Maximum PC Staff Mar 26, 2009

Samsung SH-S223

At A Glance

Big Ben

All the goodness of the SH-S203, plus faster DVD+/- writes.

Big Brother

Wed have preferred speed improvements across the board.

We’ll admit we’ve been perfectly content with Samsung’s SH-S203 DVD burner for more than a year. Once we were writing 4.38GB of data to a disc in five minutes flat, we were feeling pretty satisfied with the state of DVD technology. Nevertheless, we’re not about to turn our nose up at a performance increase. And that’s what Samsung’s latest DVD burner, the SH-S223, offers.

As you might have guessed from the name, the SH-S223 represents a jump from 20x to 22x DVD+/-R burn speeds. In our tests, this effectively shaved 12 seconds off the time it took to fill a single-layer DVD+R disc. The SH-S223 took 4:46 (min:sec) compared with the SH-S203’s flat 5:00. In both cases, we used 16x media, the fastest-rated media that’s readily available. And in both cases, the drives’ “over-speed” feature enabled them to burn data at higher than rated speeds. In the course of its write, the SH-S223 steadily climbed from a starting speed of 8.38x to 20.7x.

Besides the boost in DVD+/-R speeds, however, the SH-S223 has identical speed ratings to its predecessor for all other types of media. In our DVD+R DL write test, the SH-S223’s 16x rating for that media amounted to a write time of 13:13 using 8x media, a mere three seconds slower than the SH-S203. Again, the SH-S223’s over-speed feature kicked in, with a good portion of the burn occurring at 10x speed.

The SH-S223 is rated at 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW. We tested the drive with DVD-RW media rated at 4x. This time, rather than burning beyond the disc’s speed rating, the SH-S223 stuck to it, maintaining a 4x speed throughout and writing 4.38GB to the rewriteable disc in 14:56. This isn’t all that surprising, as drives typically perform much more conservatively with rewriteable media, given its greater propensity for write errors.

Like the SH-S203 before it, the SH-S223 connects to a PC using a SATA interface and comes bundled with a host of Nero apps.

While we see no need to graduate from a 20x DVD burner—particularly the SH-S203—to the SH-S223, this is the drive to get if you’re currently using anything less than an 18x model.


Samsung SH-S223
Samsung SH-S203
DVD+R Write Speed Average
DVD+R Read Speed Average
Access Times (random/full) 117/204ms 116/198ms
DVD+DL Write Speed Average 9.12x

Best scores are bolded. All tests were conducted using Nero CD DVD Speed and Verbatim media. Our test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine using a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700, 2GB of Corsair DDR2/800 RAM on an EVGA 680 SLI motherboard, one EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS card, a Western Digital 500GB Caviar hard drive, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool PSU.


Samsung SH-S223

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