It is not very often that you have need for an external DVD drive; however, I recently purchased a HP Mini 1000, which does not include a DVD drive. So I went out and bought one and while I am waiting for the HP Mini to arrive I thought I would test out the new drive.
- USB BUS powered
- Manual disc eject function
- 12 cm and 8 cm disc support
- Firmware live update
- Prevents buffer under run error and enables high speed writing
When it comes to portability you cannot get much better than a USB powered device. What this means is that the only thing you need to do is plug into a powered USB port and you are ready to go. In the case of this DVD drive you actually need two USB ports.
The Manual disk eject function is no more than a small pin hole with a button inside. The button can only be pressed by inserting a paperclip, pin, or something else really small, and it causes the drive to open so you can retrieve your disk.
Support for both 12 cm and 8 cm disks is nice if you need it, but I have never needed to use an 8 cm disk and I see no reason to in the near future.
Firmware live update is another feature that is nice to have, if you need it; however, after checking the Samsung website I saw that there were no updates to the firmware. For now this feature will go unused.
The one feature that is big deal is the prevention of buffer under runs. A buffer under run is when the DVD drive writes so fast that your computer cannot keep up. This will cause the buffer to run out and your disk will be ruined. The Buffer under run protection will cause the burner to slow down so the computer can keep up.
In case you don’t already have your own DVD burning software the drive comes with some basic Nero software, including: Nero Express 7, Backitup 2, Vision 4, Recode 2, ShowTime 3 and InCD 5.
This drive supports most known DVD and CD types as you can see from the image below.
I think the design is the single best part about this drive. The drive measures a very small 19mm(H)x141mm(W)x157mm(D).
The entire device has only two buttons, an activity light, and one mini USB port. The two buttons are the eject button, and the Manual disk eject button, which I talked about above. The activity light is just to the left of the eject button.
On the back is the mini USB port and is both how it connects to your computer, and also how it gets its power.
The drive is extremely easy to setup. My computer automatically detected the drive as soon as I plugged it in, and assigned it the next drive letter, which in my case is k. I didn’t have to install any software because I already had a CD/DVD writing program. Even though it comes with a cable that has two USB plugs (one for communication and the other for power) I found that I only needed one of the USB plugs. For all my tests I plugged in both just in case it affected the performance or quality of the drive.
I ran it through a couple of speed tests to see just how well it would do. The first test was with Double Layer DVDs. As you can see, even though it is rated at 8x and I used 8X media, it only achieved a maximum of 6x.
The next test was with CDs. Again it is rated for 24x read and write, but only the write made it that high. The read scores were quite a bit less.
I also noticed some very strange wavy lines in the DVD after it wrote. Here you can see a picture of a DVD that was burned by the Samsung SE-S084B, and another one that was burned by a drive I have in my desktop computer. I am not sure what the wavy lines are, but they did not seem to affect the quality of the disk because every disk worked just fine.
The warranty is nothing spectacular. It comes with a paltry 1 year labor and parts. Support is found by contacting the company through the website or through a telephone.
I am very pleased with this drive. As I mentioned at the beginning, I bought this for a netbook that I was buying. It works great in every case and I look forward to using it with the HP mini when it arrives. The Samsung SE-S084B is available for about $65 on either Newegg or Amazon.
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