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Double-pass (DP) and single-pass (SP) erbium-doped depressed cladding fiber amplifiers designed for S-band operation are evaluated under changes of the input optical power, pumping power, and fiber bending radius. The DP configuration employs the usual combination of a circulator and a Faraday rotator mirror while the SP is based on the copropagating scheme. The amplifiers were characterized in terms of gain and noise figure. It is demonstrated that the DP topology shows much improved gain performance compared to the SP configuration although the noise figure is slightly degraded by counterpropagating amplified spontaneous emission.