Samsung TS-H552U - Plextor PX-716A: 16x DVDRW Revisited

Article Index
Samsung TS-H552U - Plextor PX-716A: 16x DVDRW Revisited
Test Setup and Media Compatibility
Firmware: Performance and Quality Testing
Firmware - Newer not Better - Conclusions

Products: Samsung TS-H552U, Plextor PX-716A
Provided By: Samsung Canada, Plextor America
Firmware(s): Samsung - US06, Plextor - 1.07


Over the past few months I've been able to take a look at some nice DVDRW drives.  There is an interesting factor that arises when reviewing these drives though - firmware.  Most of the drives I get to review are early release or pre-release.  This means that there is often a few bugs or performance is not quite up to par.  I find it amazing that a lot of these problems can be fixed with a simple firmware flash.  Unfortunately, there are not always improvements in all areas.  Some firmwares sacrifice one thing for another.

In this article we'll take a look at the Samsung TS-H552U and the Plextor PX-716A running the latest firmware.  After I began the testing, I soon discovered that the PX-716A 1.07 firmware has had a few issues and is not the best firmware around.  Regardless, I thought this proved a good point, and included all of these results in this article.  The latest firmware is not always the greatest.  If you don't have issues with your current firmware and are satisfied with performance and quality, leave it alone.  That being said, let's take a look at our candidates.

Samsung TS-H552U:

Samsung Canada sent me this unit over for use in our upcoming test rig and I thought it deserved another look.  We've already posted up a comprehensive review of this drive back in January so we won't go into a whole lot of details.

This drive did fairly well back in January, and scored 8.0 in our tests.  The areas of weekness where quality and performance, but that can hopefully be fixed with a newer firmware.  Also the drive had a very limited amount of media that it could write at 16x.  This is also fixable by a firmware flash as well as companies producing more high-speed media.

Samsung TS-H552U Box

Samsung TS-H552U Drive

Plextor PX-716A:

I also looked at the Plextor PX-716A back in January.  This drive features many professional features such as GigaRec, SecuRec, VariRec and more.  For a full explanation of these features, I encourage you to check out the PX-716A review as well as the PX-712A review.

Back in our original review, this drive performed quite well, as it managed to write to many 4x disks at 8x, and 8x disks at 12x and 16x with excellent quality.  In January, the tests were ran using the 1.03 firmware.  Since then Plextor has added better media compatibility, and even DVD-R DL support starting with the 1.05 firmware.

Plextor PX-716A Box

Plextor PX-716A Drive

Before we begin testing, let's take a look at the test rig, and how each of these drives rate media.