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Samsung SW-252 review: Samsung SW-252

Samsung SW-252

Jon L. Jacobi and Justin Jaffe
3 min read
Review summary
At this point, there are only two reasons to buy a CD-RW drive: either you don't want to pony up an extra $50 or $75 for a multiformat DVD burner or you're burning so many CDs that you require the 52X-recording and 32X-rewriting speeds of the fastest CD-RW drives (state-of-the-art DVD drives max out at 40X and 24X, respectively). The 52X/32X/52X SW-252FRNS delivered good performance in most of our tests, and Samsung's free 24/7 tech support and excellent documentation make it a solid choice for burning novices. However, the SW-252FRNS lacks a front-panel headphone jack and volume control--features that are present in Lite-On's LTR-52327S, which also sells for a few bucks less. Samsung's SW-252FRNS offers a superb out-of-the-box experience. The company includes an informative, if terse, single-page setup guide to walk you through the installation process and an on-disc manual and user guide for those who might need more assistance. Still, if you're afraid to open up your PC, you might want to grab a six-pack and invite over a techie friend. Better yet, check out CNET's new feature on how to install an optical drive.
Samsung is one of the few remaining vendors that bundles all of the installation hardware you might need: the mounting screws, a drive-to-sound-card audio cable, and an IDE cable. This handy kit is the crowning touch on a superior setup experience.
Installing the bundled Nero software is the usual "choose a location and click OK" affair. Still, we wish Samsung had provided an option to install all of the programs at once. The front panel of Samsung's SW-252FRNS lacks two commonplace amenities: a headphone jack and a volume control. We understand why Samsung wants to pinch pennies in the low-margin CD-RW market, but there are still users who'd rather listen to their audio CDs using the drive itself, not a software player. Fortunately, the drive's back panel doesn't similarly skimp--it offers the full complement of IDE, digital and analog audio outputs, drive jumpers, and a power connector. The drive's media tray felt sturdy enough during our hands-on testing, if not as rugged as the trays on the Plextor and MSI drives.
Samsung bundles the highly regarded Nero Burning Rom 5.5 mastering suite, which includes the company's InCD packet-writing software, as well as a number of useful utilities.
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Nero offers three interface choices, including the ultraeasy Nero Express.
With one notable exception, disk-image creation (copying a CD image to a hard drive), the Samsung SW-252FRNS's performance in CNET Labs' tests was good. The drive came in a bit behind Lite-On's LTR-52327S in CD burning, and just ahead in CD-RW rewriting. The SW-252FRNS also proved itself a superfast performer with digital audio extraction, so if you're planning on ripping a lot of audio CDs, this is the drive for you.
CD-R tests (MB per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a disc image to a CD-R  
Copy a CD image to the hard drive  
Lite-On LTR-52327S
Samsung SW-252FRNS

CD-RW tests (MB per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write test  
Read test  
Samsung SW-252FRNS
Lite-On LTR-52327S

Digital audio extraction test (MB per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Extract an audio track from an audio CD  
Samsung SW-252FRNS
Lite-On LTR-52327S

Unless otherwise mentioned, all write tests are run with Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed. Find out more about how we test optical drives. Samsung's overall support is excellent. The SW-252FRNS carries the industry-standard one-year warranty, and Samsung's terrific documentation should eliminate the need to call its 24/7, toll-free phone help. Samsung's Web site features a general FAQ section, PDF manuals, and e-mail support. The bundled Nero software can be updated at "--="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enero%2Ecom">www.nero.com.

Samsung SW-252

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 7Performance 8Support 8
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