Installation and Testing
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
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.
Click the Picture to Enlarge
Our next test will be more precise, we
are using Nero DVD Speed.
Click the Picture to Enlarge
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.
SM-308 DVD/CD-RW 8X4X32X8 Combo Drive