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  Product:     Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive  
  Price:     $100 (CAN) / $75 (U.S) 
  Supplied By:     Samsung Canada
  Author:     BigDaddy
  Date:     June 28th, 2003
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Sugmin from Samsung Canada for sending the SM-352B DVD Combo Drive for review.

Samsung Canada

Introduction:

Standard 5.25 inch bays are becoming a prime piece of real estate on computer enclosures these days. Optical drives, fan control devices, water cooling kits, thermal monitors and other devices are making it very easy to populate the standard four external bays. When half of those bays are populated with a dedicated CDRW and DVD drive, it limits future expansion choices. As well, small form factor machines and home theatre personal computers only allow for one 5.25 inch device. Dual optical drives add to the cable clutter in a windowed or acrylic case. The solution: a combo drive incorporating both CD-RW and DVD. While combo drives are far from new, they are certainly getting better, and specifically faster, supporting the newer Ultra Speed re-writable standard. Today in the MTB Labs, we look at Samsung’s latest offering in the combo drive market with their SM-352B DVD Combo Drive.

Specifications:

The SM-352B currently reigns as Samsung’s fastest combo drive. It is rated at 52 x 24 x 52 x 16 and supports virtually all optical media formats. Here are some specifications as taken directly from the Samsung Canada website:

Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive - Key Specifications:
Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive: Manufactured by Samsung Canada
Dimensions: 148.2mm (W) x 42mm (H) x 184mm (D)
Weight (kg): 0.77
Data Transfer Rate: Read CD: 52X (7,800 KB/sec)
Read DVD: 16X (21,600 KB/sec)
Record CD: 52X (7,800 KB/sec)
Rewrite CD: 24X (3,600 KB/sec)
Burst Transfer Rate: PIO Mode 4 (16.6MB/sec)UDMA Mode 2 (33.3MB/sec)
Supported Disc Formats: DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM/XA, CD-ROM, Video-CD, CD-I, Photo CD, CD-Extra, CD-TEXT
Buffer Memory: Retail Pack: 8MB, Bulk: 2MB
 
Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Click image for larger view
Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Click image for larger view
 

The Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive ships in a standard retail box. A product shot is showcased on the top and side panels, along with a complete list of specifications and features. The drive itself is packed between two formed pieces of polystyrene and enclosed a sealed plastic bag. A second bag contains the setup guide, an IDE cable, an analog audio cable and mounting screws. The unit comes with a good selection of bundled software on CD. Samsung provides a user’s guide on CD, along with a copy of PowerDVD XP by Cyberlink, and Ahead’s Nero 5.5.10.5. This is an OEM version of Nero, so it is feature limited. For example, it will only create CD’s from the bundled drive, rejecting any other CD or DVD burners. One thing that was not included with the product was any blank media. Not a huge concern, but CDRW’s rated for 24x are few and far between at present, and having at least one bundled would have been convenient.

Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Click image for larger view
Samsung SM-352B CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Click image for larger view
 
The drive itself fits in a standard 5.25 inch bay, and can be mounted either vertically or horizontally. Controls on the front panel include a headphone jack, headphone volume control, and a translucent eject button. A small drive activity indicator and the eject button sit slightly recessed in the front panel. The activity LED does not differentiate between reading and re-writing modes by switching colours, which in itself is not a major problem, but it is a nice visual cue. The drive tray has a light concave bezel to it, with the Samsung name printed on the front. Front panel logos show that the drive is a DVD Multi Player, as well as being Ultra Speed CDRW compliant. The supported formats for the drive include DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, Video CD, CD-I, Photo CD, CD-EXTRA and CD-TEXT. Needless to say, with the exception of DVD rewriting, the drive covers all the major formats. Samsung has opted to support the DVD -R and -RW format until the industry decides on a single standard for DVD recording.

The drive also supports Mt. Rainier, and the included software bundle incorporates Ahead’s InCD, which has full Mt.Rainier support. This means that CDRW formatting is significantly less painful, taking a couple of minutes to format a disk, compared to up to 30 or more minutes on other models. Mt. Rainier brings other key benefits as well, such as format-on-the-fly options and bad sector management, not to mention providing a standard that is cross-platform compatible, removing the need for third-party packet writers.

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