Specifications as gleaned from Plextor's manual and website:
- Maximum write speeds of 16X CLV
- Maximum rewrite speeds of 10X CLV
- Packet-writing speeds of 10X CLV
- CD read speeds of 17X-40X CAV
- Digital audio extraction speeds of 40X max
- 2 MB buffer
- 140 ms average random access time
- PIO Mode 4/DMA Mode 2 interface
For more information, click here to see Plextor's online product page.
A wide assortment of accessories is included in the retail package. We especially like the large, foldout poster that provides installation instructions for Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, and ME. The other side of this poster holds a quick reference sheet for Plextor Manager 2000, Plextor's unique utility software suite. The rest of the contents:
- 1 blank CD-R disc
- 1 blank CD-RW disc
- An IDE cable
- A bag containing 4 screws, a spare shunt, and an emergency eject pin
- 60 page drive manual
- 66 page Plextor Manager 2000 manual
- Adaptec Easy CD Creator and DirectCD burning software
- Plextor Manager 2000 utility software
- Adobe Acrobat
- 18 mp3 songs from various unknown artists
- Warranty registration card
Notably missing is an audio cable. Most drives (even OEMs) include one of these...we guess Plextor assumes that if you have a soundcard, you have an audio cable. Still, it seems that a manufacturer of Plextor's repute should be including such small touches in their retail package.
Finally, the rest of the drive's vitals: Plextor again includes a digital audio-out next to the standard analog out. There is a single LED on the front that shows solid green when power is on and a disc is in the drive, solid yellow during initialization and disc reading, and blinking orange when writing. Also included is a cooling fan on the back of the drive. To our knowledge this is the first time Plextor has included a fan on one of their ATAPI burners; previously fans were reserved for their high-end SCSI line.
The drive arrived with firmware revision 1.00. No updates were available as of this review.
Plextor's newest burner is also their loudest. While noise levels during full-RPM operation are nowhere near Yamaha's CRW2100 series, they are a noticeable step up from the silent PX-W1210 series. This may be an inevitable consequence of the increased RPMs needed to drive read speeds from 32X max to 40X max. Thankfully the drive is silent when writing; increased noise levels occur only during high-speed reads.
The drive's cool operation under unrealistically stressful conditions also impresses us. After over 20 repeated CD Winbench 99 access time trials we cannot tell if the top of the drive warms at all beyond its power-off temperature. The bottom of the drive feels only slightly warm.
The retail box currently runs about $225 through retail channels. This compares favorably to other 16X writers on the market: Yamaha's CRW2100E goes for $220, while TDK's veloCD 16/10/40 is $260.
Let's see how this drive performs as a CD reader.
CD-ROM Performance Results...