Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Samsung 18x DVD Burner from 3btech is Here

As you might recall, my trusty AOpen 16x DVD Burner finally bit the dust after languishing for over a year. For a replacement, I went for a Samsung SH-S182D 18x Double Layer DVD Burner from 3btech, the cheapest burner I could find online for 29.99 shipped.

I ordered it on January 20th, and received it on the 25th via UPS ground that I was able to track online. The package was a cardboard box that was filled with styrofoam peanuts and the drive wrapped in an anti-static bag. Along with the CD audio cable (unnecessary), that was all that came in the package. There wasn't even an IDE cable (unless I wasn't paying attention) or any software. In fact, there seemed to be evidence that the drive wasn't new, and had at the very least been installed as a test in a previous computer...

Anyway, installation was a snap, if you know how to install IDE drives at all. I just opened the computer case, unscrewed the drive that was in there, and unplugged the power cable and IDE cable. And then I put in the new drive just as I did.

Here are some photos I took of the project. Unfortunately, I was the only one around so I couldn't take too many photos while working. It's all pretty uninteresting anyway.

Installed, I booted up with no problems. The only odd thing was the drive was identified as TSSTCorp SH-S182D. The part number was correct, but it was not labeled as Samsung. I looked it up online, though, and it seemed to line up with other peoples' accounts. It is labeled as Samsung in the case itself.

The best parts were that normal drive functions performed flawlessly, and burned a 16x single layer DVD just fine. I don't have dual layer media, so I couldn't test those. Playing DVD's using VLC media player worked just fine. The drive didn't come with any software, but luckily the Nero Smartstart software that came with my previous drive still worked fine.

And most of all, the drive now opens without the use of a paperclip!

Overall, so far so good. 3btech was good about notifying me of my order's status, and the drive works perfectly so far. I was a little disappointed by the lack of usually included stuff in the package, like software, and an IDE cable, but I assume that's what I get for the price (plus I didn't need them anyway). But for more novice users that would need these materials, I would highly recommend spending a little more.

I'm more concerned by the fact that it doesn't seem that the drive is new. 3btech offers a 90 day warranty, and I'd be very surprised to have this drive fail in that little time. Still, if it fails in 91 days, I'd be pretty pissed.

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