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New external DVD drive goes for gusto

Samsung's new 16X WriteMaster SE-W164C rewritable drive can store up to 8.5GB on one disc.

Samsung began shipping a new dual-layer external DVD hard drive on Monday that can store two times more data than a single-layer DVD and 12 times more than a CD, the company said.

The 16X WriteMaster SE-W164C retails for $199, measures 6.4 inches wide by 2 inches high and weighs just over 2.6 pounds. The SE-W164C can write DVD+RW at 8X and 6X on a DVD-RW disc and can handle dual-layer speed recording at 5X. On average, the device takes 130 micro seconds to find something on a DVD-ROM and even less time to find data on a CD.

External drives let consumers burn and store more video, pictures and music without having to rely on internal drives that can jack up the cost and weight of a computer.

While there are similar 16X DVD drives on the market from Sony, Memorex, Iomega, Plextor, Toshiba and AOpen, Samsung said its external drive has the advantage of reading and writing in both the DVD+ and DVD- formats and can store up to 8.5GB on one disc--twice the amount of storage space taken up by a single-layer DVD and 12 times more than a CD, Samsung said.

The SE-W164C also has the benefit of being able to control the laser power in the inner and outer sides of the disc, Samsung said. The drive also includes a power save function and technology to prevent disc writing errors.

The external DVD recorder market is expected to grow by 87 percent this year, according to analysts with Research and Markets. Shipments reached 9.4 million in 2004 and could reach 67.7 million in 2009, analysts said.