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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 12x CD-RW

Monday, February 18, 2002
PleXWriter PX-W1210S CD-RW

1. Installation

PleXWriter PX-W1210S SCSI CDR-W - Page 1

Plextor has a big history in producing top quality products. Their first CD-ROM was released back in 1990 (when the company's was still named "Texel Corporation"), and their first burner appeared in 1994. From 1994 till nowadays Plextor have produced many readers and writers, and many of them have made it to the bestseller lists. Plextor was the first company, which shipped a 12/10/32 ATAPI CDR-W drive with "BURN-Proof" technology. Plextor goes one step ahead from the competition and ships it's first 12/10/32 SCSI CDR-W with improved "BURN-Proof" technology. Hmm.. <Improved "BURN-Proof" technology? What does this mean?

First generation of "BURN-Proof" technology ensured that the distance between the 2 sectors lied at around 40m (i.e. well within the limits set by the Orange Book), and in this way fully corrected data was written to disc.

Can this improvement be called crucial for the users? According to Plextor NO:

"....Plextor considers that comparing Gap length of BURN-Proof between 40 um and 2-5 um is meaningless, as the length is well below 100 um. Any gap below 100 um will be automatically corrected by Error Correction System (ECC) built in any CD-ROM drive or CD Player. No user will ever recognize nor feel such difference when reading data or hearing music from recorded CD-R/RW. Therefore, Plextor does not consider difference in such gap length between our PX-W1210A and PX-W1210TS as an improvement..."

We think that it is an improvement since the drive uses the latest build of "BURN-Proof". Might also want to hear what Ricoh has to say about previous "BURN-Proof" build...:

".. Usually, with other technologies, a gap around 40m (a data blank) is created, whereas Just Link gaps are always less than 2m. One would not expect C2 errors to occur at 40 m, when talking about 12 writing speed but -to visualise-, if the current writing speed doubles to 24x, the link would be 80 m long.  In this case, one would not be able to negate the possibility of error. In contrast, even with 24x writing speed, Just Link allows sufficient margin with a link section no larger than 4 m. In other words, the Just Link method has the scope and flexibility to cope with whatever writing speed.."

Confused? Don't be! Both 'BURN-Proof" and "JustLink" technologies are producing perfect CDs. As long as the length gap stays below 100m, from the last successful sector to the new sector, there won't be any noticeable fault to the user or won't affect the data at all.

The retail version that arrived at our offices included the drive (PX-W1210S), a manual (in 12 languages!), a quick installation guide which gives important info for the people who find reading the full manual a bit boring, 2 blank CDs (one recordable and one HS RW erasable), an audio cable, and software:

- WinOnCD Version v3.70.572-1
- Adaptec DirectCD v3.01e (for Win2k)
- CeQuadrat PacketCD/9x v3.00.209
- CeQuadrat PacketCD/NT v2.50.044
- BackMeUp LT v3.00.46-2
- Driver Disk C-320-3
- PlexTools v1.06

all that's necessary to get started right away. The Plextor manual needs some improvement especially for the novice user. The CDR media was exactly the same (Ricoh) as in the PX-W1210A retail package. However the HS RW media now comes from Mitsubishi:

ATIP: 97m 34s 23f
Disc Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp.
Assumed Dye type: Cyanine (Type 3)
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. 8X
nominal Capacity: 656.40MB (74m 43s 00f / LBA: 336075)

Let know see the front of the PleXWriter PX-W1210S. As you will notice nothing really have changed in the front of the drive exept! one new logo is added from previous PX-W1210A model (BPRec logo) which also showed in the new Sanyo CRD-BP1300P. Probably which shows the new improved build of BURN-Proof:

The drive still has 4 leds, which show what exactly the drive does:





1x, 4x, 8x

2x, 4x









4x, 8x, 10x

In the back of the drive you will notice the extra fan, which will keep the drive cool even when you use it in a high temperature environment. Don't forget that this machine is also aimed for Pro use ;)

- Installation:
Installing the PleXWriter PX-W1210A was an easy process. We changed the SCSI ID from 4 (default) to 1. During boot-up, the BIOS identified the drive as Plextor CD-R PX-W1210S. We then made some minor configuration changes to Windows ME. These were: disabling auto-insert notification and checking Sync Data Transfer. The supplied drive was manufactured in September 2000 and the onboard firmware revision was version 1.00. We didn't use the bulked WinOnCD and PacketCD/DirectCD for our tests. We used Nero v5.0.2.4 and Prassi abCD for all tests.

However, we installed PlexTools v1.06, since it offers some helpful information to the user and allows certain setting tweaks. With it you can change the drive's properties (spin-down time, speed selection, lock/unlock of the tray, etc.). Other useful features offered by PlexTools are the ability for data CD Copy, Digital Audio Extraction, AudioCD authoring plus CD-Text option. A must-use for the Plextor user!

Test Machine:
Celeron 300A over clocked to 450 MHz
164 MB SDRAM PC 100
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
Plextor UltraPlex 40max firmware v1.04
PlexWriter PX-W1210S firmware v1.00 (TLA#000)
Sanyo CRD-BP3 firmware v1.03
TDK CyClone firmware v1.02 (TLA#202)

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