Plextor PlexWriter 16/10/40A CDRW Drive - HotHardware

Plextor PlexWriter 16/10/40A CDRW Drive

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The Plextor PlexWriter 16/10/40A CD-RW Drive
Quick cuts and speedy reads...

4/4/01 - By  Dave Altavilla

You've got to love the PC and PC Peripherals Market.  I don't know of any other industry that releases new products and technology with such a fevered pace, such that obsolescence is a way of life, with next generation product always waiting in the wings to perform the proverbial "leap frog" maneuver.  There is one thing for certain.  In this business, you skip a beat and you might as well hand in your pink slip, because the game can be over in the blink of an eye. 

The product we're going to look at here is indicative of the level of execution that most manufacturers must hit with product development cycles.  Plextor, known for years as a company that produces top notch CD and CD-RW drives, has upped the anti once again with their new 16X capable CD-RW drive.  Boasting the ability to burn a full CD in about 5 minutes, we decided to put Plextor's best to the test.

Specifications / Features Of The PlexWriter 16/10/40A
Born to burn

  • E-IDE (ATAPI-4) interface

  • "Burn Proof" Technology - Eliminates buffer under-run errors and allows for better multi-tasking in the Windows environment while creating a new disc.

  • 3-in-1 drive: 16X CD-R, 10X CD-RW, 40X max CD-ROM

  • 140ms Average Random Access

  • 2 MB Buffer

  • Capable of Digital Audio Extraction at 40X max

  • Supports CD-DA; CD-ROM (Mode 1); CD-ROM (Mixed Mode); CD-ROM XA (Mode 2, Form 1 and Form 2 and Mixed Form; CD-I; Photo CD; Video CD; CD-Extra; CD+G; CD Text

  • Compatible with a large number of CD-R and CD-RW media

  • Flash ROM allows for easy upgrade over the Internet

  • Windows 95/98/2000/ME and NT4.0 Compatible

  • Supports Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Variable & Fixed packet writing modes

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Other than the obvious 16X write performance the drive is claiming, this drive also has impressive 10X re-write capabilities as well as snappy 40X read figures.  You'll also notice the PlexWriter 16/10/40A has a nice large 2MB data buffer.   In addition, Plextor'
s "Burn Proof" technology promises that you'll be able to multi-task during a burn session and do things like surf the web and send email, without hitting dreaded "buffer under-runs" that will leave you with a drink coaster for a CD instead of the data CD you were trying to create.  That is a fairly impressive claim and we'll prove it out in the pages to come.

Physically, the drive looks much the same as the 8/4/32 PlexWriter we reviewed here not long ago.  There are some subtle differences however.  For one the CD tray itself is slightly 'beefier" than the 8/4/32 drive.  My pet peeve on that product was the fact that the face plate on the tray actually broke off and was somewhat flimsy.  On the 16/10/40A, the tray is much more solid and even the motor and tray mechanism seemed more rugged.  Thank you Plextor, for hearing our plea.  Finally, there is a small Nidec fan in the back of the 16/10/40A that was not present in their 8X burner.  What does this tell you?  Well, for one thing the drive can heat up a bit when under a load and writing at 16X speeds.  We only heard it spin up once in our testing and it doesn't run constantly.

Well then, let's get down to business.

Setup, Installation and  Software

 

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