* Prices may differ from that shown
This is the Samsung SH-224BB SATA DVD +/- DVD writer, an internal component of a computer that fits into your 5 1/4 inch drive bay and connects to your motherboard via a SATA cable (not provided). While most computers will come with such a drive, you maybe building your own system or upgrading an existing one. If that is the case this drive will allow you to burn data to removable media (blank CD's and DVD's of both plus and minus formats) however it does not support blu ray discs (neither reading or writing them).
The drive comes in OEM (sometimes called bare bones) packaging which means you get very little with it other the the burner itself. While this keeps the cost down it does mean you will have to use your own SATA cable, screws and software to burn disks (remembering that Windows does have it's own disk burning engine if you don't want to fork out for some retail software.) There is also an "retail" version of this drive that was recently reviewed in a computer magazine that came bundled with everything you need, however I could not find that drive for sale (and it was also rather more expensive.)
Fitting the Samsung drive is easy and requires little time once you manage to open your computer case (with some being more difficult that others.) This drive can only use the newer SATA connector and cable as opposed to the older IDE so please make sure it is compatible before buying. However it's simply a matter of connecting two cables to the drive (the second being a power cable), one cable to your motherboard and your reading to go with Windows auto detecting the drive and requiring no drivers or software to run.
The drive is pretty fast when in operation and in terms of response times with the draw opening at at touch of a button (and the only button on the drive) quickly. Upon inserting a disc it loads within a few seconds and if you have the autorun feature enables through Windows it will give you options on what you want to do. Burning data to a blank disk is again pretty fast (a lot faster than just a few years ago) and this drive features "over speed performance" which allows you to burn at a faster speed on lower speed discs (saving money on having to buy faster speed discs in the first place.) The Samsung drive doesn't seem to be fussy about what brand of media or speed it actually burns too, which is an advantage as I know some drives don't like some brands of media.
Built quality is excellent with the front of the drive being nicely finished. It can be noisy in operation at times, not so much when reading disks but when recording them instead but when not in use is it naturally silent.
In terms of value, this Samsung drive comes in at the average price level (being just over fifteen pounds at time of buying and reviewing). While there are cheaper drives on the market (some less than a tenner) the speed on offer, possibility to save money with "over speed" and quick response time makes the SH-224BB stand out over cheaper drives, and an extra few pounds here will be money well spent.