Specifications according to Plextor :
- Maximum write speeds of 24X Zone CLV
- Maximum rewrite speeds of 10X CLV
- Packet-writing speeds of 10X CLV
- CD read speeds of 40X CAV
- Digital audio extraction speeds of 40X CAV
- 4096 KB buffer
- 140 ms average random access time
- ATAPI/ATA-33 interface
- 1-year Warranty (2 years in Europe)
Notable are the 4 MB buffer (double most competitors') and the ATA-33 interface. Plextor's previous burner offered an ATAPI/DMA-2 interface.
Plextor's implementation of Zone CLV begins at 16X until 6 minutes into the disc before jumping to 20X. 20X is maintained until the 16-minute mark, at which point the drive ramps up to 24X where it stays for the remainder of the burn. The zone locations are optimized to keep drive RPMs at safe levels (below 8600 RPM) to ensure maximum write quality.
What about PoweRec-II? PoweRec stands for Plextor Optimized Writing Error Reduction Control. The original PoweRec debuted on the 16X Plextor and served to optimize write quality by identifying and testing the disc prior to writing, then monitoring the write quality in real-time during the burn process. PoweRec-II furthers this by testing the write quality at the end of each zone to determine whether to continue writing at the same speed or to increase write speed. Plextor has an excellent flowchart on their European site detailing this process. Note that PoweRec-II is an automatic feature that cannot be disabled in our Nero Burning ROM test software.
For more information, click here to see Plextor's online product page.
The retail box contents include:
- The drive
- Roxio Easy CD Creator 5.0 and DirectCD 5.0
- Plextor Manager 2000 Software Suite
- One Plextor 650 MB CD-R blank
- One Verbatim 650 MB High-Speed CD-RW blank
- Foldout installation poster
- 62 page Operations Manual
- 64 page Plextor Manager 2000 Users' Guide
- 40-conductor IDE cable
- Bag containing 4 mounting screws, 1 extra jumper and 1 emergency eject pin
- Warranty registration card
About the only thing missing is an audio cable. Plextor likely omits it because nearly all sound cards come with one already, but given that most other retail optical drive packages include one, we consider it a slight oversight.
The drive face is identical to the PX-W1610TA save for the speed rating printed on the right side. The plastic is molded with a slightly grainy texture that provides a subtle difference from your everyday OEM drive. Like the PX-W1610TA, the tray mechanism ejects a bit more slowly than most drives.
The rear of the drive sports a cooling fan and digital audio out in addition to standard optical drive connectors. The two pins on the far left will drop the drive to PIO-4/DMA-2 in the event problems are experienced at ATA-33 interface speeds. This would likely happen only on older systems that do not have robust UDMA support.
One last noteworthy item is the sheer weight of the drive. Though SR has not brought scales into its testing regimen, the drive feels substantially heavier than most internal optical drives.
The drive arrived with firmware revision 1.00. No updates were available during the evaluation period.
In terms of noise, the PX-W2410TA is roughly equal to its predecessor. This makes it one of the quietest CD-RWs we have tested - in both reads and writes. Write speed changes at the various zones are nearly inaudible in sharp contrast to the Ricoh MP7200A's easily audible RPM ramp-ups. The 24X Plextor also does a good job of keeping heat levels low. Could this be related to the built-in fan on the rear of the drive? We'd wager in the affirmative.
Current online pricing is as low as $225. This places it about $10 higher than TDK's 24X model. Lite-On's 24X offering can be had for as much as $75 less ($150 for the retail package), as can Sanyo's 24x10x40 OEM bare drive.
CD-ROM Performance Results...