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Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CDRW Drive
Date: Dec 15, 2001
Author: HH Editor
The Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CDRW Drive - Page 1

The Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CD-RW Drive
The perennial CD Burn King steps it up a notch

10/8/01 - By  Dave Altavilla

It seems like only yesterday we were showing you the performance and quality of Plextor's 16X Burner.  However, like most PC technologies, perpetual and incremental performance enhancement, is a requirement to survive in the High Tech jungle.  Plextor, world renowned for top quality high performance recordable drives, is not about to sit on its collective laurels while the competition passed by. 

Soon after the release of the Plextor 16X recorder, we had gotten wind that 20X drives, from the likes of Richo, Acer and Yamaha, were waiting in the wings.  It took Plextor less than 5 months to deliver their answer to that call, the PlexWriter 24/10/40A.  This is our take on this exciting new Plextor Burner that promises to burn a full CD in the 4 minute range.

Specifications / Features Of The PlexWriter 24/10/40A
Turning and Burning

  • 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.

  • "PoweRec II", an exclusive Plextor technology, guarantees the highest quality write across a broad base of media

  • 3-in-1 drive: 24X CD-R, 10X CD-RW, 40X max CD-ROM

  • 140ms Average Random Access

  • 4 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

Click images for full view

Upon inspection of the feature set for the 24/10/40A, you'll notice that the on board Memory Buffer has been double from 2MB on the 16/10/40A, to 4MB on this 24X unit.  Of course, this buffer is also backed up by Plextor's patented "Burn Proof" technology, which allows for the ability to multi-task while burning a ROM and yet still produce a perfect disc, versus the proverbial drink "coaster".

PowerREC II:

Finally, Plextor introduces us to yet another first in CD Recordable Technology, "PowerREC II".  Frankly, we never heard of even PowerREC #1 for that matter.  However, this seems to be a solution to a problem with CD-R drives, since their introduction.  For many years, end users have relayed stories of specific CD Media that was basically useless in particular CD-RW drive.  Perhaps it was just a bad case of the "flakies" or outright refusal to burn at a decent speed without totally wasting an otherwise perfectly good CD-R.  Many times, there were certain brands of CD-R discs that just weren't friendly to certain CD-RW drives.  Plextor's answer to that is "PowerREC II". 

Here's what Plextor claims this technology delivers.

"All Plextor CD-RW drives contain a media catalog of all certified media, listed by manufacturer and part number. This catalog is stored in ROM and is used to set the appropriate "Write Strategy" for the disc being recorded. This feature not only enables the drive to successfully burn a disc at high-speed, but assures the user that the disc has been written as precisely as possible, improving the playback ability on all other CD drives, even those of poorer quality. This assurance comes even though the disc media itself might contain some imperfections.

Plextor's 24/10/40A CD-RW drive also features a highly sophisticated algorithm that checks the quality of the media at each stage of its Z-CLV write process. Once a zone has been reached, the drive will optimize its laser power to begin writing at the highest speed possible, while maintaining superb write quality. A feedback mechanism, controlled by firmware, monitors the results of the write process for conformity."

There you have it folks.  Does this sound to you like a little marketing spin or real innovation?  We have an inkling that it is a little of both but we'll let you be the judge.

Let's see how these new features pan out in our testing.


Setup, Installation and  Software


The Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CDRW Drive - Page 2

The Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CD-RW Drive
The perennial CD Burn King steps it up a notch

10/8/01 - By  Dave Altavilla

Installation of this drive couldn't be easier.  As with any CD drive, there are several connectors to consider during installation.  A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, so we'll just point you to the wiring diagram from our PlexWriter 16/10/40A article, since it shows exactly the same hook up scheme.

Click image for full view


Installation and Software
Plextor's bundle is strong but we would rather Nero's software

Plextor includes a well rounded bundle of CD Burning software from what is now Roxio Corp product.  Formerly from Adaptec, Easy CD Creator 5 Basic is the CD Authoring Software of choice for Plextor.

Roxio CD Creator 5 and Direct CD

These are certainly full featured and useful utilities for setting up and burning CDs to your hearts content.  Direct CD specifically allows you to format a CD for drag and drop addition of data, like any standard removable drive.  Once you are though adding files, just eject the CD and before the tray pops out, you are prompted with a dialog box that asks you how you would like to close the session.  You can then leave the CD open for future burning and set it up to be recognizable on any standard CD drive.

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.

Hot Hardware's Test System
Mid range Pentium 4 performance

- Pentium 4 1.5GHz. Processor
- Abit TH7II-RAID Motherboard

- 256MB of Samsung PC800 RAMBUS DRDRAM,

- IBM DTLA307030 30Gig ATA100 7200 RPM Hard Drive

- nVidia GeForce 3 64MB AGP Graphics Card,

- Intel 100tx PCI NIC, 56K PCI Modem

- Sound Blaster Live Sound Card,

- Pioneer 10X/40X DVD/CD ROM Drive,

- Plextor 24/10/40A CD-RW Drive

- Plextor 16/10/40A CD-RW Drive

- Windows 2000 Professional SP2

- Direct X 8.0a and nVidia reference drivers version 21.80

- Intel chipset drivers version 3.029


Benchmarks  with The PlexWriter 24/10/40A
Simple read performance

The first area we'll look at is the read performance of this drive.  SiSoft Sandra will give us a baseline metric versus our Pioneer DVD-104S drive.

    Pioneer 10X DVD / 40X CD                      Plextore PlexWriter 24/10/40A

Here the 24X Burner/40X CD-ROM from Plextor rivals a 10X DVD/40X CD-ROM drive from Pioneer.  We know this Pioneer drive has solid middle of the pack performance and Sandra shows it running at an average of 21X speed across the disc.  The Plextor 24/10/40A manages to pull off 22X performance, just edging out the Pioneer 40X drive.

Sandra scores only tell a fraction of the story however.  Let's look into things a little more.


CD Speed, Write/Re-Write Performance and the rating

The Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CDRW Drive - Page 3
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