Readin’, ‘Ritin’, and ‘Rithmatic
The optical drive of choice for a computer today is clearly a DVD writer. After all, it can handle reading and writing duties for both your CD’s and DVD’s with one drive. In the end, a DVD writer can be purchased for only a few more bucks than a CD writer, making the choice a real “no brainer.”
Not all users want to open their computer up to upgrade their drive. Some desktop users may not feel comfortable opening up their computer case to swap drives. Notebook optical drives are notoriously difficult to upgrade. Power users may have a desire for a second drive to complement their existing drive. Families or offices with multiple computers may find it more cost efficient to share one DVD drive among a few computers. For any of these scenarios, an external drive is well worth considering.
In the past, I have had a less than thrilling experience with external optical drives. My first optical drive was an external CD writer. However, this was using a parallel port connection which really didn’t have nearly enough bandwidth. Let’s see how a USB 2.0 connection can really speed things up, and how this drive performs.
Samsung is an electronics company based in South Korea. They have been making optical drives for some time now. Their drives are jointly developed with Toshiba. Samsung is a member of the DVD Forum, developers of the “minus” standard. Often, even with writers that handle both “families” of discs, they’re more adept at the standard that the company originally supported. We’ll see if that hold true for the Samsung WriteMaster as well.
The Samsung WriteMaster is tested using our standardized protocol for optical drives. Nero’s CD Speed benchmarks the writing performance. The discs written will be scanned in a LiteOn 852S drive at 4x for DVD’s, and a LiteOn 52246S drive for the CD’s. They will also be tested for playback in two set top DVD players (a Sharp and a Sony). The media used is from the same batches of our other drive reviews, and scanned on the same drive, allowing a direct comparison of writing quality.
What’s In The Box?
- Samsung WriteMaster SE-W164 USB external DVD writer
- Power supply and cable
- USB cable
- Quick start guide
- User’s manual on CD
- Nero Express bundle on CD
- Nero Express 6
- In CD 4
- Nero Vision Express
- Nero BackItUp
- Nero Showtime
- Nero Recode
This is the Express version of Nero’s software, not the full version. It is also the older version 6, not the newer Ultra version. It is still more robust than most competitor’s offerings, such as from Roxio.