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Samsung: Press Conference

April 19, 2003



On April, 15 Samsung introduced new lines of data storage systems at the press conference held in Moscow. They demonstrated new models of hard disc drives and optical drives. Besides, the managers shared their view about the market's tendencies.

The first one who took the floor was Marketing and Sales Director. 




He highlighted the company's plans and thanked the audience for support and effective cooperation with the Korean giant. 

Hard Drives

Frankly speaking, I was really surprised when Konstantin Osipov, Manager at Samsung, told us that Samsung aimed to become a leader in sales of ATA hard drives in 2005. How are they going to reach that bar? 

According to PC Welt, the main criteria a user takes into account when chooses a hard drive are the following (higher is more important): 

  • performance
  • quality/reliability
  • warranty

Samsung is going to grasp the leadership in all these aspects. 

Performance

At present Samsung has four lines of hard drives to offer:

  • SpinPoint P80 - hard drives with the spindle speed of 7200 rpm. 
    • Record density - 80 GB per platter; 
    • Interface - Ultra ATA/133; 
    • Size - 20/40/60/80/120/160 GB; 
    • Buffer - 2/8 MB. 

  • SpinPoint PL40 - low-profile hard drives with the spindle speed of 7200 rpm. 
    • Single-disc design with one head; 
    • Record density - 40 GB per side; 
    • Interface - Ultra ATA/133; 
    • Size - 20/40 GB; 
    • Buffer - 2 MB. 

  • SpinPoint V80 - hard drives with the spindle speed of 5400 rpm. 
    • Record density - 80 GB per platter; 
    • Interface - Ultra ATA/133; 
    • Size - 20/40/60/80/120/160 GB; 
    • Buffer - 2 MB. 

  • SpinPoint VL40 - low-profile hard drives with the spindle speed of 5400 rpm. 
    • Single-disc design with one head; 
    • Record density - 40 GB per side; 
    • Interface - Ultra ATA/100; 
    • Size - 20/30/40 GB; 
    • Buffer - 2 MB. 




Besides, all models use hydrodynamic bearings, support NoiseGuard and SilentSeek noise reduction technologies, and ImpactGuard shock-proof technology. The company affirms that they were first to launch hard drives with the record density of 80 GB per platter. We'll soon test some models of these lines, but right now I can say only that the products look good. The range of drive sizes is very wide - you can find even 20 GB models. Everything is done to cater for all tastes. 

But what's going to be tomorrow? 

Soon they will launch the P80 line of 120 and 160 GB with SATA interface. But, as far as I understand, the drives will use an adapter for this interface instead of an original controller. 

For Q3 the company plans on the P120/V120 lines of 120GB per platter, 8MB buffer and Ultra ATA/133 and SATA interfaces. The P160/V160/PL80 lines of 160 GB per platter will be rolled out in Q4 of 2004. In general, the prospects are promising. Let's consider Samsung's drives will perform well. 

Reliability

The company admits that five years ago Samsung's drives had problems with quality. But they maintain the problems remained a thing of the past. Here is what they use for quality improvement: 

  • New technologies used in platter production to prolong service life: 
    • carbonic coating; 
    • enhanced surface polishing process; 
    • chrome surface processing; 
    • extra coating layer. 

  • Fully automated assembling process which allows avoiding hidden defects. 
  • Multi-stage quality test. 

Samsung says that installation of its hard drives in computers of famous manufacturers indicates that its drives are of superb quality. There are such well-known trade marks as HP, NEC, Sony and Epson. 

Warranty

This is their real trump! No one else offers a three-year warranty for ATA hard drives. However, the warranty is offered as 1+2, i.e. you can get your money back only during the first year. But the service centers will repair your drive free of charge or replace with an equivalent during three years. Such scheme protects the company from crafty users who understand that in 2.5 years they can get much more at the same money :) Besides, the company is extending its network of service centers. Samsung has already covered 25 cities in Russia. They affirm that any owner of Samsung's hard drive can address their service center even without a warranty card and he/she will have their drives repaired. 

Beside its own efforts the company pins its hopes to competitors' problems. No secret that manufacturers of ATA drives are getting less in number, and profitability of the production itself is doubtful. In such conditions a multi-line company can feel assured. However, IBM has sold its HDD subdivision. Well, let's wait until 2005. If performance and quality of Samsung's drives are top, this trade mark will have every chance to become another Quantum. 

Optical storage devices




When it came to CD-RW/DVD devices, the presentation wasn't less exciting. Samsung announced a 52x combo drive, SM-352. It combines 52x CD-RW and 16x DVD-ROM drives in one (specs: 52X (7.8MB/s) CD Write, 24X (3.6 MB/s) CD ReWrite, 52X (7.8 MB/s) CD Read, and 16X (21.6 MB/s) DVD Read). 

This drive is attractive mostly for users of home and office PCs which have space only for one drive. To improve high-speed record characteristics Samsung used the Partial CAV technology which allows recording data at a constantly high speed.

Like in other Samsung's CD-RW and Combo drives, the SM-352 COMBO has an 8MB buffer which supports the proprietary buffer underrun error prevention technology and Mount Rainier. 

Samsung Electronics also demonstrated a 52x CD-RW drive, SW-252, and a 16x DVD-ROM drive, SD-816. The SW-252 sports the following specs: 52X (7.8 MB/s) CD-R, 24X (3.6 MB/s) CD-RW, and 52X (7.8 MB/s) CD Read. This model also has an 8MB buffer which supports the proprietary buffer underrun error prevention technology and Mount Rainier. 




The DVD-ROM drive SD-816 offers 52X (7.8 MB/s) CD Read, and 16X (21.6 MB/s) DVD Read. This model supports reading of both DVD-R , DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM media. 

All the models announced support the following Samsung's own technologies: 

  • DVA - Dynamic Vibration Absorber; 
  • AB8 - ball bearing auto balancing system that reduces disc vibration at high speeds

All optical drives from Samsung Electronics come with the "2+1" warranty period - 1 full warranty year and 2 years of free repair of equipment that stops working though the manufacturer's fault. 
 

Nikolai Dorofeev  (niko@ixbt.com)   
Alexander Vorobiev (vorobiev@ixbt.com


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