Are Cheap DVD Burners Worth the Trouble?

Samsung SH-S182 (UltraATA)

This is the first of two Samsung drives we received. The SH182 is an UltraATA device, while the SH183 (see next page) is equipped with a Serial ATA interface. Both devices are called Super-WriteMaster DVD Writers and offer up to 18X recording speeds for DVD-R and DVD+R media. DVD-RW can be written at up to 6X, DVD+RW at up to 8X speeds. DVD-RAM writing is supported at up to 12X speeds. Samsung-specified access times are 130 ms for DVDs and 110 ms for CDs.

Samsung offers a low-noise operating mode called Magic Speed, and there is a feature to adjust the disc rotation speed to the quality of the inserted DVD. Finally, the drive carries 2 MB cache and a buffer under run protection feature. LightScribe is supported as well.

The Samsung drives' performance is acceptable when it comes to burning single-layer DVDs. DVD ripping performance was in the mid range as well. We liked how newly inserted discs were recognized quickly, but the SH-S182 as well as its SH-S183 counterpart took too long to import digital audio into Apple's iTunes 7.1.