Samsung TS-H552U 16X DVD±RW - DVD Read and Write Tests

Article Index
Samsung TS-H552U 16X DVD±RW
The Drive, Bundle and Software
Test System and Info
CD Read and Write Tests
DVD Read and Write Tests
The End - Conclusion

DVD Read Tests:

Although this drive is rated to read DVD's at 16X, this speed is only available on DVD-ROM's.  To test out the drives fastest DVD read speed, we used our copy of Unreal Tournament 2004.  This disk is a little over 3.6GB in length, and is not full.  This will result in the drive not being able to hit it's max speed as max speed is always determined at the end of a full data disk.  This drive does come close however, and according to the curve, it would hit 16X on a full DVD-ROM.  You notice that seek times are very similar to that of the CD tests on the previous page.

The next disk in line to check is a simple DVD+R data disk.  Unfortunately the TS-H552U is rated at 8X for this media.  The PX-716A reads these disks at 12X.  This is really not that big of deal, but if you're restoring data from DVD±R's, it will take longer at 8X.  The drive manages to top out over it's rated 8X speed and average 6.17X for the disk.  Seek times are again excellent for DVD media, and burst rate as well as CPU usage are normal.

Next we look at Single Layer Pressed DVD Video.  This test is performed on a cereal box DVD movie we received - Air Bud.  While the PX-716A reads single layer video at 16X, the Samsung drive is limited to 8X.  Oddly enough, the TS-H552U identifies this disk as a DVD-ROM and actually reads it at 16X!  Not only that, it exceeds it's rated speed and averages over 12X.  Seek times are again great and are actually lower than the Plextor drive I reviewed earlier.

Next up is a Dual Layer DVD Video.  If the Samsung drive has a surprise here, that would be nice.  As it is there are no real surprises, but the drive reads the test of "Behind Enemy Lines" in good form.  It again exceeds it rated speed, and pulls off very nice seek times.  It is slower than the Plextor at an average read, but it still does very well.

The last read test we'll look at today is that of a Dual Layer DVD+R.  This drive is capable of writing these disks at 4X, and reading them at 8X.  In theory, the curve and results should mirror those of the Dual Layer DVD Video test above.  As you can see below, the results are very similar.  Because this disk is full, the maximum speed is greater than that of the DVD-Video above.  Hence, average speed is also greater.  Notice that seek times on this DVD+R DL media are somewhat slower that those of the other media tested.  The difference is negligable, but noticeable on the test.  You would not notice it in "real world" performance though.

DVD Write Tests:


This area of testing is always exciting, and a little scary.  With high-quality DVD's at a premium price, you don't want to waste too many.  I am happy to report that the TS-H552U didn't coaster any, and all testing went well.  We'll start off this section with writing at 4X, then progress up to 16X.  Lastly, we'll take a look at DVD+R DL writing and quality.  I was able to use Nero's CDSpeed for these tests as there was a wide array of media available for testing.  We found disks that burned at the major write speeds, and the tests below are actual write times - not simulations.

For the first test, we wrote a DVD+R disk at 4X.  Due to the drops at every .5GB interval, the Samsung averages just under its rated 4X speed.  For all intents and purposes it writes at 4X, but it's interesting to see the little hiccups in the writing process.  This evidenced itself when using both the original and the US03 firmware.  An average speed of just under 15 minutes is quite normal.

This second test shows the curve of the 8X write strategy.  The P-CAV curve is not quite as aggresive as we've seen, and results in write times that are a little slower than some of the competition.  Regardless, the drive finishes the test in an average of 7.48X and in a mere 8:40.  Not much time to wait for a 2 hour movie.

Continuing the journey to faster writing, we stop at 12X DVD+R.  Nero CD Speed incorrectly identifies the write strategy of the P-CAV disk.  Samsung again uses a very conservative method of writing and the 12X speed is not reached until the 4GB mark.  The average speed is thus limited to 9.17X, as opposed to the Plextor PX-716A at 10.43X.  A difference of 1.26X makes quite a difference in total write time.  The Samsung manages to complete a 12X disk in 7:22.  Over a minute behind the PX-716A.

The last Single Layer DVD Write test we'll look at today is that of 16X writing.  This is the fastest speed available for DVD writing today.  Samsung has been conservative with their write speeds so far, so what can we expect from 16X?  The answer is a pretty smoking burn time.  With the drive finishing over 16X, and starting at 6.72X, the Samsung TS-H552U finishes this disk in a smoking 5:55 including Lead In and Lead Out.  It's average is over 12X.  Very nice indeed.

Dual Layer drives are becoming more popular as DVD+R DL prices decrease.  This Samsung drive is rated to write these disks at 4X, but unfortunately the 2.4X media I had on hand was only written at 2.4X.  Plextor has updated their firmware to allow 4X writing on the same media, so hopefully Samsung will follow suit in their next firmware release.  As it stands, 2.4X DVD+R DL writing is painful.  It takes over 44 minutes to write a disk, but it does it successfully, and that's really the important thing.  You don't want to coaster a $10 blank very badly.  At 2.4X the drive writes at a constant speed with only a tiny drop as the writer changes layers.

Error Checking/Write Quality:

As DVDRW drives get faster, the amount of errors they generate will only increase.  Some drives are more fickle when it comes to media rather than speed, and others write great on all media when done slowly, but choke when writing at faster speeds.  For these tests we wrote disks at both 4X and 16X.  The media used on the 4X write is quite poor.  They are CMC 8X DVD+R, and personally, I'm not a fan.  You can see in the test below that the drive fared quite well with this media at 4X though.  There are over 51,000 errors, but the error rate is actually quite low for a full data disk.

Next up we wrote a Verbatim 16X DVD+R at 16X and read back the disk to discover the following.  This media was the best I could find, and the only media that the Samsung TS-H552U could write at 16X.  The write quality is not that great.  There are almost 200,000 errors on this disk, and while none of them are unreadable (POF), there are still a lot of errors.

It seems that the Samsung drive is more prone to errors at higher speeds that on poor media.  Using poor media at low speeds resulted in good quality writes, but with excellent media at high speed the resulting quality was less than perfect.  Now you know.

With the tests all wrapped up, let's head on over to the last page to grab a conclusion and see how this drive scores.