Tweak3D Google
Toshiba SD-W2002 DVD-RAM Drive

September 6, 2002
By Chris Burek
Retail Price: $370 USD Approx.

Toshiba SD-W2002 DVD-RAM Drive

Introducing Toshiba’s 2-year old SD-W2002 DVD-RAM drive.

DVD-RAM media is available in 4.7GB and 9.4GB on single-sided and dual-sided discs respectively. Do not, however, confuse DVD-RAM with DVD-R or DVD-RW. DVD-RAM is aimed strictly at data storage and backup, and it most cases cannot be read by a standalone DVD player. Most DVD-ROMs can read DVD-RAM media, however.

In addition to covering DVD-RAM media, the SD-W2002 also tackles CDs and DVDs, at 24X and 6X respectively, and comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

What may come as a surprise to most, is the method in which DVD-RAM media is bundled. These discs are enclosed in a recording cartridge, resembling that of very early CD-RW drives. While the DVD-RAM discs can be removed from the cartridge, they must be used while writing to the disc. Because of this, the loading tray on the drive is designed somewhat differently that what you’re used to seeing, in order to accommodate the cartridges.

Bundled with the package comes the drive itself, an installation manual, quick start instructions, IDE and CD audio cables, mounting screws, two blank single-sided 4.7GB discs, and finally, the software bundle- CyberLink PowerDVD and VOB InstantWrite/InstantBackup for writing your data.

The unit looks very basic, with nothing more than an eject button, emergency eject hole, a busy indicator, and a DVD-RAM logo.

There’s nothing more to the installation than would be required by a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. Mount, connect the cables, and you’re good to go. In our case, Windows 2000 recognized and configured the drive without any hitches.

The SD-W2002 uses an 8MB buffer, and writes 4.7GB discs at 2,704KB/second, and older 2.6GB discs at 1,352KB/second.

As a DVD-ROM, the drive reads all DVD-ROM formats at 6X, including DVD-R and DVD-RW. It has a Average Random Access time of 120ms and an Average Random Seek time of 100ms. We fired up the included PowerDVD and ran through a few titles such as Fast and the Furious, Shrek, Black Hawk Down, and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Playback at 6X was smooth and unhindered.

Portrayed as a CD-ROM, the SD-W2002 reads at 24X with a Average Random Access time of 100ms and an Average Random Seek time of 85ms. We used four brands of CD-R media to test the drive’s read compatibility. These included discs from Memorex, Sony, Verbatim, and Fujitsu. We found no compatibility problems with any of the four mediums.

Because this drive’s main functionality is DVD-RAM writing, we opted not to benchmark CD-ROM or DVD-ROM functions. Another reason would be the much older 24X and 6X speeds.

The real question is: How fast does it take to fill up a DVD-RAM disc?


Windows 2000 SP3
Gigabyte GA-7VAXP KT400
Crucial 512MB PC2700 DDR
AMD Athlon 1800+
IBM Deskstar 70GXP 30GB
Toshiba SD-W2002 DVD-RAM Drive
TDK Type II 4.7GB DVD-RAM Disc

Have an hour to kill? Then pop in a 4.7GB disc and start burning! In our data transfer tests, it took approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes to burn 4.65GB of miscellaneous data. To burn 2.3GB of data, it ran for almost 54 minutes. These times are indeed quite lengthy, however you are burning a large amount of data in one session.

At about the same price as a mid to higher end DVD-RW, how practical is DVD-RAM? A 9.4GB double sided DVD-RAM retails for about $10-12 USD and a single-sided 4.7GB disc goes for about $5-7 USD, about the same as DVD-RW media. This makes it hard to recommend DVD-RAM over DVD-RW, because a DVD-RW serves more functionality, such as the ability to create movies playable in DVD players, and the ability to write CD-RW. Additionally, the path the industry is flowing down leads to DVD-RW, giving DVD-RW another edge.

  • 4.7GB or 9.4GB storage
  • Simple installation
  • Solid documentation
  • Re-writable

  • Expensive unit
  • Expensive media
  • Lesser functionality than DVD-RW
  • Slow

    Performance: 2/5
    Stability: 5/5
    Price: 1/5
    Documentation: 5/5
    Packaging: 5/5
    Value: 2/5
    Overall: 20/30

  • News
  • Forums
  • Tweaks
  • Articles
  • Reviews