Setup of the PleXCombo 8/8/24-8U
As an external
drive, the PleXCombo 8/8/24-8U is obviously suited best for
environments that demand portability. Weighing in at
1.1 pounds, the drive certainly doesn't add much to a laptop
case and it's slim dimensions (5.55"x.87"x6.73") make for
easy carrying. Plextor includes a power adapter as
well as an AC power cord for connection to a standard 120V
wall socket. Additionally, a USB cord comes bundled.
While the external PleXCombo drive is designed for operation
with a USB 2.0 port, it also functions connected to a USB
1.1 controller. Unfortunately, performance drops to 4x
write, 4x re-wrie, 6x read and .7x DVD read.
hardware compatibility of Windows XP makes it easy to setup
an external disk drive. Simply, the 8/8/24-8U is
connected to a power source, plugged into an available USB
slot, and turned on. Windows XP detects the drive,
installs the necessary drivers and finalizes the setup.
Windows 98 SE users will need to install supplementary USB
drivers, but for the most part, setup is truly a piece of
Like many of
Plextor's other CD-RW drives, the 8/8/24-8U drive utilizes a
black CD tray, which purportedly absorbs excess laser light.
According to Plextor, the dark tray consequently minimizes
jitter and increases reliability. Optimized power
circuits also help eliminate electrical noise, further
reducing the effect of jitter.
Many of the
other features offered by Plextor's internal drives are not
available with the 8/8/24-8U, like PowerRec, VariRec, and
SpeedRead. However, the most important feature, Buffer
Under Run Proof technology, is present and accounted for.
Enthusiasts that consider themselves early-adopters will
remember the frustration of writing a CD while trying to
multi-task, only to have the burn process fail due to the
internal buffer running out of data. Should the
8/8/24-8U's 2MB buffer run out of data (which is less likely
to happen at 8x recording than it would for faster, 48x
internal drives), the drive will track the occurrence and
resume writing once the buffer is refilled rather than
return an error. The Buffer Under Run protection
allows you to start recording and go back to browsing the
Internet, typing a term paper or balancing the checkbook.
HotHardware Test Systems
CD-RW Grudge Match
ASUS P4T533 i850E
Intel 2.2GHz Pentium 4
512MB RIMM 4200 RDRAM
Seagate Cheetah 10k RPM
ATI All-In-Wonder 8500
Windows XP Professional
Utilities and Media Used For Testing
Nero CD Speed
A 644MB data CD was used for transfer testing
The Ladies Man was used for DVD testing
CD-ROM Performance Tests -
Did Somebody Say
Nero InfoTool utility outlines the pertinent features of
each drive in a manner easy to digest. For the sake of
comparison, we used TDK's internal 24/10/40x CD-RW.
Obviously, the internal drive is faster, but note that the
8/8/24-8U can also read DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and
DVD+RW discs. Both drives allow for buffer under-run
protection, but the Plextor drive clearly supports several
extra write modes.
Nero CD Speed:
Along with InfoTool, the retail
Nero Burning ROM package also includes the CD Speed
benchmarking utility. The first test the application
runs is a pure speed test. Starting at under 5x
transfer speeds, we expected the Plextor drive to increase
quickly in order to peak at the rated 24x read speed.
However, 10.4x was the most the 8/8/24-8U would deliver.
In comparison, the internal TDK drive pumped out the
expected 40x read speeds. Both drives scored
disappointing results in the Burst Speed test - the TDK
drive bursting 1MB per second and the Plextor drive topping
out at 250KB per second. Finally, the 8/8/24-8U
consumed significantly higher processor resources,
especially as speeds increased from 4x to 8x.
File Transfer, DVD Testing