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Appeared on: Monday, April 29, 2002
Samsung SW-232B


1. Introduction

Samsung SW-232B 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-232B has to compete other manufacturers (Ricoh, AOpen, CyberDrive, LiteOn) in the 32x writing platform.. We compare the Samsung SW-224B with Ricoh MP7320A, AOpen CRW3248, CyberDrive CW-058D and LiteOn LTR-32123S.

- Features

The drive supports 32x writing (Z-CLV) max speed among with "JustLink" and "JustSpeed" technologies. As it seems Samsung changed chipsets for the SW-224B model (OAK Technologies) to Ricoh's. The supported writing speeds are 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x (CLV), 24x, 32x (Z-CLV) and re-writing speeds 4x and 10 (CLV). The drive also includes 8MB of buffer and supports all available writing modes (TAO, SAO, DAO, Multisession and Packet Writing). There is no support for Mt. Rainier format. Samsung said that this will adopted in the upcoming SW-240B model.

In order to achieve the 32x 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 JustLink) 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 14mins, shifts up to 28x and continues to write until the end of the disc at that speed. With all used media, we didn't achieved to get a graph with the 32x writing speed upon. The drive's average writing speed is 25.51X for 28x recording. Also the actual recording speeds, showed a rather slow performance for the drive. Maybe with future updates, more media will be supported to adopt 32x recording speed.

- The package

The tested drive was the retail European package and included: the drive, a printed manual in 4 languages, 1 piece (32x certified) of Samsung 74min 32x 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 v3.24 (for packet writing use).

The front of the drive includes the "Samsung", "High-Speed RW" and the "RW32-10-40" logos, 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-232B was installed as a Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA2 mode and after booting, identified itself as the "Samsung CD-R/RW SW-232B". Under WinXP, DMA was activated automatically.

The drive was a April 2002 model with firmware revision vR3.00 installed. We used the Nero (5.5.8.0), InCD (3.24.3) and CloneCD (3.3.4.1) for the recording tests.


2. Data Tests

Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 2

Data Tests

- SCSI Mechanic v3.0x results

The Samsung SW-232B is the slowest drive among the four tested recorders. The drive has the lowest "Average Sequential" mark with 4567Kb/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 0.85e, we confirmed the SCSI Mechanic results. The Samsung SW-232B is the slowest drive with only 31.25X average reading speed. The problem seems to be not the starting but ending reading speed . Aopen CRW3248 is the fastest reader in this test with 37.31x average reading speed.

In the "Seek Times" test; the Samsung SW-232B performed very good with only 86ms in the random seek test.

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

With CD-R media, the Samsung finished the reading test in a higher speed than in the pressed CD test, and the average reading speed is slightly improved to 31.97x. The performance is not the best in the test and is almost similar to Ricoh's MP7320A.

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

For the RW tests, we used Ricoh HS-RW media. The Samsung has the lowest average reading speed, with 25.31X:


3. CloneCD Reading Tests
Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 3

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v4.0.0.0 beta 30) and 5 original CDs - Euro 2000 (SafeDisc 1), No One Lives For Ever / Serious Sam (SafeDisc 2), Rally Masters (LaserLock 1), Desperados (LaserLock 2) and V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) - in order to test the reading time of the drive. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. 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-232B gets the fourth position with 280secs:

- SafeDisc v.2 results

With SafeDisc v2.0 protected CDs, the Samsung SW-232B has a good performance and finished the task in less than 10 minutes.

- LaserLock 1/2 results

In the LaserLock v.1 protected CDs test, the Samsung SW-232B gave a very low performance with the original disc. The results are better with the backup disc, and the drive finished the task in 8 minutes.

Samsung SW-232B was extremely slow in the LaserLock v.2 test and took 2 hours to finish the original disc test.

- SecuROM Results

Samsung SW-232B can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks fast. The drive gets the second position behind the slightly faster LiteOn LTR-32123S.


4. DAE Tests

Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 4

DAE Tests

- Test Method

We used CD DAE 99 v0.3 beta and EAC v0.9 beta 2 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. We made a full CD Rip starting from the first to the last track of the CD. The Average DAE reported speeds are displayed in the test graphs.

- DAE features

As the program reported, the drive does not "Caching" of data, supports "Accurate Stream" and "C2 Error info".

 

- Pressed AudioCD results

The Samsung drive supports up to 32x DAE with both pressed and CDR media. The actual average DAE ripping performance (23.5X) is much lower than what the competition offers:

- CDR AudioCD Results

The drive has the same performance as with pressed CDs. The average reading speed of 23.6X is considered low, since the competition shows increased ripping 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)
Pressed
CDR
Samsung SW-232B
9.2
9.3
LiteOn LTR-32123S
4.4
5.0
AOpen CRW3248
20.1
20.3
CyberDrive CW-058D
11.2
11.3
Ricoh MP7320A
7.3
7.4

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Samsung SW-232B 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" AudioCDs and SubChannel data info.

- 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 Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Samsung SW-232B
8.4
67189
0.01
LiteOn LTR-32123S
14.4
906044
0.12
AOpen CRW3248
8.4
313
0
CyberDrive CW058D
27.2
17617
0
Ricoh MP7320A
13.3
50892
0.01

As the tests showed,  Samsung SW-232B gave 67189 read errors while reading our test disc.  The amount of errors is the 0.01% of the total data and the average ripping speed is 8.4x. The performance can be considered as good, since only LiteOn LTR-32123S gave a worst result.

- CD-Check Audio Test

Digital Recordings CD-CHECK is a compact disc which allows evaluation of the CD player's "error correction headroom" (i.e. player's ability to correct data errors) and "tracking" (i.e. player's ability to stay on track despite of disc surface or other errors). CD-CHECK uses special digital signals in combination with disc error patterns arranged over five tracks. The five tracks contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests referred to as Check Level-1 to Check Level-5. The higher the Check Level passed the more reliable the sound reproduction of the CD player. A smooth, continuous tone of 20-seconds indicates the player passes that Check Level. Any clicks, interruptions, skipping or looping indicates failure of a Check Level.

CD-CHECK error sizes
Check Level-1
standard manufacturing errors
Check Level-2
0.375 mm
Check Level-3
0.750 mm
Check Level-4
1.125 mm
Check Level-5
1.500 mm

We tested the Samsung SW-232B with the following procedure: We used WinXP Windows Media Player to playback the disc, and using headphones we listened all tracks. A continuous tone of 20 seconds plays in each track. If the drive playbacks without an audible pop or click occurring during playback of the tone it passes the check level. The tests are repeated five times. A result of 5/5 indicates that no pops or clicks were heard in 5 out of 5 playbacks of a particular track. A result of 0/5 means pops or clicks occurred during all 5 playbacks of a particular track. Digital Recordings provides the following interpretation of results:

· Level-1 Pass: Player meets minimum requirements
· Level-2 Pass: Average error correction
· Level-3 Pass: Good error correction
· Level-4 Pass: Very good error correction
· Level-5 Pass: Excellent error correction

- Test Results
Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Samsung SW-232B
5/5
4/5
0/5
0/5
0/5

The drive did not manage to completely fulfill the 2nd level error correction requirements, and failed to successfully playback (no audible pops or clicks) the other level tones.

- Ripping 90 and 99min CDs

The drive can read up to 99min 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 Key2Audio
* 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)

Key2Audio
CDS200
CDS100
EAC
Samsung SW-232B
Cannot recognize disc contents
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible
AOpen CRW3248
Cannot recognize disc contents
Rips entire disc without problems
CyberDrive CW058D
Rips entire disc without problems
Rips entire disc without problems
LiteOn LTR-32123S
Cannot recognize disc contents
Recognizes tracks, cannot rip
Ricoh MP7320A
Cannot recognize disc contents
Cannot recognize disc contents

As the test results showed, the Samsung SW-232B is not prepared to handle any AudioCD protected disc.


5. CDR Tests
Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 5

CDR Tests

- 74min CDs

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:

Samsung SW-232B gave the same writing time result with Ricoh MP7320A (316 sec). This performance was measured with the "JustSpeed" option off.

At the 24x Z-CLV writing speed, the Samsung finished in 3:54. This is the best result we got in the 24x writing test and comes with Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x media (JustSpeed Off).

At the maximum writing speed of 32x, the Samsung SW-232B finished writing in 208secs. This result also came with Taiyo Yuden 74min 24x media (JustSpeed Off). In the same test, CyberDrive is 5 seconds faster.

We were also surprised when we experienced a "coaster" with at the maximum writing speed with the "JustSpeed" option disabled.

- 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-232B has the highest recording time at the 16x CLV speed, with 80min CDs. The drive needs 339secs, while the CyberDrive CW-058D needs only 324secs.

At the 24x writing test, the Samsung SW-232B comes third with 248secs.

In the 32x writing speed, the Samsung SW-232B finished writing in 221 seconds, close to the competition.

- Other features

Overburning Writing
Up to 99mins
CD-Text (Read/Write)
Yes/Yes
8cm CDs
Yes

- CloneCD Writing Tests

CloneCD v4.0.0.0 beta 30 reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature. We performed our usual tests and we confirmed that both drives support the DAO-RAW writing mode at the following CD protections: SafeDisc 1, LaserLock 1/2 and SecuROM 2 CD protections.

- SD2 Support

For the SD2 test we used the "Emperor: Battle for Dune", "Max Payne", "Serious Sam - The Second Encounter" and "Medal of Honour Allied Assault" game titles. We used the drive both as reader/writer at the maximum reading/recording speed. The produced backups didn't worked with various readers. Howver using "Amplify Weak Sectors" setting of latest CloneCD v4.x series can overpass it...


6. Writing Quality Tests

Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 6

Writing Quality Tests

We used many media and burned them at various recording speeds with Samsung SW-232B. We used Nero 5.5.8.0 as the CDR software. The produced CDs were measured by DigitalDrives and the results are illustrated in the following tables:

- 32x writing speed

Brand
C1
Average Burning Time (mins)
Max
Average
Taiyo Yuden 74min 32x (JustSpeed On)
12
0.3
3:35
Taiyo Yuden 74min 32x (JustSpeed Off)
13
0.4
3:28
Mitsui 74min 24x (JustSpeed on)
3418
268.3
3:57
Mitsui 74min 24x (JustSpeed off)
4361
1381.7
3:52
Mitsui 74min 16x (JustSpeed on)
897
62.8
3:59
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed On)
95
9.1
3:45
Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off)
172
11.5
3:41
Samsung 80min 32x( JustSpeed on)
24

1.9

3:55
Mitsui 80min 32x (JustSpeed on)
20
0.3
3:43
Mitsui 80min 32x (JustSpeed off)
25
0.5
3:35
Intenso 80min 32x (JustSpeed on)
24
1.8
3:43
Intenso 80min 32x (JustSpeed off)
25
1.9
3:35
Ricoh 80min 24x (JustSpeed On)
22
0.8
4:17
Ricoh 80min 24x (JustSpeed Off)
23
2.0
4:07

Samsung SW-232B showed a mixed behaviour with CD-R media, The drive worked best with Mitsui 80min 32x and with Taiyo Yuden 74min 32x certified media. The C1 error rate with that media is low but...with other media will produce high error rate.

With some media, (Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x) there seems to be a problem within the 25-35minutes, where the drive produces high C1 error rate. This was noticed either with JustSpeed On/Off.


7. RW Writing Tests

Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 7

RW Writing Tests

We used Nero 5.5.8.0 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-232B performance was low with 486secs. It is interesting that the drive had a low erase time (28secs):

- Packet Writing Tests

We used Ahead InCD v3.24.3 for the packet writing tests with Ricoh 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 perform very well in  the packet writing tests. The drive had 6.9X when writing and 16.5X when reading.


8. Conclusion

Samsung SW-232B IDE CDR-W - Page 8

Conclusion

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 32x writing speed
- 8MB buffer
-"JustLink" anti-buffer underrun technology
-"JustSpeed" technology
- Low seek times
- Supports DAO-RAW
- Supports reading/writing of SubChannel Data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Supports Overburning (up to 99mins)
- Supports 90/99min CDs
- Retail package includes Nero 5.5x

- Reading/writing performance in lower than what competition offers
- Low writing quality with specific media
- Lower HS-RW reading speed than competition
- Lower DAE speed than competition
- Poor error correction capabilities
- Cannot read/rip protected AudioCDs
- Low CloneCD reading performance
- Cannot backup SD2 protected CDs
- Price ($127)

Samsung SW-232B supports 32x CD-R writing, 10x rewriting and 40x reading speeds. The drive is equipped with a 8MB buffer and features the "JustLink" and "JustSpeed" technologies. The CD-R reading performance of the drive is not low but the competition is high and sets the limits. However, in the same test we saw that the seek times of the drive are low. The HS-RW reading test showed that Samsung SW-232B couldn't read faster than 26x. CloneCD users would not be pleased with the Samsung drive, since the drive is slow and cannot handle the SD v.2 protected CDs.

Overburning up to 99min is allowed and 90/99min CDs can be read/written. CD text option for audio CDs is also available. The weakness of the drive is the limited DAE speed and the poor error correction capabilities. Samsung SW-232B did not pass more than the first two levels in the CD-CHECK quality extraction test. This result was also confirmed in the "bad media" rip test. Last, the audio protected CDs cannot be handled by the Samsung drive.

During the CD-R writing tests, we saw that the "JustSpeed" feature does not allow writing at maximum speed even with 32x certified media. Also the recording times were higher than the competition and sometimes even higher with specific media. The produced writing quality was generally high, except from two cases where the drive produced higher C1 error rates. This occurred when we burned Mitsui 74min 24x (JustSpeed On/Off) and Taiyo Yuden 80min 32x (JustSpeed Off).

Samsung SW-232B is not the fastest drive you can find in the category and the available prices are around $130 - not the cheaper you can find around. Future firmware upgrades are expected to improve the overall performance.



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