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Plextor PX-W1210TS - CD-ROM Performance Results

  November 30, 2000 Author: Tim Zakharov  

For an overview on methodology, click here.

CD-ROM Performance Results

Low-Level Measurements

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Plextor specifies 150 ms random accesses and 14X-32X sustained read speeds. We measured access times at 141 ms, while sustained transfer rates were pegged at 16X-33X. Both numbers are right about where they should be. Notice how closely the 12/10/32S figures are to its ATAPI brother (PX-W1210TA). Let's see if this trend continues.

CD-ROM Winmark 99

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Our Plextor review unit averaged 1068 in our CD-ROM Winmark test, about 21% behind Ricoh's MP9120A in our comparison. This score also places the 12/10/32S only 4% behind the ATAPI Plextor, maintaining their neck-and-neck race in the read tests. Will they begin to separate themselves in the file and disc copy tests? Let's find out.

File and Disc Copy

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The Plextor 12/10/32S distinguishes itself as the fastest in the file copy test in our comparisons. Its speedy copy time of just under 3:10 is less than 3% better than the 2nd place Ricoh, and a bit over 3% better than the 12/10/32A. While such differences are measurable, it is highly doubtful that one could ever feel them.

In the disc copy test, where random access speeds have some influence, the 12/10/32S finishes in 2nd place, 5% behind the MP9120A and its quick access times. Still, the new Plextor keeps a nearly indistinguishable edge over its ATAPI brother.

As we near the end of our read tests, we now examine the 12/10/32S's audio extraction abilities.

Digital Audio Extraction

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According to Plextor's spec sheet the 12/10/32S reads CD-DAs at 14X-24X P-CAV, but our tests show the drive to in fact extract digital audio at 32X max. We've seen Plextor do this with their 40X max CD-ROM drive in the past, so we aren't too surprised at the "bonus" extraction speeds. Besides, Plextor's Director of Engineering gave us the heads-up in an email prior to testing, so they're obviously aware of the drive's capabilities. Perhaps the extra speeds were tweaked out after specs were announced.

While our test unit topped out at just over 31X at the outer edge of our test CD-DA (28% faster than the 12/10/32A), average extraction rates across the entire CD-DA were just under 24X, only 8% higher than the 2nd place 12/10/32A. This is because the P-CAV method used on the 12/10/32A extracts at identical speeds to the 12/10/32S for the first 30 minutes of a CD-DA, whereas the SCSI Plextor continues on to 32X while the ATAPI model is capped at 24X (Note: Plextor released a new firmware for the 12/10/32A on 11/27/00 that increases DAE speeds to 32X max, just like the 12/10/32S). Put simply, the more full an audio CD is, the more the 12/10/32S pulls away from the 12/10/32A when extracting from said CD. To illustrate, click here to see the two DAE graphs side-by-side.

Plextor maintains their image as a top-notch audio extractor with the 12/10/32S. Our quality tests produced a perfect 10 in CDSpeed99 with support for accurate streaming. CDDAE99 confirmed CDSpeed99's results with extraction rates approaching 32X on the final track, with no extraction errors detected. In our subjective listening tests of extracted .wav files, everything sounded great, with no detectable pops, etc. In short, the 12/10/32S is one of the top audio extractors we've ever seen, and the absolute best of the burners we've so far tested.

CD-R Media Compatibility and Performance

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There were no issues with CD-R readability that we could find with our Plextor review sample. Our TDK test CD-R reads at speeds identical to our pressed test CD. Random access times were measured a bit quicker at 135 ms. Finally, there were no issues with reading from our 700 MB Imation CD-R (in fact, the extra capacity yielded read speeds nearing 34X at the outer edge).

CD-RW Media Compatibility and Performance

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Ditto with CD-RW tests, though the 12/10/32S does slow down to 12X-24X CAV speeds when reading CD-RW media, just like the 12/10/32A. Plextor's latest had no problem with reading CD-RW media from Sony, Memorex or Verbatim.

Lastly, we recently found TDK high-speed CD-RW media available at a local computer store, so we snatched up a 5-pack to aid in testing. Beginning with this drive, we will use this media for all of our high speed -RW tests. We burned a copy of our low-level pressed CD test disc (see our methodology page for further details) to one of these -RWs and found that the 12/10/32S read from it at 12X-24X CAV speeds, just like it read from our 4X CD-RW media.

Now that we've completed our presentation of this drive's reading performance, let's move on to the burning tests.

 Write/ReWrite Performance Results...


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