Logo   Banner   TopRight
TopUnder
Transparent
Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive
Transparent
Date: Nov 11, 2002
Section:Storage
Author: HH Editor
Transparent
The Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive - Page 1

 

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

By, Marco Chiappetta
November 12, 2002

Plextor recently released their newest flagship CD-RW drive, the PlexWriter 48/24/48A.  Obviously, just by looking at the name, it's clear that this drive should offer increased reading and writing speeds over Plextor's previous top-of-line PlexWriter 40/12/40A.  The maximum CD recording speed has been raised to 48X (7.2MB/s), from 40X (6MB/s) and by conforming to the new Ultra-Speed CD-RW standard, re-writing speeds have doubled from 12X (1.8MB/s) to 24X (3.6MB/s).  Plextor also claims that access times have been vastly improved over their previous products.  Needless to say, we wanted to see for ourselves just how significantly these improvements affected "real-world" performance, so we jumped at the chance to review Plextor's finest.  What do you say we jump right in and see what the PlexWriter 48/24/48A is made of?

Specifications of the Plextor PX-W4824TA
Speed Demon!
Part # (retail kits):
  • PX-W4824TA/SW (internal)
  • PX-W4824TA/SW-BL (black bezel)
  • E-IDE (ATAPI) interface
  • 3-in-1 drive: 48X CD-R, 24X CD-RW, 48X max CD-ROM
  • Burn-Proof
  • PoweRec
  • SpeedRead
  • 65ms Average Random Access
  • 4 MB Buffer
  • Supports:
  • CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-ROM Mode 1, Mix Mode CD, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-I, Multisession, CD-Text, CD+G, UDF
    Supports Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Variable & Fixed packet writing modes
  • Flash ROM allows for easy upgrade over the Internet
  • Windows 98/2000/ME/XP Compatible
  • One-Year Full Warranty and Unlimited Toll-Free Tech Support

Minimum System Requirements:

  • CPU: Pentium II 300MHz
  • RAM: 64MB
  • HDD: 1GB free space for writing in CD to Image mode
  • ATAPI interface: DMA must be set to ON in every OS. For instructions on how to enable DMA inside operating system. Refer to your motherboard manual on how to set PIO Mode or DMA Mode.
  • (Results may vary depending on system configuration)

CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW
    

Included with the Plextor PlexWriter PX-W4824TA full retail package, we found the following list of accessories:

  • 1 - 40-Pin 40-Wire Ribbon Cable
  • 1 - CD Audio Cable
  • 1 - High Speed Certified CD-R
  • Users Guide
  • Software CD
  • Mounting Screws

         

The PX-W4824TA offers a few new features that haven't been available on any other Plextor drive to come before it.  For example, this is the first Plextor CD-RW drive with full Mount Rainier support.  The Mount Rainier standard was established by Philips, Compaq, Sony and Microsoft in an effort to find a replacement for the floppy drive, that is both widely compatible and easy to use. (For a full explanation, on Mount Rainier technology, check out this page)  If you take a close look at the specifications, you'll also see Plextor reports the PX-W4824TA as having a 65ms Average Random Access time, which is about twice as fast as their previous top of line 40X product.

Some proven technology found it's way into the PlexWriter PX-W4824TA as well.  This drive has Burn-Proof technology to prevent buffer underrun errors and to allow for more reliable multi-tasking during a recording session.  Plextor's proprietary PoweRec (Plextor Optimized Writing Error Reduction Control) technology has also been integrated.  PoweRec enabled drives basically have an on-board media catalog of all certified media, listed by manufacturer and part number.  This information is used to properly configure the drive for optimal burning on the specific media.  Plextor's black CD tray also returns on the PX-W4824TA.  Plextor claims the black tray absorbs reflected laser light, which increases reliability and reduces the chance of possible errors.

Quality, Features and Installation

 

Transparent
The Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive - Page 2

 

 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

Transparent
Plextor 48x24x48 CDRW Drive Page 3


Content Property of HotHardware.com