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Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A

Date Reviewed: December 6, 2001
Reviewed By:
Jason Rabel
Price: ~$160 USD
Company: Plextor

 

Testing:

To test the drive, I compared it against my previous HP 9110i CD burner. It is capable of a measly 8x4x32x (which was screaming back in its day). I tested ripping both audio and data, as well as how long it took to burn a CD. Both drives are extremely quiet, which is great. I've had some drives in the past which I was afraid the CD was going to shoot out the front they were so loud.

The program used was Nero CD Speed 2000. It does a good job testing both DAE & Data reading, as well as an abundance of other small tests that you should be interested in. In the pictures below, the yellow line is the drive's RPM, and the green is the actual speed.

Anyhow, the first test was ripping an Audio CD. For the CD I used George Clinton and the P-Funk. It was a good 69 minutes long so that would give the CD drive ample time to reach it's peak performance.

HP 9110i:

Plextor 24/10/40A:

The one disappointing thing about my HP drive is that it only does DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) at 8x, which I didn't realize until AFTER I bought the drive. However the new Plextor drive can rip audio like nobody's business peaking at 32x  with an average of 24x. Even though I do have Ultra DMA mode enabled (and my device manager says Ultra DMA Enabled)  which should give me a theoretical burst rate of 33MB/s, I'm only getting 16MB/s which leads me to think Windows is only using regular DMA mode 2. I'm definitely going to have to dig some more to see if I can't remedy this, but I tried everything I could to force Ultra DMA. If anybody has any tips on how to do this for a VIA chipset, please send me an email.

Another thing to note is the CPU usage for the HP vs Plextor. The HP shot up to 100% when reading audio at 8x, whereas the Plextor was only at 7% usage.

Next up is the data reading speed. For this I used my Starcraft CD which was a good 72 minutes in length.

HP 9110i:

Plextor 24/10/40A:

This time around the HP can't get laughed at too hard, as it did perform decently. Both drives pretty much reached their advertised reading speed, with good solid average speeds. Also the CPU usage was about the same for both, neither went above 7%.

Okay, now it's time to get to what this drive is truly meant for. Burning CD's! For the test I made an ISO image of one of my CD's which was 677MB / 693,662KB. For burning I used Nero Burning Rom software because it times the burn for you from start to finish. I used the same brand of CD-R's in both drives (not that that should make a difference, but just to keep things consistant).

Burning Times For 677MB / 693,662KB
HP 9110i (8x): 10 minutes 16 seconds
Plextor 24/10/40A (24x): 4 minutes 8 seconds

Contrary to popular belief, a 24x burner doesn't burn the entire CD at a full 24x, instead most use what is called, "Zone CLV". Zone CLV technology will divide the recordable area of a disc into separate speed zones. In each zone, recording will be performed at a constant speed with optimized precision. The recording is started at the beginning of the disc at a constant speed in the first zone. After a pre-defined time (when the next zone starts) a switch is made to a higher speed. At the switching point, BURN-Proof technology is used to assure a fast, reliable transition with no loss of data. At the same time, Plextor’s unique PoweRec II technology will safeguard the write quality. You can actually hear the CD drive "kick it up a notch" each time it jumps to the next zone. Here's the actual information that a Plextor drive burns at for each zone:

Conclusions:

Talk about being blown away! My very first CD Burner was a Teac 4x SCSI which I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread (back then CD burners were rare and expensive, I had a friend with a 2x which seemed as slow as can be compared to mine). Then when I got my 8x I thought a CD in 10 minutes was pretty darn fast. Now I can burn a CD in about 4 minutes! Not to mention I can rip audio MUCH faster to make my own custom mixes. I was hesitant first about getting a new CD burner right now, especially with the 32x drives coming out soon, but I was able to get this for about $120 after in store coupon and mail in rebate, which made it not that much more than the cheaper 24x brands, so I decided to spring the extra dough for the Plextor name.

This drive does not disappoint! I have not had one coaster thanks to the technology. I can start a burn and do whatever I want without having to worry, I have actually even gone into a game of Counter Strike while a CD was burning and it still did not hiccup.

I think for the price that 24x drives are at, they definitely would make an excellent Christmas present for someone you know (or even yourself)! I am still in awe from the jump from 8x to 24x. I don't have a separate CD-ROM drive, this one doubles as both, and it is plenty fast for the few games I play that require a CD. It is definitely an all round performer. The ONLY complaint I have is the serious flaw with their Plextor Manager 2000 software. I would be VERY hesitant about installing it if you are running Windows 2000. However if you do and it FUBAR's your system, just follow the link above on how to bring back your drives, it's very easy.

Pros:
  Very Fast Burning Speed!
  Technology
  Excellent DAE Speed!

Cons:
  Plextor Manager 2000 installation is buggy
  32x Burners Coming Out After Christmas

Rating:
 
For The Average User: 9 / 10
  For The Extreme Overclocker: 9 / 10

Discuss this article in the Overclockers Forum!

 Also, don't forget about our MEGA Give Away Contest going on all December!

 

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