an average speed of 37.21X. Click on the image below for an enlarged view.

click to enlarge!

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, recording the data on several 700MB discs. The drive needed only 2:53 minutes to complete this task at the maximum 48X writing speed.

In the following graph, we can see the recording times the Samsung SH-W163A needed with various CD-R media inserted.

The Samsung SH-W163A supports 32X Z-CLV rewriting speed with Ultra Speed ReWritable media (US-RW).

Below, is the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 32X US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

click to enlarge!

The drive starts the writing task at 16.01X and reaches a maximum of 32.04X, with an average speed of 28.04X. Even though the drive's specifications indicate PCAV writing strategy for the specific media, the reviewed drive used Z-CLV for this specific media.

- Overburning Test

The drive supports overburning up to 99mins.


7. CD Writing Quality - Plextools
We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the maximum supported writing speed of 48X. The software we used is PleXTools Professional v2.31, and more specifically the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-716A (firmware v1.09).

- Summary

According to Plextools, the drive produced average to good burns but with some media reporting high C2 error values. It will be interesting to compare these results with those of the Clover Systems CDX quality check test.


8. CD Writing Quality - Clover System
Untitled Document

The Clover Systems 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 speed. 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. Together, all these bits of information provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover Systems 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 the 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.

- Summary

According to the CDX Clover Systems Quality check, the drive managed to pass two out of five as good quality burns. MMore and Verbatim media earned the pass mark, with zero E32 error counts, while the other three tested media produced high error counts.


9. DVD Writing Tests
- Writing Performance

The maximum supported speed is 16X CAV for both DVD+R and DVD-R formats. For DVD+RW, the speed is 8X while for DVD-RW, 6X CLV.

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the writing strategy of the drive for both formats at 16X burning speed.

click to enlarge!

The test started at 6.76X, reached a maximum writing speed of 16X and reported an average speed of 11.83X. WOPC is activated.

The drive completed successful DVD writing at 16X in 5:45mins. The test started at 6.67X, reached a maximum writing speed of 16.07X and reported an average speed of 11.72X.

- Burning Tests

We burned a variety of DVD-R media of 16X and 8X enabled. Almost all media were burned at their named speeds. Prodisc F02 media was burned at 8X, since the drive's current firmware supports this media at 8X. Ridisc 8X media was burned at 8X but reported a burn time of 14:00 mins, which is closer to a 4X burn rather than 8X. Same performance was reported with Optodisc 8X media too.

Optodisc 16X and Prodisc R05 16X media were burned at 8X, were the rest of the media were burned at their specified speeds. Fastest burn came with Prodisc and Verbatim 16X media, burned in 5:32mins.

- Comparison with other drives

With marginal speed differences, the Samsung drive is the fastest burner among the three comparison drives.

Once more, the speed difference between the drives is negligible. With +RW media, the reviewed drive was slowest, while with -RW media, it produced the fastest burn time. It was faster with both -R and +R media.

- DVD Overburning Test

Unfortunately, the drive does not support the overburning feature.


10. DVD Writing Quality - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers 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 overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

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

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- BenQ 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Philips 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Plextor 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Prodisc 16X (R04) DVD+R @ 8X

- Prodisc(R05) 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Ricoh 16X DVD+R @ 16X

.

- Ridisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Traxdata 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Summary

Both Plextools Pro and CD-Speed Qcheck utilities agree on the reported quality of the +R 16X burned media. Rather good quality burns with all media, including those that were burned at a lower speed than their specified. Best burn with Verbatim 16X, burned at 16X speed.


11. DVD Writing Quality - Page 2
In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

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 overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

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

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- BenQ 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

-Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- TY 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

At 8X burning speed, the results are not that satisfactory as they were with 16X effective media. In more than one case, the PI-PO values were high, above the limits and the CDspeed reading graph for BenQ media was far from smooth. The playability of all discs though, even at 16X reading speed, seems to present no problems.


12. DVD Writing Quality - Page 3
In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

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 overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

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

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Philips 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Prodisc(F02) 16X DVD-R @ 8X

- Prodisc(S05) 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Traxdata 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

In this case, Plextools and CD-Speed differ in their evaluation. According to Plextools, most burns are of good quality, while CD Speed reports bad quality burns with lots of defective areas. With 16X certified DVD-R, the writing quality depends to a great degree on the media.


13. DVD Writing Quality - Page 4
In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers with two software applications:

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 overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

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

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- BenQ 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Datawrite 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Prodisc(F01) 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc(Red) 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Traxdata 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- TY 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Summary

Last up is DVD-R SL media at 8X. According to Plextools and CD Speed, the reported quality indicates a good burner, with some exceptions, where the PO values exceed the acceptable limit.


14. DVD Writing Quality - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are used two readers 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 overspeed the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

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

6X, 8X ±RW Writing Speed

- Summary

Unfortunately, the quality with ReWritable media is far from satisfactory, with all tested media. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in a future firmware release.


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:

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. In the case of PI, it counts the number of rows corrected by the PI error correction in each group of eight consecutive ECC blocks. In the case of UncPO, it counts the number of ECC blocks in which more than one byte is uncorrectable in eight consecutive ECC blocks. For our quality scans, we set for 1X CLV and Fine Mode which is the slowest and with the safest results. Also, we chose to measure all the media burned at the maximum available writing speed, namely 16X.

- BenQ 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Prodisc F02 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Traxdata 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Traxdata 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Verbatim 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Ricoh 16X DVD+R @ 16X

We tested a variety of burned media, both 8X and 16X. As the graphs indicate, most of the tested media were found to be of good burn quality, although we were a bit surprised to see that the drive couldn't give a good burn with Verbatim media. Note here, that the drive seems to favor +R format media, as was evident in the previous pages.


16. DVDR DL - Page 1

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

Traxdata DVD+R DL 2.4X @ 2.4X

Using CLV writing strategy, the burn started at 2.45X, reached a max speed of 2.45X and reported an average speed of 2.45X. Writing ended after 43:41mins.

Verbatim DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

Using Z-CLV writing strategy, the burn started at 4.00X, with a max speed of 8.02, and reporting an average speed of 6.35X. Writing ended after 19:10mins.

Verbatim DVD-R DL 4X @ 4X

The test started at 3.81X and maxed out at 3.94X with an average speed of 3.90X, completing the burn in 28:49mins.


17. DVDR DL - Page 2

In order to check the Samsung SH-W163A's DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-716A drives, to scan the burned media.

Traxdata DVD+R DL 2.4X @ 2.4X

Even though according to Plextools, the reported quality is not that bad, CD-Speed reports bad quality, were in the layer change, quite a few drops of speed are present.

Verbatim DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

Same performance with the Traxdata media. Once more, according to Plextools, the quality is good, were CD-Speed results differ.

Verbatim DVD-R DL 4X @ 4X

Same results as with the other two DL media.

- Summary

Average to bad quality with all media. Once more, a firmware upgrade addressing these issues would be most welcome.


18. Booktype Setting

The Bitsetting feature allows the user to change all inserted DVD plus media to DVD-ROM to maximize compatibility with stand alone players. The Samsung SH-W163A is a Bitsetting enabled drive and all inserted media's booktype was changed to DVD-ROM through the automatic feature while burning with Nero. Hence, DVD+R, +RW, +R DL were all changed to DVD-ROM after burning.

To confirm the booktype change, we tested the drive with a Ridisc +R 8X blank media...

After burning the media with Nero Burning Rom, we checked the media's Booktype with the Nero CD-DVD Speed utility. The Booktype had been successfully changed to DVD-ROM.

- Magic Speed

The Magic Speed Utility enables the user to set the reading speed of the drive to either of two modes - High speed and Silence mode. High speed enables reading as far up as 16X, while the latter supports up to 4X reading speed as well as a more silent functioning of the drive. The procedure is quite easy and requires all of "two mouse clicks" to get you there.

Selecting the drive and checking silence mode, we press "Set" to get the work done.

Nero DriveSpeed Utility confirms the speed changes. We inserted a DVD-ROM disc to check the speed and we got the following...

And back to High Speed mode...

an easy to use and useful feature of the Samsung drive..

Again, with the same media, we ran the Nero DriveSpeed Utility to confirm the changes.

That covers the expert features for the Samsung drive. Now let us move on to the last page, the conclusion.


19. Conclusion
S-ATA drives are not that common in the DVD-REC market. Very few brands are released each year, and those mainly from Plextor and Samsung. The SH-W163A is one of those. A SATA interface drive, the Samsung SH-W163A is a 16X±R DVD recorder, a 8X +R DL and 4X -R DL burner as well as a fast reader and writer. This solution would please all SATA interface enthusiasts with its reading capabilities fro both the DVD and CD formats, even though the drive does not support all the highest available writing speeds with all formats.

As a CD reader, the drive stands well near the fastest readers, with quite a good reading speed for all CD formats (CD and CDRW media). The drive also managed to read both 90/99mins audio CDs without errors. With DVD media, the drive reported some good results, being able to read all the way up to 16X for pressed SL media and 8X for pressed DL media. With Write Once and Re-Writable media, the drive managed to achieve good reading speeds, being able to read all the way up to 12X and 8X for each format respectively. Not the highest speeds a drive can manage, but good nevertheless. Concluding the reading capabilities, the drive managed to rip the inserted DVD-Video media at a speed of 6.4X, average performance for any DVD-Rec device.

In the DVD Error Correction arena, the SH-W163A can be described as an average reader as far as CD media are concerned and a good reader with DVD media. As seen during our tests in the previous pages, the drive had few problems reading the 721 CD test disc, reporting an outcome of 76.8 points out of 100. The drive disappointed in the CD-Check Audio test where it didn't clear the 3rd track. On the good side, the DVD error correction mechanism, even if it was a bit slow in comparison to other devices, managed to achieve great results, reading all inserted media, even the 541 and 545 media flawlessly, producing smooth graphs all the way to the end of the reading. And that covers the Error Correction mechanism of the drive.

Despite the fact that our protected audio CDs are a few years old, quite a few drives still fail to successfully create backups. The Samsung drive failed to rip and successfully backup our CDS protected media. Unfortunately, during the ripping process, the drive reported timing problems and the outcome was ripped tracks which produced no sound. Bad performance in this area. As for Protected Games, the drive managed to make quick work of all inserted games, with 30mins rip time for the SafeDisc game, which can be described as a good performance if we were to compare it to some other, latest release drives.

As far as writing quality is concerned, the drive has lots to offer, if the user chooses the right media. The drive's mechanism seems to favour DVD+R media, as seen in the previous pages where the results are better with +R media than with -R. So, writing quality is dependent on the inserted media. With Re-Writable media, the results were not satisfactory for either of the two formats, a performance we also encountered while using DL media. We would like to see future firmware upgrades address this issue.

That covers the review of the SH-W163A S-ATA drive released by Samsung. We hope to see some firmware improvements, especially in the media list and writing quality, since S-ATA drives are not that common at the moment, so good support for what is available would be most welcome.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed

 

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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