Samsung SH-S223B/SH-S223C testing and observations

One of my friends bought two retail SH-S223C yesterday. I was a bit apprehensive because of my own horrible 223B which produced loads of MCC 004 and Yuden coasters. I sincerely hoped that the chipset change improved things. So we loaded the latest firmware SB01 and put both drives to the test with both MCC 004 (Taiwanese and Indian) and Taiyo Yuden (Japanese), all of them proper Verbs from a variety of packs (from packs of 5 individualy wrapped Verbs to spindles of 50). To cut a long story short, ALL burns sucked. Big time. Both drives were even worse than my 223B (yes, the one I’m getting rid of).

If I was to lower burning speed it’d probably be OK (just OK, not great, my BenQ and Pioneer can do a much better job at up-to-x16 speeds anyway). Lowering burning speed is not the point. x22 speed is the main attraction of this drive and it just can’t do it; it destroys some of the best media on the market. We tried burns on 3 different computers, swapped sata leads just in case, tried discs from differend packs, still the same. It’s not only the horrible end of the burns, there were ugly spikes all over the place anyway. The contoller change made things even worse, it’s a feat that only the geniuses back at Samsung could accomplish… Seriously, are these guys getting paid to design such crap??? I’d love a job like that!

Samsung recently released two new x24 models… Why the hell would they do that when their existing x22 lineup is incapable of properly burning MCC 004 and Yudens at advertized speeds anyway? Instead of releasing new sub-standard rubbish they should have fixed problems with their existing models first. But we all know this is not the way these corporate boys operate. Smart companies have the sense to employ decent engineers who will create decent products. Smart companies also have decent, knowledgable managers who can identify and troubleshoot such issues with incompetent staff. It’s cruel, but simple: When engineers repeatedly design rubbish and then fail to correct real issues with firmware updates, they should be replaced. When their managers repeatedly fail to correct such issues before the sub-standard products hit the shelves, they should lose their jobs too. God knows, there are many talented techs and admins in the market who’d kill for a job at Samsung. In today’s ultra-competitive and oversaturated computer market I seriously can’t understand how the guys at Samsung ODD manage to hold on to their jobs. They must know something we don’t. They also don’t seem to give a crap, and you can tell that from something as important as the quality of their products’ burns, to something as trivial as the poor English translation of their product manuals and the ODD website itself. I mean, how hard is it for a giant like Samsung to employ a competent english translator??? The way they’re going they’re gonna completeley ruin the already massively damaged Samsung OD reputation.

One thing is for certain: Unless thing improve drastically in future models I will never buy another Sammie. And I would most definitely advice my clients, my friends, everyone, to stay well away. We don’t need useless gimmicks like Magic Speed and TruDirect. What we need is drives that can actually produce decent burns!

Imagine the average Joe/Jane who sees the nicely boxed Sammie at the computer store and buys one to do a computer backup. Or burn the kids’ pictures and videos for safekeeping. Or save work projects, client data etc on disc. Irreplaceable stuff. Then these people realize a few months down the line that the data they thought was burned OK, on expensive Verbatim media, cannot be read back. Just put yourself in that position. It’s crazy in our day and age to have a burner so bad, that it routinely coasters Verbs!

I will post some scans tomorrow. BTW Samsung, you owe me about £40 in wasted Verbs…

I’m glad someone has finally said this.

I had two SH-S223Fs and they both sucked badly, so I gave them away. Too bad they didn’t improve quality afterwards.

I miss SH-S203 times…

Anything over 16x is just a gimmick since no media mfg will officially certify their media for higher rates of speed. I still have my Samsung SH-S203B. It was Samsungs best drive… that said, I never burned a disc at 20x.

Research and development is a dead art in the optical drive industry (and did it just stop there?). The business model clearly did not work for the Plextor’s and BenQ models. Those companies produced great drives and put real R&D into the firmware development… and where are they now? There are no more true consumer grade quality BenQ or Plextor drives. What we have left is marketing gimmicks directed at us, the consumer, and there is still money to be made even though the optical drive industry is slowly going the way of the floppy disk drive. I still use and backup data to optical disc, but I am more interested to see what will be next. Please don’t say Blu-Ray is the best option, while the format produces a good picture, the disc can hold more data, but can it hold it any longer than CD-R? Where is that Mitsui Gold and Kodak Ultimate media now???

What’s my point? Good question! It’s not just the drives and the quality (I got lost in my own rant)… the quality of the media is not there either. The consumer spoke and we want cheap… and cheap is what we have now.

[QUOTE=SithTracy;2465204]The consumer spoke and we want cheap… and cheap is what we have now.[/QUOTE] Sad but true. :frowning:

This is true, however my AD-7243S can burn MCC 004@x20 with very good results, and it is consistent as well. So it is possible to have decent burns over x16 if the drive manufacturer puts some effort into it. Also we have to remember that the average end user who has minimal or no knowledge regarding disc burning, will in most cases burn at MAX. And he/she think that their data were burned OK. That’s the reason that Steve and myself tested these Sammies yesterday @MAX, in order to see what the burns would be like for the average user who would most probably burn @MAX.

The only half-decent result that I’ve had on my 223B was with fake RICOHJPN-D01-67 +R DL media. These are the cheapest DL I have managed to lay my hands on (£12 for a tub of 50), and the 223B burned them at their rated x8 speed with half-decent results most of the time. This is a clear indication that the drive can do it, it’s the firmware that sucks. I didn’t even bother to test this DL media on Steve’s 223C drives. The wasted MCC004 and Yudens were enough, we didn’t need further confirmaton on the drives’ suckiness.

I wonder if the guys back at Samsung ODD actually use their own models for personal use? I guess they don’t. At the end of they day they’d know their drives suck, so I’m sure they wouldn’t use them for their personal data. It’d be ironic if the developers themselves use different brands for their own burns…

Anyway, here are some sample burns from the 223C. Ugly…

Here’s two more from different packs:

Swapped SATA leads for high quality Belkin ones for these two burns, and burned them on a different computer. Once again we used Verbs from different packs:

Finally, a wasted yuden (one of many…). The drive didn’t even verify this one, after burn was complete Imgburn just froze and we had to reboot…

Moral of the story: STAY AWAY FROM SAMSUNG BURNERS! Hopefully some novice users may see this and we may save some people a lot of headaches.

Word of mouth is our only ally anymore. I burn fewer discs than I used to and pay for the best quality media from merchants I trust. I won’t bother looking at media in a retail chain. My data is not worth the gamble. I can’t say what most people are burning on their media, but for me it is usually home photos and keepsakes; personal data… Stuff I want to keep. Movies, Music, bah… sure I do some of that too, but trust me, the music and movie industries will have a business model in place to get my money if it is something I must have.

If Samsung was actually much cheaper than competition, there would be a point. But nowadays (at least where I live) most drives cost more or less the same (except Pioneer and LiteOn which are about 5€ more expensive than the rest, and quite hard to find recently), I don’t see a point in buying Samsung.

Furthermore, for a while I have been recommending Optiarc AD-72xxA/S to all my friends. These drivers actually work quite good.

Steve, Mike and myself wrote an e-mail to Samsung ODD. Hopefully we’ll get a reply on this thread that won’t read like a generic P.R. statement written by some secretary at Samsung ODD. Personally I’m half-expecting something in the lines of:

[I]Dear Samsung customers
We really regret the fact that you have been experiencing problems with some of our products, blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah bla blah…[/I] (couple of paragraphs of more generic P.R. rubbish here)[I] …blah blah blah… [/I] (and it will probably finish with something like this): [I]Samsung is the market leader in…blah, blah, blah, blah blah… We are seriously commited at providing the best…blah blah blah[/I] (you can imagine the rest…)

[I]Yours sincerely
Some secretary at Samsung ODD
(We regret the fact that our higher management was too busy planning the release of our new x26, x28 and x30 models to reply to your message)[/I]

Anyway, here’s the e-mail Mike sent them:

[I]I burn a lot of hard disk backups for our clients. The burns must always be of decent quality, otherwise clients won’t be able to restore their computers from the discs. That’s why I always use top quality Verbatim DVD+R discs (media code MCC 004 and Taiyo Yuden). These are some of the best discs in the market, and I never had any problems burning them with any of our other non-Samsung x22 and x24 drives.

Since I started using your latest models SH-S222 and SH-S223 (all variants), I’ve had nothing but trouble. I have had many failed burns, (which is quite embarassing when it happens in front of clients), and even the burns that complete are of extremely poor quality. Obviously you can’t have that with something as important as a computer backup or people’s personal data. Our clients trust us to do reliable backups for them, and it just won’t happen with these models.

Instead of correcting serious issues with your existing models, you keep dishing out new models. This is not a good sign. Samsung’s optical disc drive reputation is quickly going down the drain. It seems to be that I’m not alone in this matter. If you still care about the opinions of your customers, have a look at this thread:

This thread is by far not the only one. is full of negative results and opinions regarding your latest models. You are currently dishing out some of the worst DVD writers ever produced, and people are not stupid, they’re starting to recognize the negative pattern. Just google around and you’ll see what your customers think of your recent products.

Most people in the IT business that I know of, wouldn’t touch your products anymore. Personally I’d never buy another Samsung drive, and I’m most definitely not the only one. I sincerely hope that you can do something about it. Employ better engineers. Invest more money in firmware development. Fix existing issues BEFORE releasing new useless models. It’s easy to lose touch with reality when your higher management is wrapped up in its corporate bubble. It’s easy to lose touch with your customers’ needs. I hope that you still have some common sense left in order to understand that your competitors are doing a much better job in covering those needs. I hope that you can see the obvious conclusion: If you’re going to continue this way you will diminish and eventually lose your share of the market, and you’ll only have yourselves to blame for this.

A lot of Samsung customers would love to see a REAL reply, maybe from the people responsible for your firmware development. We eagerly await your answers at

Best regards

Mike Lawrence
Senior Technical Support Analyst[/I]

Lets see if they reply. Both Mike and Steve think they won’t bother, I hope they will. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle this. In any way, Steve has personal contacts with the Metro and the Evening Standard newspapers here in London, and a specialized article on the subject is not out of the question. If they ignore our remarks here and fail to provide solutions, the P.R. damage for them could be bigger than they think.

I have to agree with the other posts about the newer drives being crap I have
the SH-S223F and it has never been worth .02¢ to me as it can not burn half
as good as my other SH-S203B’s do. Another problem I have with it is it doesn’t
always want to work right so I have just decided to replace it with another brand
and never buy a Samsung ODD again after the SH-S203B’s quit working. The only
way I would consider buying Samsung drives again is if it is prov-en to me that they
have corrected the way the newer drives burn 1st class media like Verbatim and TY
and they prove to me they are committed to bringing quality back into their drives and
the Firmware. :iagree:

One of Mike’s clients bought an OEM 223C yesterday and Mike borrowed it so we can test it. I was against this as I don’t want to waste more media, but Mike argued that despite the negative pattern with all the recent Sammies we tried, and in the interests of fairness, we should test it just in case… Fat chance I know, still he wanted to exhaust all possibilities. He’s coming over this afternoon with the drive for testing, I will post results. BTW Mike is paying for the media this time, I refused to use my own again on a lost cause…

OK, here’s the OEM 223C. We left the original SB00 firmware for the first two burns. And guess what: They sucked. On the first disc burning speed dropped to x10 just before the 3gig mark and stayed below 12 till the end of the burn. As a result, this first burn wasn’t too bad (at least for Sammie standards…). On the second disc it almost managed a full speed burn, and as usual it all went to hell again at the end. Here they are:

We then flashed the drive with SB01 and burned two more MCC 004 (Taiwanese Verbs out of spindle of 50). One we burned @x16, the other @x12. I mentioned before that if I was to lower the burning speed it’d probably burn well… If this was to be the case, then it would be like having a x16 burner “posing” as a x22 one. I was wrong: The x16 burn sucked as well, and when we set it @x12 it managed to burn @x8 only…

This is probably the worst burner I have ever seen. We didn’t bother to waste any more of Mike’s media on this dead horse. Before he takes it back to his client tomorrow, (and out of perverted, morbid curiosity), I want to burn a couple of my own RICOHJPN-D01-67 fakes I to see how it handles these ultra-cheap +R DL discs. Amazingly this was only media that my 223B managed to burn with any half-decent results.

Conclusion: This drive is not even good enough as a x16 drive. Or even as an x8 drive. It’s a throwback to bad-old burning times whn DVD burning was still at its infancy. I was even half-expecting buffer underuns to start occuring… The so-called “engineers” who designed thisn piece of crap and the managers/directors who oversaw the whole process and approved its release, should all be ashamed of themselves…

Anyway, here are those last two burns, first one @x16, second one @x12 (but managing only x8):

Clearly a flawed drive series, but I would not expect them to be committed to developing firmware. They will just discontinue it and put out a new model. Don’t worry, they will get it right with the 26x drive… and if that fails, they’ll surely get it with the 28x drive.:wink:

[QUOTE=SithTracy;2465717]Clearly a flawed drive series, but I would not expect them to be committed to developing firmware. They will just discontinue it and put out a new model. Don’t worry, they will get it right with the 26x drive… and if that fails, they’ll surely get it with the 28x drive.;)[/QUOTE]

Or the 30x or the 32x or maybe they will finally get it right with the 40x if
they are even still in the ODD business by then but at the rate they are
going down hill on quality with the newer drives I wouldn’t hold my breath
on them still being in the ODD business by then. lol :bigsmile:

[QUOTE=SithTracy;2465717]Clearly a flawed drive series, but I would not expect them to be committed to developing firmware. They will just discontinue it and put out a new model. Don’t worry, they will get it right with the 26x drive… and if that fails, they’ll surely get it with the 28x drive.;)[/QUOTE]

Of course they won’t develop new firmware for these suckers. They obviously won’t give a flyin’ f***k about the poor souls who got one of these glorified paperweights. What I cannot understand is the unbelievable degree of incompetence that it takes not only to design such a product, but to actually put it into production. I mean, nobody was checking anybody over there at Samsung ODD? It takes the combined uselesness of many people (both engineers and administrators) to actually come to that. And what about quality control? How on earth could any of these models got QCed???

Still no reply from Samsung on this thread. Steve said to me today that he’s gonna give them till the end of the week to provide an explanation, then he’ll be on to his contacts at the Evening Standard and the Metro. A not-so-nice article on how Samsung sells glorified paperweights to their customers should appear soon after that. What they don’t realize over there at Samsung ODD, is that hunderds of thousands of Londoners read these free papers every day. They’re gonna lose a lot of potential suckers, unless they commit themselves to solving existing issues with these models, or providing everyone with a very well-deserved RMA. We also plan to appeal to Trading Standards and various consumer rights associations, and possibly create a website where we can further publicize the issues raised here and initiate a petition. Selling products as bad as these is almost fraud, they must not get away with it, and if we can help it they will not.

[QUOTE=CyberMan969;2465727]Still no reply from Samsung on this thread.[/QUOTE]

I doubt Samsung would even consider responding to a thread in a public forum. The law offices of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe will have advised against it. I suggest you RMA the drive/get your money back and post your experience with the drive in the comments section at (or others like it) to deter potential buyers.