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Appeared on: Monday, February 10, 2003
Plextor PX-S2410TU


1. Introduction

Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 1

- Introduction

A couple of months ago Plextor shipped a new portable CD-RW recorder. The PlexWriter S2410TU is a stylish portable slim supporting 24X CD-R writing, 10X HS-RW writing and 24X reading. With a light weight and easy to use USB interface, the drive is a very attractive solution for Notebook and desktop PC use.

- Drive features

The supported writing speeds are the 4X and 10X (CLV), 16X and the maximum 24X (Z-CLV). The 24X speed the supported reading speed for the CD-R and the HS-RW media can be written at 10X. Note that the performance is lower when the drive is connected through the USB1.1 interface. In this case, the drive behaves as a 4x/4x/6x device.

The drive offers Buffer Underrun Proof Technology among with a 2MB cache buffer and supports the well known PoweRec Technology for reliable recordings in various media. The supported writing formats are the CD-ROM Modes 1 and 2, CD-XA Form 1 and 2, CD-DA, CD-I, Video CD & Photo CD, and CD+G. The supported writing modes are the Disk-At-Once, Track-At-Once, Multisession, Packet Writing. Last, the PX-S4210T is Mount Rainier compatible.

The following pictures show the available reading/writing speeds:

PlexTools software also provides detailed information about the supported reading and writing speeds:

- The package

The Retail package contains: PlexWriter S2410TU ,1 blank CD-R disc, 1 blank CD-R/W disc, CD-Recording software Nero + InCD (OEM version), Plextor Utility software (PlexTools), manual in 16 languages, 1 USB cable and 1 AC power adapter.

Plextor offers a two year full-warranty (parts, labor, and replacement) valid in Europe, Middle-East and Africa and the On-Site Collect & Return Service, for the EU-Countries, Norway and Switzerland. The PX-S2410TU is priced at $170-190.

Plextor PX-S4210TU has a very stylish silver and black casing and its dimensions are 141 x 22 x 171 mm (W x H x D), while its weight is less than 410g.

The "Plextor" among with the "24x/10x/24x" logos are stamped on the top of the drive. The auto eject tray is black and covers the front panel of the drive.

On the tray you can see the eject button, the emergency eject hole and the busy LED indicator.

On the rear panel there are the power supply input (DC 5.25V) and the USB connector. As we have mentioned the drive can be connected either in USB1.1/2.0 interface..

On the side panel of the drive there are the power button, the headphone mini-jack (0.8V at 32 Ohms) and the volume control knob.

- Installation

The Plextor PX-S2410TU was connected to our test PC through the USB2.0 interface, and was identified as "PLEXTOR PX-S2410T" under WinXP. The November 2002 TLA#0000 model came with firmware version v1.00 installed, that was used for all the reading/writing tests.

We compare the new drive with an already tested slim drive, the INcoder TS24C-C1.


2. Data CD Tests

Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 2

Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

Both Plextor PX-S2410TU and INcoder TS24C-C1 drives support the 24X maximum reading speed. The PX-S2410TU gave an average reading speed of 18.05X. The drive performed according to its specifications, and is slightly slower than the INcoder drive, due to the lower speeds maintained in the beginning and the ending of the task.

The Plextor drive was faster in the random seek with 94msec and also faster in the full see mode with 185msec. In the 1/3 seek mode the INcoder drive takes a slight lead with 101msec.

- CDR Media results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

Both drives behaved very well with CD-R discs. This time Plextor is faster than its competitor, although such a difference (0.35X) is not very important for the mid-user.

In the seek test, the results for the Incoder drive were even better than in the pressed CD test. The PX-S2410T, however, kept up with the good performance.

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

For the RW tests we used the Ricoh HS-RW media. The CDSpeed graph showed that the PX-S2410TU supports 7-16X CAV reading for the HS-RW format. The INcoder drive was faster due to the 24X CAV supported speed.


3. Error Correction Tests
Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the error correction capabilities of the Plextor PX-S2410TU, while reading a recorded CD-R.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Test Results (Max Reading)

Plextor PX-S2410TU started reporting errors in the 6min. The errors within the black triangle defect, reached -24dB in specific areas. The five scratches also produced errors and the signal/noise level was increased to -7.2(A). The average error level for all the disc is -33.7dB(A), is high enough. In addition, the drive gave many muting and skip samples, resulting to a low score of 52.5 points out of 100 (max).

Errors total
Num: 115367728
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 636036
Avg: -33.7 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 77633
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 622 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 353
Avg: 44.2 Samples
Max: 2934 Samples
Total Test Result
52.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- ABEX TCD-721R

- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 4600553
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 172529
Avg: -72.9 dB(A)
Max: -1.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 20326
Avg: 61.5 Samples
Max: 3584 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 12
Avg: 7.0 Samples
Max: 12 Samples
Total Test Result
60.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Again the drive gave a -72.9dB(A) average error level and many samples were muted. The performance is improved over the previous test, but again the 60.8 points score is less than adequate.

- ABEX TCD-726

- Test Results (Max Speed)

The drive gave a very high score of 79 points out of 100. The amount of errors loudness occurred is not very high, and their level is average. The error samples had an average length of 1.5 samples.

Errors total
Num: 18325
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 22288
Avg: -87.8 dB(A)
Max: -32.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 449
Avg: 1.5 Samples
Max: Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
79.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
52.5
ABEX TCD-721R
60.8
ABEX TCD-726
79
Average Score
64.1

The Plextor PX-S2410TU gets a low score of 64.1 points out of 100 at our reading error correction tests. The performance is not the expected and should possibly be improved in order the drive to compete other drives in the same category.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Test Results (MAX Speed)

The drive missed 3640179 C2 marks and gave 947 sync errors. The quality score is extremely low since the drive reported many unreadable areas on the disc. Although we cannot compare the EAC tests with the CDSpeed test in terms of numbers, we could say that both tests showed a negative behavior for the Plextor drive. The C2 accuracy is also very low.

The EAC software gave the drive a 62.7% C2 accuracy. In the following table there are the C2 accuracy score for each test with the EAC and ABEX discs.

Test Disc
Reading Speed
INcoder TC24C-C1
Score
EAC CD-R
Max
50.1 %
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
70.9
ABEX TCD-726
Max
67.1
Average Score
62.7


4. CloneCD Reading Tests

Plextor PX-S2410T portable CD-RW drive - Page 4

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 3 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drives. 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. Plextor PX-S2410TU needed 147 seconds to finish the task, while the INcoder drive was 25 seconds faster.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The PX-2410TU needed approximately 35min to finish the task. The performance is not the very high but the drive is faster than INcoder TS24C-C1.

- SecuROM Results

Both drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks, but the TS24C-C1 does not support 96 bytes of Subchannel data (CD+G). 4:20 minutes were enough for the Plextor drive to make the image file to the hard disk. The INcoder is slightly slower.


5. DAE Tests

Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 5

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 reports that the PX-S2410TU supports caching of data, "Accurate Stream" and retrieves "C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the DAE speed of drive. The PX-S2410TU ripped the audio files at 8X average. The ripping speed is not very high but is almost the same we had measured for previous portable Plextor drives. The INcoder TS24C-C1 is faster by 2X.

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping for Plextor speed is again 8X, while the INcoder is a little slower than in the test with the pressed CD.

- 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 build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pressed
CDR
Plextor PX-S2410T
2.8
2.8
INcoder TS24C-C1
9.6
9.7

- Advanced DAE Quality

Plextor PX-S2410TU got a 100 score (best) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for the drive is 8.03X. The drive can also read data from SubChannel and CD Text. On the other hand, the INcoder produced 7050 data errors.

- Bad CDR Media results

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

Average Speed (X)
Errors
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Plextor PX-S2410T
Read error at 90% of ripping
INcoder TS24C-C1
Read error at 90% of ripping

The PX-S2410TU did not manage to finish the test and gave a read error in the last tracks of the disc.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Plextor PX-S2410T
Up to 99min
INcoder TS24C-C1
Up to 88min

- 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
Plextor PX-S2410T
Cannot recognize disc contents
OK (detect TOC manually feature)
INcoder TS24C-C1
Recognize disc contents, but rips the first 5 tracks only
Recognizes disc contents but not all files have high quality

The drive cannot recognize the tracks of the Key2Audio protected title. With the Cactus Data Shield disc, it ripped the disc contents but the TOC had to be manually detected through the available feature of EAC software.


6. CDR Tests
Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 6

CDR Tests

We tested the drive with latest version of Nero/CloneCD. Plextor PX-S2410TU supports the 24X (Z-CLV) maximum writing speed.

The drive starts writing at 10X till 4mins, shifts up to 12X at 6mins, accelerates to 16X at 20mins, shifts up again to 20X at 42mins and lastly reaches the 24X at 68mins. Due to the increased number of steps in order the drive to reach the 24X, the average writing speed is kept at 17X (17.04X).

- Recording Tests

We burned 80 minutes of data. As you can see, the drive needed 358 seconds to finish the task, and the duration seems to be increased for a 24X recorder. The explanation for this is can be found in the CDSpeed graph above, where you can see the Z-CLV implementation of the drive. The following picture comes from Nero after a successful burning at 24X.

In the graph below you can see the best recording times we got for all the supporting writing speeds.

- Other features

Overburning
Up to 98min
CD text reading/writing
Yes

- CloneCD Writing Tests

The CloneCD software reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature. In some cases the drive didn't worked properly with specific media.

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 the drive as reader/writer at maximum reading/recording speed. Two discs were burned for each game (Amplify Weak Sectors On/Off). The results are posted in the table below:

Game Title
Tested Drive
SD2 Build
Settings
CloneCD (Amplify Weak Sectors On
CloneCD (Amplify Weak Sectors Off
Max Payne v1.05
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v.2.50.020
OK
NO
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM
Serious Sam - The Second Encounter v1.07
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v.2.60.052
NO
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM
OK
NO
The Sims - Unleashed
Creative 52XCD-ROM
v2.80.010
NO
TEAC 40XCD-ROM
BTC DV316DVD-ROM

The drive seems to handle up to SafeDisc v.2.60 protected titles, with the "Amplify Weak Sectors" feature enabled.


7. Writing Quality Tests

Plextor PX-S2410TU portable CD-RW drive - Page 7

Writing Quality Tests

We used Taiyo Yuden 80min 40X CD-R media and burned the same AudioCD project (with CD-Text) at all recording speeds from 4X-24X. Below you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs.

- 3T Pit results

As we can see from the above graphs, the 3T Pit Jitter stays below the 35ns RED book limit for all the available recording speeds. The jitter value is constant for all the area of the disc, for the 4X and 10X writing speeds, where the CLV recording strategy is used. In the 16X and 24X the Z-CLV recording seems to produce slightly higher jitter values, but again the performance is very good.

The average 3T Jitter values for all recording speeds are illustrated in the following table.

The average value of jitter is less than 35nsec for all the recording speeds. Since the differences in the average jitter values is very small, we could say that you can safely burn your favorite audio discs in any available speed.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land results are slightly increased over the in the previous measurements of the 3T Pit Jitter. The maximum jitter values reported were 32ns, and come from the measurements on 16X and 24X recorded discs.

- Conclusion

Recording Speed
3T Pit Jitter (ns)
3T Land Jitter (Ns)
> 35ns
Max value (Ns)
4X
27.24
30.05
No
24 Pit, 31 Land
10X
25.76
29.61
No
26 Pit, 30 Land
16X
25.71
30.00
No
26 Pit, 30 Land
24X
27.24
30.03
No
31 Pit, 32 Land

The average 3T Pit and Land jitter values are below the 35nsec standard for all the recording speeds. The combination of low writing speeds and the CLV writing technology seems to guarantee the quality results. But also the Z-CLV technology adopted for 16X and 24X speeds does not affect the writing quality.


8. HS-RW Writing Tests

Plextor PX-S2410T portable CD-RW drive - Page 8

HS-RW Writing Tests

We used Nero Burning Rom for writing CDs in the maximum RW speed Plextor PX-S2410TU. The drive supports the 10X CLV maximum rewriting speed.

The Plextor drive finished the task in 8:13 minutes, and needed 43 seconds to perform the "quick erase" task with Nero. The INcoder drive 8 seconds is slower.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used InCD and Ricoh HS-RW media for all Packet Writing tests. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. The formatted disc had 530mbs 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 explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

In the writing part, the PX-S2410S gave a 7.11X average speed, and was even faster in the reading test with 8.27X. The INcoder drive seems to have some problems in the reading part, since it gave a very low performance.

- Mount Rainier Tests

Plextor PX-S2410TU officially supports the Mt Rainier format. Unfortunately we did not manage to perform the usual tests with InCD since the drive gave back errors during the formatting process of the rewritable media.


9. Conclusion

Plextor PX-S2410T portable CD-RW drive - Page 9

Conclusion

Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- 24/10/24 portable drive
- Attractive and stylish design
- USB2.0 supported interface
- Buffer Underun protection/ PoweRec
- Complete retail package
- Fast CD-R reader
- Low seek times
- Supports 99min audio ripping
- Supports overburning up to 98min
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Low jitter on audio CDs
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- 2 Years warranty

- HS-RW reading speed lower than 24X
- Low DAE speed (8X)
- Error correction needs improvement
- Slow CloneCD reader
- Partially supports SD2.x versions
- Does not fully support audio protected discs
- Bad DAE quality with dusted/scratched CDR media

The Plextor PX-S2410TU offers nothing less than its specifications state. Besides the very stylish and robust metal design, the drive comes in a complete retail package with all the essentials for easy usage and fast connection through USB1.0/2.0 interface.

The Plextor PX-S2410TU supports the 24X Z-CLV maximum recording speed for the CD-R format. The PoweRec feature and the Buffer underun protection are available to assure the success of your recordings. Our tests showed that the current implementation of the Z-CLV technology does not offer the drive the lowest writing times for the 24X category, but the writing quality seems to be high. The drive writes accurately to the inserted media and produces low jitter values on audio CDs.

In the reading part, the drive is fast and the reading speed reached the supported 24X with pressed and CD-R media. The seek times are also low, but the reading accuracy could be definitely higher, as well as the ability to correct possible faulty bits on defected and scratched media. (Almedio Abex). However, it seems that our aged physically defected audio disc was very hard for the drive to read, since it gave a read error by the end of the ripping process. The drive also supports the 16X CAV reading speed for the HS-RW format, although we expected a higher performance.

The supported DAE speed is locked to 8X but it could be higher. The drive can also handle Cactus Data Shield 200 protected audio discs with the appropriate software but does not recognize the tracks of a Key2Audio disc. The reading /writing of CD-Text on audio discs is also supported.

The CloneCD users will be partially satisfied from the drive's abilities to create working backups of SafeDisc v.2 protected titles, but the reading speed is generally low.

The PlexWriter PX-S2410TU left us a with positive overall impression. It could be safely considered as an alternative solution for your daily burning and reading needs, connected to your notebook or desktop PC. The drive is priced at $175-185, and remember that Plextor offers users 2 year warranty for the drive. For more information you can visit www.plextor.com.



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