We tested the drive in our open test rig which consists of:
- AMD T-Bird 800Mhz
- MSI K7t Pro2
- Crucial PC133 CL2 128MB SDram
- Geforce2 MX 32MB
- SIIG PCI Sound Card
Installation was very straight forward. If you have installed a cd-rom before in your system, you can install this drive. The SM-308 is your basic IDE drive.
There is your audio connectors, jumper settings, ide connector and the 4 pin molex power connectors. One thing I did notice on this drive is that there are no labels for the master and slave jumpers. You have look in the manual for the correct settings. Not a big issue, but may be a pain if you lose the manual later on.
While mentioning them manual, the one included with this drive is one of the best I've seen. There are pictures and descriptions telling you what to do to get this drive up and running. It's always good to have a good and easy manual to follow if your not that savvy in installing these drives. The manual comes in four languages including English, which is an added plus for our overseas' friends.
The drive is tray loading, which means it pops out like, you guessed it, a tray. There are no flip open doors, this drive pops right out.
The way we ran the tests on this drive include DVD disc read tests and CD-R/RW write tests. We also included a benchmark on the drive using one of the best freeware benches for DVD drives, Nero DVD Speed. This freeware program tests the correct speed of the drive to see if it is in fact as fast as its rated speed. It also includes other tests on cpu usage and eject and load times.
Our first test will be aimed at the DVD Playback portion of this drive. To tests its capabilities, I used one of my test DVDs, Leon, The Professional.
The disc sits nice and snug in the drive tray, no extra movement is needed to seat the disc on the tray. The drive is Region Locked, you have a total of 5 times to change the settings before it is locked at the last setting you choose. For our purposes, we chose Region 1 since we are running a DVD Disc written in region 1 encoding.
We installed Power DVD v.2.55, which was included in the package, and ran the disc. The drive loaded the disc very fast, at approximately 2-3 seconds.
Our next test will be more precise, we are using Nero DVD Speed.
From the test, the drive is indeed rated at 8X. It is actually slightly faster than that according to the benchmark. There are some figures located in the white box which you can not see in the picture. It just mentions the test for the spin up and spin down times which are 2.96s and 2.62s respectively. It also did a test for the eject time on the drive! The drive boasted a 1.31 eject time and a 1.11 load time. Recognition time was at 3.19s which is close to what we saw when we started up our Leon: The Professional DVD.
Our next set of tests will take a look at the CD writing capabilities. Samsung was kind enough to include a CD-R and a CD-RW disc in the package.
We first use the CD-R to write a cd full of data off of our hard drive. The hard drive we are running of off is the IBM 13GB ata/66 7200rpm. Since Adaptec EZ CD Creator is included, we decided to use that to do our CD writing tests. The version that came with this package is 4.02e. It has full support for the SM-308 so no updating is needed. We loaded up 650 MBs of data to burn onto the CD-R through EZ CD Creator.
The result of our first round of burning resulted in an error. It seems the CD-R that was supplied in the package caused a data calibration error. So we used one of our own Maxell CD-Rs. The total time that it took for our Maxell to write 650 MB was 12 minutes and 46 seconds. Not too bad, on par with what a 8X burner can do.
We then took the Samsung CD-RW disc and burned the same exact data. This burn is done at 4X, so the total time it took to burn 650 Mbs of data was 20 minutes and 15 seconds. No errors this time with the Samsung CD-RW media.