Samsung is launching a new burner, and it's mighty fast. The SE-S184M - a USB2.0 external burner - can burn a DVD+/-R at a speedy 18x (just over 24Mbps) and DVD-RAM at 12x. Samsung says this makes it the fastest DVD+/-R and DVD-RAM burner on the market. It's a Lightscribe burner too, so with the right DVD media you can burn your own labels directly onto the disc.
The SE-S184M pips Sony's new 18x external burner [Macworld] by two months; it'll be available in October, whereas Sony's model won't be around until December.
Topping off the launch is an announcement by Samsung that its entire lineup of DVD writers will be upgraded to 18x. “Samsung continues to raise the bar with the 18x upgrade across all DVD writers,” comments Chas Kalsi, Samsung’s Optical Technical Manager. “We believe this increase in speed will quickly become an industry standard and Samsung will again lead the pack with the introduction of the fastest and most innovative internal and external DVD+/-RW drives offered to the market today.”
Samsung doesn't go into enough detail for us to tell whether the upgrade will be firmware based or require any hardware changes, although we'll no doubt find out soon enough. Perhaps Samsung DVD burner owners will be able to flash themselves an upgrade?