Plextor PlexWriter 48/24/48U External HiSpeed USB 2.0 CDRW - HotHardware

Plextor PlexWriter 48/24/48U External HiSpeed USB 2.0 CDRW

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The Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40U External Hi-Speed USB 2.0 CD-RW Drive
Speedy Burning On The Go

Jay Gibson
December 29, 2002

As with most USB products, installation couldn't be easier thanks to USB's plug 'n' play support in WinXP.  If you want to take full advantage of this drives performance, you'll need a motherboard that supports the USB2.0 standard interface, which will afford you a full 480Mb/sec bandwidth, versus USB 1.1 at on 12Mb/sec.  When we installed the drive all we did was, connect the power supply to the back of the drive, turn on the power (switch located at the back of the unit), connect the USB cable, and then sat back and let windows take care of the rest. One reboot later, to double-check that drive was being recognized in Windows, and we were up and running.

 

 
Installation and Software
The bundle is good, but we can see where some improvements can be made...

Plextor included quite a well-rounded bundle of CD Burning software from Roxio Corp.  Formerly produced by Adaptec, Easy CD Creator 5 Basic is the CD Authoring Software of choice for Plextor. Personally we would have liked to see Plextor USA to take note from their European counterpart and ship their drives with Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM instead. We make this decision based upon the problems that some users, especially those with Windows XP, have experienced with Easy CD Creator 5, ranging from illegal operations to corrupted Windows installations (more in-depth listing of problems).

Roxio CD Creator 5 and Direct CD
   

However, we personally did not experience any problems with Easy CD Creator 5 basic during our trials. Easy CD Creator is certainly a full-featured and useful tool for creating music CD's, backups and easy formatting, thanks to Direct CD. When using Direct CD, the drive formats the CD for "drag and drop" addition of data just like any other standard removable drive. Once you are done moving files to the CD just presses the eject button and you will be prompted with a dialog box asking how you would like to close the session. You can either leave it open for further burning at a later time, or close it completely so it will be recognized by other standard CD drives.

Roxio CD Creator 5 Music Compilation


 

CD Creator 5 will allow you to simply copy from a CD to a CD-R or allow you to plan and layout your data or music, within its CD Project mode.  The user interface is simple and intuitive.  It also does a nice job of letting you know how much room you have left on your recordable, as well as letting you shift the order of files or tracks.  However, all told we prefer Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM software suite, for its overall improved stability and ease of use.  Regardless, the Roxio suite that Plextor bundles in, is no slouch either.

       

There are also a few other "useful" utilities bundled in with the retail package. The trial version of "Click N' Design", which is an easy to use CD label maker, the "Lite" version of "Simpli CD", which enables the user to duplicate CD's or rip MP3's and lastly, Plextor's "Liquid Player", which is very similar to Windows Media Player. 

 

Hot Hardware's Test System
Mid range Pentium 4 performance

 

 

The Specs

  • Pentium 4 1.8GHz. Processor

  • Asus P4B533-E Motherboard

  • 256MB Micron DDR SDRam

  • 30 Gigabyte Samsung HD

  • Joytech - Devil Monster II Radeon 8500 LE 128MB

  • Hercules Digifire 7.1 Digital Sound Card

  • Pioneer DVD-116 Drive,

  • Windows XP Pro with SP1

  • Direct X 8.1 and ATi Reference Drives Version 6.13.10.6094

 

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 74:53 m/s in Length 

  • A 600MB ZIP File for Data Copy Test 

  • Various CD-R Media


 

 

Benchmarks  with The PlexWriter 40/12/40U
Tonight in the center ring... Internal vs. External...

Nero InfoTool:

 

Plextor 48x24x48U

Plextor 48x24x48A

First off, we used Nero's nifty little "InfoTool" to snag a quick description of the PX-W4824TU/SW (External) capabilities. For comparison, we have chosen to include the InfoTool reading that we obtained from the Plextor  PX-W4824TA.  As you can see there is no difference between the two drives besides the Firmware versions. The one thing that you may find a bit odd is the maximum read speed of both drives is reported as 40x. This is not a mistake, Plextor has set this as a "safety" measure to aid in excessive vibration and to limit the chance of CD's shattering when max read speeds are reached. But don't worry, you can override this and enable 48x read speeds, or "SpeedRead" as Plextor calls it. Simply press and hold the eject button for three seconds while inserting a CD into the drive (SpeedRead activation is indicated by the green light blinking 4 times).

For the following set of benchmarks a retail copy of Quake 3 was used for the data transfer tests and a 73 min audio CD for the audio transfer tests.

SiSoft SANDRA:

 

Plextor 48x24x48U

Plextor 48x24x48A

As you can see from the scores above, the external drive actually beat out the internal by 387 kB/s in the SANDRA CD/DVD File System benchmark. This is kind of surprising considering external drives are typically a little slower. We should note that both drives had "SpeedRead" enabled throughout all of our testing.


Nero CD Speed - Data:

 

Plextor 48x24x48U

Plextor 48x24x48A

For the next test, we fired up "Nero CD Speed" to test the overall performance of these drives reading while using a data CD. The external drive managed to outperform the internal drive in this part of the test with the exception of CPU usage and and Burst Rate. The reason for the difference is still because of the extra bit of processing required to transfer the data back and forth, thus the increase in the CPU usage and lower Burst speeds.

 

More Nero and MP3 Encoding

 
   

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