Specifications according to Samsung:
- Maximum write speeds of 16X CLV
- Maximum rewrite speeds of 10X CLV
- Packet-writing speeds of 10X CLV
- CD read speeds of 32X CAV
- Digital audio extraction speeds not specified
- 2048 KB buffer
- 120 ms average random access time
- ATAPI/DMA-2 interface
- JustLink buffer underrun protection
- JustSpeed write speed control
- 15-month Warranty
Notice the 15-month warranty. Nearly all optical drive manufacturers warrant their products for no more than 12 months. Samsung's additional 3 months of coverage is a nice extra.
The SW-216B supports JustLink and JustSpeed, technologies developed by Ricoh. JustLink is a buffer underrun protection technology similar to BURN-Proof. JustSpeed is a technology that automatically sets the highest safe recording speed based on a number of factors: First, the drive checks in the media's ATIP (Advanced Time In Pregroove) area to get information embedded there by the media manufacturer. Second, a write test is performed in the OPC (optimum power calibration) area. Finally, the drive obtains the status of the servo follow check at the outer edge of the disc in order to ascertain the amount of track shift in the media. This determines how precisely the disc itself is manufactured. Once all this information is collected, the drive goes through an algorithm to decide the optimum safe writing speed for the particular disc in the drive.
For more information, click here to see Samsung's online product page.
The retail package includes:
- The drive
- Printed multi-language user manual
- One 650 MB Samsung CD-R blank
- One 650 MB high speed Samsung CD-RW blank
- Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.0x and DirectCD 3.0x
- One IDE cable
- One universal analog audio cable
- Four mounting screws
- DOS drivers, Adobe Acrobat and sample mp3s included on installation CD
The retail box has a sticker on the outside depicting inclusion of Ahead Software's Nero and InCD with the drive, so you can imagine our disappointment when we found an old version of Easy CD Creator in the box. Our Samsung contact says that Easy CD Creator is the correct software included with the drive.
On a more pleasant note, the audio cable includes two styles of connectors for those with older soundcards.
The drive front is rather unique in the shape of its tray face as well as the large, translucent eject button. Although the LED is very small, its location next to the eject button transfers some of the light to the button, illuminating it as well during drive activity.
The rear of the drive includes all standard optical drive connectors in addition a digital audio output.
The drive arrived with firmware revision BS02. Prior to testing, we updated to the latest revision, BS05. Our Samsung contact informs us that this update adds DAO RAW support.
Given the drive's 32X maximum reads (7300 RPM spindle speeds), it's no surprise that the SW-216B is nearly inaudible over ambient system sounds. Perhaps aiding its cause further, SW-216B employs Acoustic Noise Reduction and Automatic Ball Balancing systems from Samsung to decrease noise and vibration levels. Click here for more info on these technologies. The drive also remains very cool even during extensive stress tests.
Currently the SW-216B can be found for as low as $78 on Pricewatch. Competing 16X burners from Lite-On and AOpen sell at similar price points, but drives from Teac, Yamaha and Plextor go for significantly more in retail format. We did find bare drive models of the Teac and Yamaha priced only slightly higher than the SW-216B.
CD-ROM Performance Results...