Samsung has come up with a couple of interesting features to make the SH-S183A stand out in a competitive market.
For a start, it comes with a Sata interface rather than EIDE. Most PCs now have Sata, but if you're not sure, it's worth checking the motherboard manual. In real-world testing, this faster interface doesn't produce a stunning difference – nonetheless, the Samsung can lay claim to being as fast as any 18-speed drive on the market.
It's hard for any drive to stand out on specifications alone, but the Samsung competes well. The 12-speed DVD-RAM is becoming almost obligatory these days, despite the historic unpopularity of this format. The double-layer facilities are on a par with the other drives too.
When it comes to raw performance, the SH-S183A won't let anyone down. This is a very quick drive, offering speeds that are more than competitive with all of its rivals.
One note of caution. This is an OEM version and doesn't come with any cables. Sata accessories are still quite rare, so check you've got a spare cable before you buy.