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Appeared on: Monday, February 18, 2002
Plextor UltraPleX PX-40TS SCSI CD-ROM


1. Installation

Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD ROM - Page 1

This is one of the best seller Scsi CD ROMs around. It has very good DAE & Data performance. Many people wonder why they should buy it over an IDE CD Rom since it is more expensive from them..Find out by reading the review..

CD Rom Specifications:

Interface

Ultra SCSI

Transfer Rate

17X-40X CAV read
(2550KB/s - 6000KB/s Data Transfer Rate)

Functions

Multi Read, Horizontal & Vertical Mount, Analog output, Plug & Play/ SCAM Compatible, Flash ROM

Ultra DMA 33

No

Data Buffer

512KB

Supported CD Formats

CD-DA, CD-ROM(MODE-1,MODE-2), CD-ROM XA MODE-2(FORM-1,FORM-2), Multi-Session Photo CD, CD-I, Video-CD, CD Extra, CD+G, CD-RW, CD TEXT

Package:
The Retail version included drive, manual, drivers for Win 3.1 & DOS, some screws, jumpers to force the parameters of the SCSI chain and a small key which allows to force manually the ejection of the CD-ROM if there are some problems, audio connection cable, Scsi cable (for connecting to Scsi Controller), Plextor Manager96 v1.71.

Installation:
Installation was more tricky that IDE CD Roms but also easy. I arranged the SCSI ID number & turned off Scsi Termination. After boot CD Rom intentified as Plextor PX-40TS from DOS & Windows.I unchecked Auto Insert notification and reboot. Since the CD Rom had v1.00 firmware I updated it with latest version v1.01. Also I upgraded the old Plextor Manager 96 to the latest Plextor Manager 2000. All was set and time to start tests..

Test Machine:
ABIT BH6
Celeron 300A over clocked to 464 MHz
128 MB SDRAM PC 100
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA
CL RivaTNT
CL AWE32
MS Windows 98 SE
Plextor UltraPlex 40max, Firmware v1.01, (with Auto Insert Notification & Sync transfer off & on). Plextor Manager 2000 v1.01.2 was running at the background with the 17x-40x Speed Setting and 2 minutes Spindown Time-out Setting.


2. Data Tests

Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD ROM - Page 2

Data Tests

Test Method:
I used CD Speed 99 v0.41b, SCSI Mechanic v2.1h (evaluation version) and SiSoft Sandra 99 v3.5.0 to run Data tests. I run all tests with Sync Data Trasnfer On & Off . All tests done with the same CD.

CD Speed results:        (Speed : Bigger is better,  Seek Times : less is better, CPU Usage : less is better)

Speed (x)

Seek Time (ms)

CPU Usage (%)

Start

Average

End

Random

1/3

Full

1x

2x

4x

8x

Sync Off

18.19

18.22

18.21

87

90

135

5

10

20

41

Sync On

18.67

31.75

41.93

83

92

128

1

3

7

14

Plextor PX-40TS Data Graph (Sync On)

SiSoft Sandra 99 results:

Drive Index

Track Speed (ppm)

Buffered Read (mb/s)

Sequential Read (mb/s)

Random Read (kb/s)

Average Access Time (ms)

Sync Off

2011

10091

93

2.856

744

108

Sync On

3619

19437

110

5

797

113

Plextor PX-40TS Sisoft Sandra Data Graph (Sync On)

SCSI Mechanic results:                                                 (I/O throughput : Bigger is better)

Random I/O
throughput (kb/s)

Sequential I/O
throughput (kb/s)

Same Sector I/O
throughput (kb/s)

Min

Average

Max

Min

Average

Max

Min

Average

Max

Sync Off

509

711

891

1639

2777

2883

1032

1324

1646

Sync On

220

701

888

1987

4709

6572

979

1188

1360

Verdict of Data Tests:
Plextor 40x really gives what it promises. Average transfer rate is 4.7Mb/S and max is 6.5MB/s . As for seeks time it is really fast with 83ms (random). Also since it is a scsi device it has low CPU usage. You have to ebable Sync Data Tranfer for making the drive work in max speed..How good is the performance ? (comparing to other CD Roms..) Into past i had made an roundup between 3 drives (Teac 32x, Plextor 40x, Phillips 48x). If you go there you will check that Plextor performed good..


3. DAE Tests

Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD ROM - Page 3

DAE Tests

CD Speed  results:       (Speed : Bigger is better,  Seek Times : less is better, CPU Usage : less is better)

 

Dae Quality/ Accurate Stream

Speed (x)

Seek Time (ms)

CPU Usage (%)

Start

Average

End

Random

1/3

Full

1x

2x

4x

8x

Sync Off

10 - Yes

15.80

15.77

15.74

81

89

125

9

14

26

51

Sync On

10 - Yes

18.69

23.63

24.20

118

141

126

5

7

11

20

Plextor PX-40TS DAE Graph (Sync on)

Various Rippers Results:

Test Method: I used CDFS, EAC v0.85b, WinDAC32 v1.49 & AudioGrabber v1.50 to test audio capabilities.

Tested CD: The Chemical Brothers "Dig Your Own Hole" - Track :  5 (Setting Sun)

Comparing Method:
- Ripped Track 5 of the CD with Drag & Drop (using CDFS) and with all the other CD Rippers.
- Edited all wavs with Hedit v2.0.04 and located the 2 following bytes (chosen randomly)
- Removed all previous bytes and saved.
- Then in a Dos window compared them using: FC /b x.wav y.wav

Notes:
CDFS Driver and Plextor Manager AudioFS capture speeds were measured using a not-so-accurate way (calculating with the time they took to complete the rip), because the program itself (or the windows explorer ;) ) don't provide any way of speed measurement. They should give you the general idea though...

Programs Settings:
CDFS Driver v4.00.130 : Drag  & Drop
Plextor Manager 2000 Audio Capture :Error Correction 100%
Plextor Manager 2000 AudioFS : Drag  & Drop
EAC v0.85b : Burst & Secure Mode / Rip Speed Default / Allow speed reduction / Error correction medium
WinDAC32  v1.49 : Burst Mode / Rip Speed Default
AudioGrabber v1.50 : Buffered Burst Mode / Rip Speed Default

Program

Average Speed
(Sync Data Transfer Off)
 

Listening
Quality
(Sync Data Transfer Off)
 

Average Speed
(Sync Data Transfer On)

Listening
Quality
(Sync Data Transfer On)

CDFS Driver v4.00.130

41 sec for 56.630kb = 9.20x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

28 sec for 56.630kb=13.48x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

Plextor Manager 2000
Audio Capture

10.3x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

16.0x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

Plextor Manager 2000 AudioFS

21 sec for 56.630 = 17.98x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

20 sec for 56.630 = 18.88x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

EAC v0.85b (burst)

11.9x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

16.0x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

EAC v0.85b (secure)

5.8x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

7.8x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

WinDAC32  v1.49

12.5x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

16.2x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

AudioGrabber  v1.50

12.75x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

16.07x

No clicks..No sec  lost..Seemed ok!

Comparing Results
(Both Sync data transfer off & on)

CDFS Driver v4.00.130

Plextor Manager 2000
Audio Capture

Plextor Manager 2000  AudioFS

EAC Burst

WinDAC32 - Burst (Rip Speed Default)

AudioGrabber
(Rip Speed Default)

EAC Secure

same

same

same

same

FC:  cdfs.wav longer than aud4.wav

same

Verdict of DAE Results:
As anticipated, the Plextor gave out excellent wav files, no matter what program was being used. Into this test max DAE speed was 18.88x but if you try into last tracks of CD you will get up to 24x. Plextor drives includes automatic jitter control which is responsible for high DAE speeds. All files compared perfectly, except the wav files produced by WinDAC32 (failed to give exact file size as all others wav rippers..) AudioFS gave the best possible ripping speed (up to 18.88x). AudioCapture is a little behind as it uses Error Correction method which can reduce the possibility of getting a wav with clicks, pops inside. EAC (burst mode) performed quite as good as Plextor utils.So what Plextor users must use for ripping ? 2 tools..EAC (secure mode) and AudioCapture 2000. Both are the only ripping tools which have error correction routines to reduce errors when ripping wav's..


4. More Plextor Capabilities

Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD ROM - Page 4

More Plextor Capabilities

Using USB Speakers with Digital Audio
Any Windows 98 system equipped with USB speakers, a Plextor drive, and Plextor Manager 2000 can be used to play audio CDs digitally. The data is sent from the Plextor drive directly over the SCSI bus and through a USB port to USB speakers. At this writing, no SCSI CD-based drive and very few ATAPI CD-ROM drives can stream digital audio directly to USB speakers. This makes Plextor CD Roms the only SCSI devices that support this feature.

Why Use Digital Audio?
Normally, your drive transmits an analog signal from its audio output to the sound card. This can be limiting because if you have more then one drive, you don't want to open your computer and re-connect the analog signal wire to another drive just to play a CD. There is a limit as to how many devices can have an analog sound connection to a sound card.

Plextor Manager 2000 and Plextor drives allow you to play digital audio on Windows 98 systems equipped with USB speakers. With this combination of hardware and software, music from a CD is now played digitally over the SCSI bus straight to your USB speakers. This provides you with digital sound, which is much better quality than that from the analog speakers normally used with sound cards. Digital audio also allows for multiple drives to be used as a source, without restrictions caused by cabling.

High Read Retry Count
If you try making an Image of an protected CD (ex. LaserLock protected) with Plextor 40x you must wait some days for finish. So is this really a problem ?No. High read retry count make sure that your data are reading 100% correct. So for normal jobs as reading CDs it's ok. But when you want to work with CDs that contain erros into them you will have big problem. What you can do ?

You can reduce the high default value (10) with Scsi Mechanic . Just go to Device Properties >> Error Recovery >> Current >>Read Retry Count (put 3 or 5). Keep in mind that this change will be lost as soon you reset or close your computer. So you have to do it every time you need to work with CDs that contain errors. Also latest Instand CD Wizard Pro v5.0 MultiCopy has this setting buld in (so no need to have Scsi Mechanic to change it..).


5. Conclusion

Plextor PX-40TS SCSI CD ROM - Page 5

Conclusion

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Multi Read
- CD Text Support
- CAV
- Good Data Transfer rates
- Good Seek Times
- Great DAE speed (up to 24x)
- USB Speakers Support
- Plextor Manager
- 100.000 MTBF
- Flash Memory
- 8x reading speed for RW Discs
- Perfect choise if you already have an Plextor CDR/W

- No Digital Output
- Price (100-130$)

Plextor 40x is a winner. I recommend it (since i used it for a long time.) Problems ?Price is much more higher than other IDE CD Roms (around 100-130$) and you will also need a Scsi controller for it (more $). But then again you get what you pay. I hoped that this model would (at last) have Digital Output but Plextor seemed to have another opinion about it. (Even my old Toshiba 12x has Digital Output). Overall the Plextor CD Rom is the best choise for you since is combines great speeds in both Data & DAE.



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