Samsung SH-B123 Blu-Ray Drive Review
I recently decided to upgrade my DVD-ROM drive for the Samsung SH-B123 blu-ray drive. While I was looking at blu-ray writers as well, I found that I wasn’t going to burn many blu-ray discs in the future, and didn’t want to pay more for a drive that I wouldn’t need. The Samsung SH-B123 drive, however does burn both CD and DVD optical discs, so I still have the ability to burn discs, although I won’t be using it to backup my data.
After performing some research, as well as having a specific price point, I settled on the Samsung SH-B123 blu-ray drive to play blu-ray movies. After spending some time using the drive I was impressed with the drive, but it did come with a minor issue.
What is Included?
The Samsung SH-B123 drive box included all the necessary hardware needed to connect the drive to your computer and then use it almost immediately. The following is a list of what you will find included with the Samsung SH-B123 blu-ray drive:
- The BD-ROM drive.
- An SATA cable to connect the drive to the motherboard.
- The 4 screws to secure the drive in your computer case.
- The instruction manual.
- A blu-ray disc containing the user manual in 19 languages and various software.
Installing the Samsung SH-B123 Blu-Ray Drive
The installation of the drive was really easy. I decided to only have one optical disc drive installed in my computer, so I removed the current drive and installed the Samsung SH-B123 drive in its place.
I just disconnected the old drive, removed the screws holding the drive in place and then removed it completely. I then unpacked the blu-ray drive and slid it into place in my computer case. Next, I connected the SATA cable that had been connected to the previous optical drive and secured the Samsung drive with the same four screws that had secured the previous drive.
Once the drive was installed, I restarted the computer and waited for Windows 7 to load. Once Windows loaded, it automatically detected the Samsung SH-B123 drive and installed the corresponding drivers. After the drivers were installed, the drive was ready for use.
Since I didn’t have an application that could play blu-ray discs currently installed, I inserted the blu-ray disc that came with the drive and installed the software.
Software Included with the Samsung SH-B123 Drive
When I researched the drive before buying it, I read many comments about the software being older. The software included with the drive allows you to watch blu-ray movies, author your own DVD movies, and burn CD or DVD optical discs. Since the drive I have also includes LightScribe capability, there is even software that allows you to use the LightScribe feature of the drive. All software that is included with the drive is software developed by CyberLink.
The main software that most people would be concerned with is the one that plays blu-ray movies. Since I mentioned that the provided software is developed by CyberLink, the blu-ray playing software that is included is PowerDVD. The version that is included is version 9, which is two versions behind the current version available as of the date of this post.
It would have been nice to have the updated version, but I was more concerned with how the drive would work than the software that was included. Software is constantly being updated anyway, so I would eventually be updating to the latest version.
Testing the Drive
Before talking about how the drive performed, I read reviews where some people had difficulty watching some of the newer movies without a firmware update. To avoid any issues, I checked for the latest firmware update for the drive and discovered that the latest firmware was already installed on the drive. Having the latest firmware installed is great since many people may not understand how to install the latest firmware if they are having issues with their drive.
For my test movie I played “The Lord of the Rings – Extended Edition”. I chose this movie because not only is this trilogy great, but it was recently released and has amazing picture and sound quality.
When I played the movie I was amazed at the picture quality. The drive didn’t disappoint in that area as the picture was nice and crisp. The sound was also just as good as the sound was crystal clear and sounded great.
Part way through each disc of the first movie (each movie for the trilogy is spanned over two discs) I noticed a distinct stuttering, where both the picture and sound paused and resumed. This occurred twice during the first disc and once during the second.
I couldn’t determine if it was the drive, the software, or the system that caused the issue. When I viewed the performance charts for my computer, nothing seemed to be using too much CPU, disk usage or memory during that point. I’ll have to find other blu-ray playing software to determine if it is the software.
Besides the stuttering, the movie played back great and I wasn’t disappointed with the quality.
Samsung SH-B123 – Pros
- Can burn both CD and DVD discs.
- Has Lightscribe capability.
- Included latest firmware version.
- Easy to install – all hardware and cables were included.
- Installed without problems on Windows 7 64-bit.
Samsung SH-B123 – Cons
- Software included is older version of PowerDVD.
- Stuttering at times during blu-ray playback.
Overall I find the Samsung SH-B123 a great blu-ray drive and have had no problems with the drive since I have had it installed. While I have seen stuttering at times when playing blu-ray movies, I am not sure if it is caused by the Samsung SH-B123 drive or the software.