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Nathan Edwards

Jun 26, 2008

Samsung SH-S203B

At A Glance

Wild Turkey

Record-breaking burn speeds; nice Nero bundle.

Cold Turkey

Rewriteable speeds could be faster; nothing special in the looks department.

Ever since Plextor stopped manufacturing the PX-755SA DVD burner, we’ve been on the hunt for a worthy replacement. We loved the Plexy’s SATA interface, so we’re not settling for anything less going forward. (It’s just plain foolish to opt for a drive with an oversized, outdated parallel connector when SATA models are available.) Since SATA drives from Lite-On and Asus failed to win us over in the August issue, we corralled a some new contenders.

Samsung’s DVD burner didn’t waste any time strutting its stuff: In our first burn test, in which we fill a single-layer DVD+R disc, the SH-S203B turned in a time of 5:00 (min:sec) flat. That’s a Lab record, folks, and proof that the burner’s 20x DVD+R write rating pays off. We saw a similarly speedy score of 5:06 from the Lite-On 20x burner we reviewed in August, but only when we used pricey, hard-to-find Taiyo Yuden media. With Verbatim media, that drive’s 5:49 burn time doesn’t even come close to Samsung’s.

We expected great things from Samsung’s double-layer performance as well, given its 16x write rating for DVD+R DL. And sure enough, the burner blew away the competition by writing 7.96GB of data to a disc in 13:10—that’s a good four minutes faster than any other drive we’ve tested. The SH-S203B turned out a time of 14:31 when writing 4.38GB to a DVD+RW disc—a respectable showing for rewriteable media.

Based on performance alone, we’re smitten with the SH-S203B, but Samsung sweetens the deal further with 48x CD-R burn speeds, support for DVD-RAM, and a host of Nero apps, including Nero Express 7, Nero BackItUp, and Nero Recode. Looks like we’ve found ourselves a new fave.

Benchmarks
  Samsung SH-S203B
Plextor PX-810SA
DVD+R Write Speed Average 13.45x 11.39x
DVD+R Read Speed Average 12.13x 9.36x
Access Time (Random/Full) 116/198ms 123/222ms
DVD+DL Write Speed Average
9x
8.05x
Best scores are bolded. All tests were conducted using the latest version of Nero CD-DVD Speed and Verbatim media. Our test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine using a dual-core 2.6GHz Athlon 64 FX-60, 2GB of Corsair DDR400 RAM on an Asus A8N-SLI motherboard, an ATI X1950 Pro videocard, a Western Digital 4000KD hard drive, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 850 PSU.
THE VERDICT

Samsung SH-S203B

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