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Appeared on: Sunday, January 20, 2002
Samsung SW-224B CD-RW

1. Introduction

Samsung SW-224B IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction

has been another manufacturer that shipped many optical storage solutions in 2001. Even Samsung never really lead the writing race, its models were very popular among users due to their good features and the very low price. The Samsung SW-224B has to compete other manufacturers (Plextor, AOpen, TDK, LiteOn) in the 24x writing platform, so the specific proposal must be in the same level as the competition. We compare side to side the Samsung SW-224B with PleXWriter PX-W2410A, Yamaha CRW3200E and TEAC CD-W524E.

- Features

The drive supports 24x writing (Z-CLV) max speed among with "ExacLink" for preventing buffer underrun errors. The supported writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 20x, 24x (Z-CLV) and re-writing speeds 4x and 10 (CLV). The drive also includes 2MB of buffer and supports all available writing modes (TAO, SAO, DAO, Multisession and Packet Writing).

In order to achieve the 20x/24x CD-R writing speeds Samsung has chosen the Z-CLV writing technology. When a recorder uses the Zone CLV recording method, the CD is divided into 3 zones from the inner to the outer side of the CD, and within each these zones the recording speed varies but it's always constant (CLV). The recording process starts from the beginning of the disc in a constant speed in the first zone. After a pre-defined time (when the next zone starts) the recording speed automatically elevates to a higher speed. At the speed switching point, the anti-buffer underrun technology (in our case ExacLink) is used to assure the transition with no data loss or corruption.

Samsung starts writing at 16x from the lead-in area for 2 minutes, shifts up to 20x at 6mins, shifts up to 24x at 16mins and continues to write until the end of the disc at that speed. The drive's average writing speed is 22.76X making it equally fast as Plextor and LiteOn 24x drives. However real recording tests show slightly different results...

- The package

The tested drive was the retail European package. It included: the drive, a printed manual in 4 languages, 1 piece (24x certified) of Samsung 74min 24x CD-R blank, 1 piece of Samsung 74min 4-10x High-Speed RW Blank, audio and IDE cables and mounting screws. The attached software is Nero Burning ROM v5.5x OEM and Ahead InCD v2.3x (for packet writing use).

The front of the drive doesn't contain the SamSung logo, even the retail box showed the opposite. It does include though, the "High-Speed RW" and the "RW24-10-40" logo, that shows up the drive's features. You will also find only one small led, the eject button and the headphone input jack/volume selector. Both the led and the eject button are back lighted with a green color:

In the backside of the drive we will find the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for making the drive Master/Slave, the SPDIF output connector and the analog/digital output connectors:

- Installation

The Samsung SW-224B was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in PIO-Mode4 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "Samsung CD-R/RW SW-224B". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a November 2001 model with firmware revision vR2.00 installed. Samsung in the meanwhile released a new firmware update (R201) which installed and used mostly for the writing tests. We used the Nero (, InCD (3.19), CloneCD ( and Padus DJ (3.50.826) for the recording tests.

2. Data Tests

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Data Tests

Test Method

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x: This was used to compare the drive's  I/O performance against other various CDR-W drives (see charts). We used a pressed CD containing PlexTools v1.08 for all of the tests.
- Nero CD Speed v0.85b was also used to check the drive's performance with pressed CDs. For that test, we also used the PlexTools v1.08 pressed CD.

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results

The Samsung SW-224B is the slowest drive among the four tested recorders. The drive has the lowest "Average Sequential" mark with 4379Kb/s and performs very good at the "Average Random" test, due to low seek times.

- Pressed media: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

Using Nero CD Speed 0.85b, we confirmed the SCSI Mechanic results. The Samsung SW-224B is the slowest drive with only 30.19X average reading speed. The problem seems to be not the speed in the end, but the start reading speed . Samsung engineers could improve this. The PleXWriter PX-W2410A is still the fastest drive with 31.79X while Yamaha CRW3200E follows with 30.56X.  TEAC CD-W524E comes third with 30.42X.

In the "Seek Times" test; the Samsung SW-224B performed very good with only 85ms.  TEAC CD-W524E has the lowest seek times (77ms) and PleXWriter the highest (148ms). .

- CDR Media: (click here to see the CD Speed graph)

With CD-R media, AOpen CRW2440 manages to outperform all other drives and take the lead from PleXWriter PX-W2410A with 0.01X! Both drives start at 18.69X but the CRW2440 is faster by the end.

- HS-RW Media: (Click here to see the CD Speed graph)

For the RW tests, we used TDK's HS-RW media. The Samsung has the lowest average reading speed, with 18.76X:

3. CloneCD reading Tests
Samsung SW-224B IDE CDR-W - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v3.3.4.1) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading performance of AOpen CRW2440. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. For comparison reasons we added the results of the already tested Yamaha CRW3200E, PleXWriter PX-W2410A and TEAC CD-W524E. The following picture shows the drive's reading/writing capabilities:

- PSX pressed media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to HD with CloneCD. We measured the reading times and the Samsung SW-224B has the second best reading performance with 152secs:

- SafeDisc 1/2 results

The Samsung SW-224B has a very good performance, mostly with the pressed disc. The drive outperforms even PleXWriter with the original CD, but stays back when the backup media are used.

With SafeDisc v2.0 protected CDs, the Samsung SW-224B has very good performance with the pressed media, but again stays behind when backup media are used.

- LaserLock 1/2 results

In the LaserLock protected CDs test, the Samsung SW-224B gave the best performance with the original disc. The performance is good even when the backup media is used.

With LaserLock 2 LaserLock 2 protected CDs, the Samsung SW-224B has the lowest reading time with the original CD but stays at the last place, when backup media are used.

- SecuROM Results

The Samsung SW-224B can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks very fast! Of course cannot compete the Yamaha CRW3200E but it is  faster than TEAC/Plextor drives.

4. DAE Tests

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DAE Tests

- Test Method

We used CD DAE 99 v0.21 beta and EAC v0.9 prebeta 11 software in order to check the DAE performance of the drive with various AudioCDs (both pressed and CDR). The posted DAE results are the average of both applications, but the CPU usage was only taken from CD DAE 99, since EAC occupies the system a lot more. As a last note, we used the "BURST" reading mode of EAC. We made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The Average DAE reported speed along with the CPU Usage is displayed in the test graphs.

- DAE features

As the program reported, the drive does "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2 Error info".


- Pressed AudioCD results

The AOpen supports up to 32x DAE with both pressed and CDR media. The DAE ripping performance (23.6X) of Samsung is much lower than what the competition does offer:

- CDR AudioCD Results

The drive has the same performance as with pressed CDs. The average reading speed of 23.7X is considered low, since the competition shows increased reading speeds:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

After many viewer-requests we have added the EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Notice that for each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Yamaha CRW3200E
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
Samsung SW-224B

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Samsung SW-224B performed excellently at the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test. The drive produced 0 data/sync errors and got a perfect score (100). The drive can read "CD-Text" enabled AudioCDs, SubChannel data and from the lead-in area:

- Bad CDR Media results

Despite the fact that Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test stretches drive's mechanism to the max, we decided to do real life tests with a scratched disc. The disc was dirty, and with some light scratches, enough in order cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results were very interesting:

Average DAE Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Yamaha CRW3200E
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
Samsung SW-224B

As the tests showed,  Samsung SW-224B performed very good and gave 0 errors while reading our test disc.  TEAC CD-W524E has the same performance but reads the disc at almost full speed. Both Plextor and Yamaha 24x needs further improvement...

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs

The drive can read up to 98min without any problems.

- Reading Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 3 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with CD DAE) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony KeyAudio
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)
* CDR AudioCD protected with Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) - made with Clone Audio Protector v1.1 (adding 30 secs lead-out)

Samsung SW-224B
Cannot recognize the disc contents
Recognizes the audio tracks, ripping/reading impossible
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible

As the test results showed, the Samsung SW-224B is not prepared to handle any AudioCD protected disc.

5. CDR Tests
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CDR Tests - Page 1

The Samsung SW-224B supports 20x and 20x Z-CLV writing speeds. We used Nero CD Speed build-in writing test in order to test the drive's writing performance. The drive's average writing speed with 80min CD is 22.76X as Nero CD Speed writing test showed. Below is showed a table with the four tested drives and their average writing speed:

CDR-W drives
Average Writing Speed (X) with 80min CD
Yamaha CRW3200
PleXWriter PX-W2410A
Samsung SW-224B

From the above graph we can see that both recorders have the exact same recording speed shifts.

The Samsung SW-224B has the exact same rotation speeds as the PleXWriter PX-W2410A. However Samsung lowers the rotation speeds slight lower than the PlexWriter, which shows that the drive will not have the exact same recording speed as the PleXWriter.

- Procedure

We tested the AOpen CRW2440 with Nero v5.5.4.9, CloneCD v3.0.9.1 and Padus DJ v3.50.799 software. For the CDR tests we used: Verbatim 74min (16x) & 80min (16x), Taiyo Yuden 74 & 80min (24x), Mitsubishi Chemicals 74/80min 24x, Mitsui 74min (24 & 16x) and Ricoh/Verbatim/TDK 74min HS-RW media. The drive when using very low rated media (such as 4x/8x) will reduce maximum speed down to 16x:

- CD-R Tests

We created a "DataCD" with an amount of data slightly higher than 74mins (74:03:65). We burned the same data amount with all 4 CDR-W drives:

The Samsung SW-224B has the highest recording time at 16x writing speed with 314secs. However the time difference is very low (up to 4secs).

At the 20x Z-CLV writing speed, the SamSung has the second best writing time. The drive needs 265sec to end the task, while the PleXWriter PX-W2410A is the faster with 259secs.

At the maximum writing speed of 24x, the Samsung SW-224B has the highest recording time with 240secs. The Yamaha CRW3200E is the faster 24x recorder with 225secs, while PleXWriter PX-W2410A follows with 230secs. The TEAC CD-W524E follows with 236secs.

- 80min CDs

As with the previous test, we created a DataCD (80:01:47) and used the same media for all burns:

Again the Samsung SW-224B has the highest recording time at the 16x CLV speed, with 80min CDs. The drive needs 338secs, while the Yamaha CRW3200E needs only 333secs.

At the 20x writing speed, the Samsung SW-224B comes second with 282secs ,same with LiteOn LTR-24102B, and  AOpen CRW2440 comes last with 285secs.

With 80min CDs, at the 24x writing speed, the Samsung SW-224B gets the first place with 253sec. The Yamaha CRW3200E comes first with 240sec, while TEAC CD-W524E second (247sec) and PleXWriter PX-W2410A third (259sec).

6. Writing Quality Tests


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CDR Tests - Page 2

- Writing Quality tests

We used many media ,mostly 24x certified, and burned them at various recording speeds with LiteOn LTR-32123S. We used Nero as the CDR software. The produced CDs, were measured from DigitalDrives and results are illustrated in the following tables:

- 20x writing speed

Average Burning Time (mins)
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x)
Mitsui 74min (24x)
Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min (24x)
Mitsui 74min (16x)
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (24x)
Ricoh 80min (24x)
SKC 80min (16x)
Taiyo Yuden 80min (24x)

The Samsung SW-224B produces low C1 error rate at the 20x writing speed. For writing a fully 74min CD needs around 4:18mins and for a 80min 4:35mins.

- 24x writing speed

Average Burning Time (mins)
Taiyo Yuden 74min (24x)
Mitsui 74min (24x)
Mitsubishi Chemicals 74min (24x)
Creation 74min (16x)
Sanyo Digital 74min (16x)
Mitsui 74min (16x)
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min (24x)
Ritek 80min (24x)
Ricoh 80min (24x)
Taiyo Yuden 80min (24x)
Creation 80min (16x)
SKC 80min (16x)

The drive continues to produce low C1 error rate at the 24x writing speed. For writing a full 74min CD needs around 4:00mins and for an 80min CD 4:15mins.

- Overburning Tests

The Samsung SW-224B supports overburning up to 99minutes!

- CD-Text Results

We created several AudioCDs with CD-Text enabled. The SamSung can write/read CD-Text Audio CDs.

- CloneCD Tests

The CloneCD v3.3.4.1 reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW writing feature. The drive also support "Buffer Underrun Protecion" From our tests results DAO-RAW writing works without any problem for the SafeDisc 1/2, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 protections.

- SD2 Support:
For the SD2 tests we used the "No One Lives For Ever", "Emperor Battle for Dune" and "Max Payne" CD titles. We used the Samsung SW-224B both as reader/writer. The produced backups did worked in several readers we tested with, therefore the drive can produce SD2 working backups.

7. RW-Packet Writing Tests

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RW Writing Tests

We used Nero for writing CDs in maximum RW writing speed for all the tested drives in 10x HS-RW media. All drives support fully the HS-RW writing standard. The Samsung SW-224B performance was good and gets the third place with 485secs. It is interesting that the drive had a very low erase time (31secs).:

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.19/DirectCD v5.1 for the packet writing tests with a Mitsubishi Chemicals HS-RW media. The formatted disc had 534mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media using Windows Explorer (we dragged and dropped) and we completed the test twice to eliminate any possible time measurement faults and user errors:

The Samsung SW-224B didn't performed very well in  the packet writing tests. The drive's reading/writing performance are lower than the top. The drive had 6.84X when writing and 9.96X when reading.

8. Conclusion

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Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 24x writing speeds
- "ExacLink" anti-buffer underrun technology
- Can write most media at 24x writing speed
- Low C1 errors with almost all media
- Good PSX reading time
- Very good DAE quality with scratched CDs
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Good CloneCD reading performance
- Can backup SD2 protected CDs
- Supports reading/writing of SubChannel Data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports Ultra-DMA 33 connection interface
- Retail package includes Nero 5.5x
- Low Price ($80-90)
- Very low hoise while operating

- Reading/writing performance in lower than what competition offers
- Low packet writing performance
- Cannot read/rip protected AudioCDs

Samsung is one of the last few manufacturers that ships 24x writing CD-RW drive. The overall performance is not the best you can find in this category but it's not the worst either. The drive supports 24x writing, 10x re-writing and 40x reading. In addition includes "ExacLink", overburing up to 99minutes and backups accurately SD2 protected CDs.

Getting into details, the drive will not limit the maximum writing speed, and will burn them at 24x speed with low C1/C2 errors. The CloneCD reading performance is quite good and can read/write SubChannel data. We must also note the drive's overall noise-less operation.

On the dark side, the drive's overall reading/writing performance wasn't near the top and in most tests, the Samsung SW-224B got the last place. Of course the performance gap is not that big but users who wish the absolute reading/writing performance might look for an alternative solution.

The price of the drive is something that will please users. The price/performance mark of the drive is high enough to gain our "Safe Buy" award.

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