Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive - HotHardware

Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive

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 The Plextor 48x24x48 CD-RW Drive
Burning CDs Faster Than Ever Before...

By, Marco Chiappetta
November 12, 2002

If you've ever installed a CD-ROM drive, you shouldn't have any trouble whatsoever installing the Plextor PX-W4824TA.  To illustrate the physical installation of the drive itself, we'll re-use a diagram that debuted in Dave's review of Plextor's 16X CD-RW.

Basically, the only things you need to concern yourself with are mounting the drive, configuring the "Master / Slave / Cable Select" jumper and properly aligning the data, audio and power cables.  As is the case with all ATAPI devices, there are virtually no drivers that have to be installed manually if you plan on using the drive in a Windows environment.  We tested the Plextor PX-W4824TA on a machine equipped with Windows XP.  We connected the drive, booted into Windows and it was properly detected within seconds.  One re-boot later and we were ready to burn...

Setup and Software of the Plextor PX-W4824TA
Piece of Cake

The Plextor PX-W4824TA ships with a very complete software bundle, but unfortunately it left us feeling a bit unsatisfied.  Late model Plextor drives shipping within the United States include a "Basic Edition" of Roxio's Easy CD Creator 5 and DirectCD.

ROXIO'S Easy CD CREATOR 5 & Direct CD
         

All things considered, Easy CD Creator 5 is a powerful CD authoring package, that is relatively easy to use.  However, some users, especially those with Windows XP, have experienced a wide range of problems with Easy CD Creator 5, ranging from illegal operations to corrupted Windows installations.  In all fairness, we personally did not have any problems with the version included with the PX-W4824TA, so we can't hold anything against Plextor, but we wish they would have included a copy of Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM instead.  Nero is a less bloated, more powerful software package that is more "Tweaker Friendly" than Easy CD Creator.  FYI, Plextor drives shipping in Europe come with a copy of Nero.  We hope Plextor US takes note and updates their bundle with future products.

CLICK N DESIGN LABEL MAKER, SIMPLI CD & PLEXTOR'S LIQUID PLAYER
          

There are a few other useful utilities bundled with the Plextor PX-W4824TA as well.  There is a trial version of Click N Design included, which is an easy to use CD label maker.  There are also "lite" versions of Simpli CD and Plextor's Liquid Player included.  Simpli CD is a small application that can be used for quickly duping CDs or ripping MP3s.  Liquid Player is basically an alternative to Windows Media Player.  It gives users the ability to rip CDs and play a wide variety of audio file formats.

HotHardware Test Systems
Ton's of Goodies!

 

Soyo P4X400 DRAGON Motherboard
Pentium 4 2.8GHz

512MB GEiL PC3500 (2-2-2-5-2)

2 WD ATA100 7200RPM 80GB HD (RAID-0)

ATi RADEON 9700 Pro

Lite-On 16X DVD

Standard Floppy Drive

Windows XP Professional

DirectX 8.2

ATi Catalyst Drivers

VIA 4-in-1s 4.43v(a)P3

 

Plextor 48x12x48 CD-RW

Plextor 40x12x40A CD-RW

Utilities and Media Used For Testing

  • SiSoft SANDRA

  • Nero Burning ROM 5.5.9.17

  • Nero InfoTool

  • Nero CD Speed

  • Nero Express for MP3 Encoding

  • An audio CD 53:14 in Length

  • A 600MB ZIP File for Data Copy Test

  • A Retail Quake 3 CD

  • TDK CD-Rs

 

CD-ROM Performance Tests - Plextor PX-W4824TA
Stop! NERO Time!

Nero InfoTool:

PLEXTOR 48X24X48                    PLEXTOR  40X12X40
             

We used Nero's handy InfoTool to get a quick description of the Plextor PX-W4824TA's capabilities.  For the sake of comparison, we have included an InfoTool description from a Plextor PX-W4012TU as well.  As you can see the only differences reported between these two drives are the maximum write speeds and the Mount Rainier support on the 48X model.  Something you may find peculiar is that the maximum read speed is reported as 40X for the PX-W4824TA.  This is because the drive defaults to 40X reading to prevent excessive vibration when maximum reading speeds are unnecessary.  Plextor is billing this as a safety feature because there have been numerous reports of CDs shattering inside high-speed CD-ROM drives.  To enable 48X reading, or "SpeedRead" as Plextor calls it, users will have to hold the eject button for three seconds when inserting a CD into the drive.

Our actual benchmarking begins with the built-in CD/DVD File System test found in the SiSoft SANDRA 2002 suite.  If you try to replicate these test results, keep in mind that you will probably see varying scores depending on the type of CD you use when testing.  We used a retail copy of Quake 3 Arena in the data transfer tests and a 53 minute audio CD-R that was burned at 40X on a Plextor PX-W4012TU.

SiSoft SANDRA:

PLEXTOR 48X24X48                    PLEXTOR  40X12X40
              

There is no clear advantage for either drive in the SANDRA CD/DVD File System benchmark.  The 48X drive did hold a slight lead, but it was nothing to write home about.  We tested the PX-W4824TA at both 40X and 48X and did not see any differences in performance with the SANDRA benchmark.  We should mention that throughout our testing we set the PX-W4824TA to read CDs at 48X.

Nero CD Speed - Data:

PLEXTOR 48X24X48                                  PLEXTOR  40X12X40
   

Next we used Nero CD Speed to test the performance of these drives reading a data CD and had some interesting results.  The 40X drive managed to outperform the 48X model by very small margins in the beginning, ending and average transfer rate tests.  The 40X drive also had slightly lower CPU utilization across the board, but take a look at those seek times!  The PX-W4824TA murdered its older brother, with seek times roughly half that of the 40X drive.  One thing these tests do not show is that the PX-W4824TA is significantly louder than its 40X counterpart.  With certain CDs, when this drive was spinning at maximum speed, it vibrated so much I initially thought there was a problem with the mechanism! 

More Nero and MP3 Encoding

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