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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Tuesday, November 19, 2002
PleXWriter PX-W4824U CD-RW


1. Introduction/Installation

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction

is the external version of the latest recorder from Plextor, the PleXWriter 48/24/48A. The new PleXWriter 48/24/48U supports the 48X writing speed and the fastest available re-writing speed of 24X. The new drive offers nothing less than its internal brother and additionally gives us the chance to check the drive with a newer firmware revision installed.

- Embedded Technologies

We have already analyzed most of the used technologies in our PleXWriter PX-W4824A review.

- Specifications

The drive under the "normal" working mode supports the 40X (CAV) reading speed. The firmware revision of the drive was 1.01 and we upgraded with the latest v1.02. Using the Nero Info Tool software, we can see the drive's properties/main features:

After the SpeedRead function is activated (either through PlexTools or by pressing the eject button for more than 3secs) the drive supports 48X reading. You can disable the SpeedRead option again, by pushing the eject button or by cutting off the power supply.

Below we can see the available reading speeds, according to the inserted disc. The drive normally can read up to 40X (CAV), all Mode1, Mode2, AudioCD and CD-RW discs. The "SpeedRead" option affects only the reading speed of Mode1 discs.

PleXTools also gives other information about the drive such as the supported reading/writing modes and as you can see it reveals the lowest access time of the industry (<65ms)

Below are the official specifications according to the Plextor European website

Disc
Usable Formats
Write/ReWrite
Read
Play
-- CD-DA
*
*
*
-- CD-ROM
*
*
-- CD-ROM + CD-DA
*
*
*
-- CD-ROM XA
*
*
-- CD-I
*
*
-- PHOTO-CD
*
*
-- VIDEO-CD
*
*
-- CD-Extra
*
*
*
-- CD+G
*
*
*
-- CD-TEXT
*
*
Performance
Hi-Speed USB
 
Data Transfer Rate
-- Burst
480 Mbit/s
 
-- Write
CD-R
 
 
48X: 7200KB/s CAV
 
 
40X: 6000KB/s P-CAV
 
 
32X: 4800KB/s P-CAV
 
 
24X: 3600 KB/s P-CAV
 
 
20X: 3000KB/s CLV
 
16X: 2400KB/s CLV
 
8X: 1200KB/s CLV
 
4X: 600KB/s CLV
 
 
CD-DA
 
 
48X: 7200KB/s CAV
 
 
40X: 6000KB/s P-CAV
 
 
32X: 4800KB/s P-CAV
 
 
24X: 3600 KB/s P-CAV
 
 
20X: 3000KB/s CLV
 
16X: 2400KB/s CLV
 
8X: 1200KB/s CLV
 
4X: 600KB/s CLV
 
-- ReWrite
24X: 3600KB/s P-CAV
 
10X: 1500KB/s CLV
 
4X: 600KB/s CLV
 
-- Read
20X-48X: 3120-7200KB/s CAV
 
 
18X-40X: 2710-6000KB/s CAV
 
 
14X-32X: 2170-4800KB/s CAV
 
 
10X-24X: 1600-3600KB/s CAV
 
8X: 1200KB/s CLV
 
Access Time <65ms
Data Buffer 4MB
Error Rate Mode1: less than 10-12bits
  Mode2: less than 10-9bits

Front Panel
Eject Auto Eject/Manual Emergency
Lights Indication ON - DISC IN
Disc Loading Tray, Auto load/auto eject
Headphone Jack Stereo mini-jack, 0.8V at 32 Ohms

Rear Panel
USB Connector
Power Supply DC 12V +/- 10%
Power switch
Audio Connector Analog output (RCA Jack)

Dimensions & Weight
Dimensions 169 x 58 x 247.5 mm
Weight 2.2 kg

Reliability
MTBF 60.000 POH (15% duty cycle)
Tray Loading Eject 100.000 times
Warranty 2 year *
Service On-Site Collect&Return Service **

*only valid in Europe, Middle-East an Africa.
**(EU-Countries + Norway and Switzerland)

- The package

We got the European retail package which contains: the drive, a PDF manual in 16 languages, an RMA request form, a registration card, a quick installation guide, 5 blank recordable discs (by TaiyoYuden), one 24X US-RW media (by Mitsubishi Chemicals), 1 USB 1.1/2.0 cable and the AC power adapter.

The attached CDR software comes from Ahead (Nero 5.5.x/InCD 3.3.x) among with a separate CD with "PlexTools" v1.16. The drive has a 2-year guaranty (only valid in Europe, Middle-East and Africa) and Plextor offers the"on-site collect and return service" (EU countries + Norway and Switzerland). The retail package is expected to cost 175~195 Euro.

The PleXWriter PX-W4824U is placed in a solid, well-designed silver case. The front panel of the drive is black, and has the PleXWriter 48/24/48U and US-RW logos printed on the tray. The usual indication led, the eject button and headphone jack are also available, as you can see in the following picture.

On the rear panel of the drive you will find the power supply, the USB cable connector, the power switch, the audio connector and the SelfTest switch.

To start the diagnostic test you should firstly turn the power off and unplug the USB cable. Slide back the Selftest cover at the back of the drive and hold the eject button while you turn the power back on. The disc tray will open and you should insert a blank CD. Close the tray and the diagnostic test will start automatically and will take a couple of minutes.

If the disc is ejected automatically after the test, no problem with the device has been detected. In case the indicator produces series of orange blinks, the inserted disc is not blank or it is scratched or dirty. If the CD is not ejected, and the CD indicator produces series of 2 green blinks, an initialization error has occurred. Lastly, if the CD is not ejected and the indicator produces single green blinks, a read or write error has occurred.

The drive was a September 2002 model with TLA#0001 hardware revision:

- Installation

The Plextor PX-W4824U was installed through the USB 2.0 interface. The drive was identified as a "PLEXTOR CD-R PX-W4824A". We used Nero v5.5.9.16, CloneCD v4.0.1.10 and Ahead InCD v3.51.61 for the recording tests.

User can de-activate PoweRec function under the drive properties. When you un-tick the "PoweRec enabled" box, a warning message comes up with information about the usability of this option.

PoweRec can also be disabled within the PlexTools software under the "drive settings":


2. Data Reading Tests
PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W- Page 2

Data Tests

- Notice: To create the graphs, we used both the default reading speed (40X) and the boost mode (48X) with the activation of the SpeedRead function.

- Pressed CD results: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph for 40X & 48X)

The PX-W4824U has exactly the same performace as with the PX-W4824A. The YAMAHA CRW-F1E due to its lower maximum reading speed comes second with 32.37X.

Plextor's PX-4824U seek times are very good with 61ms (random) for the 40X reading speed and 68ms (random) for the 48X reading speed.

- CDR Media: (Click to see the CD Speed Graph for 40X & 48X)

The PX-W4824U performs slightly better with CD-R media, than the PX-4824A drive. The drive's reading speed is 35.76X.

With CD-R media, the drive's seek times are even lower down to 61/62ms...

- RW media: (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

For checking the drive's performance with re-writeable media, we used the US-RW media that came with the retail package of each drive, recorded in the correspondent maximum supported speed. The PleXWriter PX-W4824U comes last with 31.42X average reading speed.


3. CD Error Correction
PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W- Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the reading error correction capabilities of the PleXWriter PX-W4824U.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Test Results (Max Reading)

At full speed, the PX-W4824U starts reporting errors at 18mins. The errors within the black triangle defect were few but they reached the -6.3 dB(A). The five scratches are not repaired giving a score of 70.1, out of 100 (max).

Errors total
Num: 153460
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 10009
Avg: -75.7 dB(A)
Max: -6.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 1585
Avg: 1.6 Samples
Max: 33 amples
Skips Samples
Num: 7
Avg: 10.3 Samples
Max:36 amples
Total Test Result
70.1 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- ABEX TCD-721R

- Test Results (Max speed)

At the maximum reading speed, the drive got a score of 58.5. The drive gave many errors and the average Loudness errors level was increased over the previous test to -65.4dB(A).

Errors total
Num: 4199860
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 82140
Avg: -65.4 dB(A)
Max: -9.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 152755
Avg: 4.9 Samples
Max: 597 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 67
Avg: 6.5 Samples
Max: 24 Samples
Total Test Result
58.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- ABEX TCD-726

- Test Results (Max Speed)

At the maximum reading speed, the drive fully repaired the errors and gave only a few errors at 27mins. The total score is very high (92.9) and the performance is very good.

Errors total
Num: 12
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 14
Avg:-85.2 dB(A)
Max: -72.7
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: .0 Samples
Max: 40 Samples
Total Test Result
92.9 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
70.1
ABEX TCD-721R
58.5
ABEX TCD-726
92.9
Average Score
73.83

The PleXWriter PX-W4824U gets an average 73.83 score out of 100 at our reading error correction tests.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Test Results (MAX Speed)

The C2 accuracy of the PleXWriter PX-W4824U is very good with a 98.76% accuracy score as EAC analyser software showed:

Test Disc
Reading Speed
ASUS CRW5224
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
97.4
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
98.9
ABEX TCD-726
Max
100
Average Score
98.76

Below are the C2 error graphs as produced from EAC's analyser software...


4. CloneCD Reading Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W- Page 4

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD (v4.0.1.10) and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading times of the drive. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD. The PX-W4824U needs 71secs to finish the task and gets the first place. The PX-W4824A gave almost the same performance.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The PX-W4824U gets the third position, below the Yamaha and PX-W4824A drives. However, when using other software like Alcohol 120%, the drive will perform much better (2:32mins vs. 7:27mins of CloneCD).

- LaserLock v.2 Results

With the pressed disc, the PX-W4824U needs 38mins to finish the task. The performance with the backup disc is better, but much slower than the PX-W4824A.

- SecuROM v.2 Results

All drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The PX-W4824U and PX-W4824A drives gave exactly the same performance. The YAMAHA F1 series gets the first place.


5. DAE Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 5

DAE Tests

- DAE features

- Pressed AudioCD

The PX-W4824U has an average DAE ripping performance and gets the last place with 29.7X. The SONY CRX-210E1 gets the first place with 34.8X, while the YAMAHA F1E comes second with 30.7X.

- AudioCD-R media

With CD-R media, the PX-W4824U showed a slightly better performance of 29.9X sharing the second place with PX-W4824A.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that for each drive we used the built-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
YAMAHA CRW-F1
7.2
7.3
PleXWriter PX-W4824A
10.6
10.5
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
10.4
10.5

- Advanced DAE Quality

The drive got a 100 score (best) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for PleXWriter was 29.90X. The drive can also read data from Lead-in, CD-text and SubChannel.

- Bad CDR Media results

We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) to the hard disk.

Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
PleXWriter PX-W4824A
22.3
27041048
35.74
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
0.6
14727570
19.47

The PleXWriter PX-W4824U finished the test in a high error rate of 19.47%. The amount of errors is smaller than what the internal model had given, but the duration of the ripping process was extremely long, since the drive lowered the ripping speed down to 0.1X in order to read the heavily defected areas of the test disc.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

 
Tested drives
Ripping up to
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
Recognizes contents up to 94 min but cannot rip any tracks

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
Rips entire disc without problems

With the Manual TOC option, it detects all tracks and rips entire disc without problems

The drive can handle both CDS200/Key2Audio protected audio discs without any issues!


6. CDR Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 6

CDR Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U offers a variety of recording speeds from 4X up to 48X, using the CLV, P-CAV or CAV recording technologies. The drive's various writing speeds and recording technologies are shown in the following screen.

Under the Nero software, user is able to select all recording speeds, regardless of the PoweRec setting. AudioCD authoring also permitted up to 48X.

- Checking maximum recording speed

After inserting a CD-R media, user can see which recording speed has been automatically selected by the PoweRec system in two ways:

a) through Nero. Under the drive's properties un-tick the "PoweRec Enabled" option and Nero will show the recommended writing speed of the disc. Of course it would be much easier to see that under the Writing tab where we select the writing speed...

b) through PlexTools. If you try to disable PoweRec function, PleXTools will prompt about this and will also indicate the maximum permitted recording speed. PleXTools "PoweRec Disable" function can be also used in cases you use other software that doesn't support disabling PoweRec function.

- Full CAV recording method

Using an 80min disc, we can see the drive's starting and ending recording speeds, according to the Nero CD Speed software. The drive starts writing at 21.10X and gradually reaches 48X at the end of an 80min disc. There is a difference with the PX-W4824A drive, since the PX-4824U didn't reached 48X writing speed in any of our tests, but only 45.55X. The average writing speed according to the Nero CD Speed is 36.02X, while the PX-W4824A had 36.79X:

- Recording Tests

The PX-W4824U needs 169secs in order to write 80:01:26mins. The PX-W4824A was slightly faster by 2seconds while the SONY CRX-210E1 is 13secs faster.

The above graph shows the recording times for all recording speeds, compared with the PX-W4824A and SONY CRX-210E1. As we can see, the PX-W4824U is very close to the PX-4824A. At the 24X, 32X and 40X recording speeds the three drives are very close, while at the 16X and 48X recording speeds, the SONY CRX-210E1 gets the first place with 13-15secs time difference.

Below is a table that shows the time differences compared to the 16X (CLV) recording speed for each drive. We also calculated the % difference for each recording speed (gain in recording time by %).

Recording Speeds
SONY CRX-210E1
PleXWriter PX-W4824A
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
Time difference
% difference
Time difference
% difference
Time difference
% difference
48X
169
52
173
50.88
171
50.29
40X
156
48
169
49.70
168
49.42
32X
133
40.92
152
44.70
150
44.12
24X
96
29.54
110
32.35
109
32.05

User will notice major performance difference compared to the 16X (CLV) at 40X and of course 48X recording speeds. The differences between 40X, 48X speeds are very small.

- Overburning Tests

The drive can overburn up to 94mins without any problems.

- CD-Text Results

The drive can read/write CD-Text without any problems.

- CloneCD Writing Tests

The CloneCD software reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature. With the use of proper media, DAO-RAW writing can be performed up to 48X (CAV). CloneCD doesn't offer any option to disable PoweRec, but PleXTools can be used for that propose.

For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions with the latest software patches installed. We used each drive as reader/writer at maximum reading/recording speed. Two discs were burned for each game. One disc burned with PadusDJ and the other with CloneCD (Amplify Weak Sectors On). The results are posted in the below table:

Game Title
Tested Drive
SD2 Build
Settings
Amplify Weak Sectors On
Amplify Weak Sectors Off
Max Payne v1.05
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v.2.50.020
Ok
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v.2.60.052
No
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM
The Sims - Unleashed
Creative 52X
CD-ROM
v2.80.010
No
TEAC 40X
CD-ROM
BTC DV316
DVD-ROM

As you can see, the PX-W4824U cannot backup SafeDisc v2.50.021 ~ 2.80.010 builds. The Amplify Weak Sector function will produce backups that will work only in other CD-RW drives (with hide CD-R media function), not in CD/DVD-ROMs.


7. Writing Quality Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 7

Writing Quality Tests

We used various media and burn them at the maximum writing speed of 48X, either with PoweRec on/off. The writing quality scores are illustrated in the following table:

Brand
PoweRec Status
C1 Errors
Average Burning Time (mins)
Comments
Max
Average
SanyoDigital 80min 24x
On
28
3.1
3:11
Slowdown at 32X
Off
45
3.7
2:49
SKC 80min 24X
On
19
0.9
3:51
Slowdown at 24X
Off
19
2.1
2:49
SKC 80min 16X
On
19
3.6
2:51
Off
18
1.5
2:49
Mitsubishi Chemicals
80min 48X
On
17
0.5
2:50
Off
12
0.4
2:50
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
On
25
1.4
2:49
Off
22
1.1
2:49
Prodisc 80min 40X
On
38
1.1
2:49
Off
20
0.8
2:49
Plextor 80min 48X
On
21
0.5
2:51
Off
29
0.4
2:50
Imation 80min 32X
On
30
4.5
3:02
Off
33
3.2
2:49
TDK D-VIEW 80min 24X
On
17
0.6
3:10
(Slowdown at 32X)
Off
15
0.5
2:50

The writing quality of the PX-W4824U is very good with many tested media from various manufacturers. The best results come with Mitsubishi Chemicals 48X certified media. The Plextor 48X media (by TaiyoYuden) performed very well, while the lowest time (2:49) came with many media, especially with PoweRec disabled. The only two media that caused problems to the drive were the "SanyoDigital 80min 24X" and "Imation 80min 32X", made by Plasmon and CMC Magnetics respectively.

In the following table you can see the manufacturing details of the media we used for our tests.

Name
Real Manufacturer
ID Code
Capacity
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 48x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.73
Prodisc 80min 40x
Prodisc
97m32s19f
79:59.74
SanyoDigital 80min 24x
Plasmon
97m27s19f
79:59.74
TDK D-VIEW 80min 24X
RITEK
97m15s17f
79:59:73
Mitsubishi Chemicals 80min 40x
Mitsubishi Chemicals
97m34s23f
79:59.74
Ciba Plasmon 80min 48X
Plasmon
97m27s18f
79:59.74
Imation 80min 32X
CMC Mangetics
97m26s66f
79:59:74
Plextor 80min 48X
Taiyo Yuden
97m24s01f
79:59.72


8. RW/Packet Writing Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 8

RW Writing Tests

- Introduction

The PX-W4824U supports 24X writing with the use of the new Ultra speed re-writing media. Below are displayed all three available re-writing standards (there is a new logo for US-RW enabled drives):

With US-RW media, the PX-W4824U drive starts writing at 21.09X and reaches 24.00X at 6mins. The average theoretical re-writing speed is 23.89X, almost equal to 24X CLV!

- Test Results

Let's now compare the drive with the competition. The YAMAHA CRW-F1E (OWSC On) is still the faster drive than both Plextor drives by a few seconds. The PX-W4824U was 2 seconds slower than the PX-W4824A (both drives PoweRec On). Using Nero, we saw two different performances, with PoweRec enabled/disabled.

or with PoweRec disabled:

The PoweRec function does affect the re-writing speed of the drive. When it was enabled, the drive finished at 3:46mins, and while it was disabled, it was 21 seconds faster. This time difference could be important but we would suggest user to leave PoweRec On.

- Packet Writing Tests

- Introduction

We used Ahead InCD v3.51.61 for the packet writing tests with the 24X US-RW media. The formatted disc had 534 MB of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media using Windows Explorer (we dragged and dropped) and we completed the test twice to eliminate any possible time measurement faults and user errors

- Test Results

The PX-4824U gets the third place at the writing/reading tests behind the PX-W4824A, while the YAMAHA F1 series drive get the first place. The SONY CRX210E1 gets the first place when reading under packet writing mode.


9. Mt. Rainier Tests

PleXWriter PX-W4824U IDE CDR-W - Page 9

Mt. Rainier Tests

- InCD Tests

For testing the Mt. Rainier performance of PleXWriter PX-W4824A, we used was InCD v3.51.61 by Ahead Software. After the format process, we immediately started the recording process (drag & drop). When the drive finished, we started the reading process back to the HD.

Drive
Average Writing Speed (X)
Average Reading Speed (X)
YAMAHA
CRW-F1DX
12X HS-RW
7.08
20.31
24X US-RW
12.7
20.89
PleXWriter PX-W4824A
10X HS-RW
6.36
16.60
24X US-RW
12.80
16.13
PleXWriter PX-W4824U
10X HS-RW
6.37
16.62
24X US-RW
12.89
16.17

The Mt. Rainier performance of the PX-W4824U is almost the same as the internal Plextor model.

- EasyWrite tests

- Introduction

The Philips Easy Write tests checks the quality level of the implementation of Mt Rainier feature. Although the PleXWriter PX-W4824U accepted the EasyWrite test suite commands, it doesn't officially support it, so the test results weren't very good. Plextor said that by the end of this year new firmware upgrade will be released which will help the drive to 100% pass the EasyWrite tests. We will revise the review with the final tests by the time the new firmware will be available.


10. Conclusion

PleXWriter PX-W4824U CDR-W - Page 10

Conclusion

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- 48X writing permitted for Audio authoring
- Satisfactory supported media list for the 48X writing speed
- Lowest seek time of the industry (<65ms)
- C2 error information is supported with high accuracy
- Very good "Writing quality"
- Average error correction capabilities
- "PoweRec" technology can be de-activated
- "VariRec" recording mode
- Good DAE ripping speed
- Fair protected discs reading performance with the proper software
- SD2 v2.51.021+ backups will work in many CD-RW drives
- Can "handle" protected Audio discs
- Supports CD-Text (read/write) and overburning (up to 95mins)
- Complete retail package (Nero 5.5x, 5 pieces of 48x CDR media and PlexTools)
- European retail package offers 2 years of warranty

- Mt. Rainier implementation doesn't currently passes EasyWrite test suite
- SD2 v2.51.021+ backups will not work with most CD/DVD-ROMS
- Cannot rip 99min Audio discs

The PX-W4824U comes to complete the 48X series for Plextor. After having tested the PX-W4824A we waited from Plextor to improve the drive with the newest firmware upgrade and to maximize its reading/recording performance. The PX-4824U with the latest v1.02 firmware performed in most cases similarly to the PX-W4824A drive. The external case design looks very attractive and solid made. After all Plextor's main slogan is "King Of Quality".

Lets now see the main positive and of course negative points...

The strongest point of the PX-W4824A is the very good writing quality either with PoweRec enabled/disabled. The PX-W4824U offers the same and even slightly improved writing quality with a wide variety of media. Even when PoweRec is disabled, the produced discs have a very low C1 error rate. The current supported media list is longer than the one for PX-W4824A and for sure newer firmware revisions will optimise the writing strategy of the drive.

In the reading part the drive didn't reach the top compared to other 48X recorders but we can consider as a positive point its quiet operation. Audiophiles will like the drive's ability to rip CDS200 and Key2Audio protected audio discs and of course the utilization of the "VariRec" technology. The DAE ripping speeds were average due to the maximum supported 40X reading speed and the C2 error information is present with high accuracy as EAC's analyzer software showed. The Mode1 discs can be read at 48X speed with the "SpeedRead" function that can be enabled either within PlexTools or through the drive's eject button (pressing for some seconds).

In the negative points, the current Mt. Rainier implementation doesn't pass the EasyWrite test suite, backups of SD2 v2.51.021+ discs will work only in many CD-RW and not at CD-ROM drives. Users who have written 99min discs will face problems since the drive will not properly read them.

The PleXWriter PX-W4824U offers improved performance in specific areas, compared with the PX-W4824A. The external case with the USB2.0 interface will please users who wish a fast, easy to use and mostly reliable recorder. The European retail package is complete with 5 CD-R media, exclusive PleXTools software and 2 years of warranty. The retail price is expected to be around 175~195 Euro.



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