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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 24x CD-RW

Monday, February 18, 2002
PleXWriter PX-W2410A CD-RW

1. Introduction

PleXWriter PX-W2410A IDE CDR-W - Page 1

- Introduction:
Visit Plextor's Homepage!
has been an important player at the high speed recording arena. The previous 12x and 16x Plextor Recorders were judged, by many people, as a 'best buy' since the majority of users met a great performance at an attractive price. On the other hand, Plextor has stopped a long time ago leading the CDR-writing race while it prefers to follow step-by-step the writing speed race leader Sanyo, with similar (at least in specs) models. The Sanyo 24x has been out for quite sometime, while it now seems, it's time to find out if the users who have been patient for the Plextor's new proposal at 24x writing speed have (or will be) rewarded.

Plextor's announcement for the PX-W2410A contained important news. First of, the drive supported all available writing speeds and second, it includes a 2 year-warranty (NOTE: only applied for European users). No other manufacturer has offered so far, such a long time-period warranty! Plextor is the first company to move into this path, since all other manufacturers will start offering 2 years of warranty after 2002. This will be forced by the EU law-system for all peripheral manufacturers.

- Features:
Plextor is using Zone-CLV in order to achieve the maximum speed of 24x. Other companies that have introduced this technique in the past were Sanyo and Ricoh. Plextor has also developed a similar to those companies, CD-Recording quality control mechanism called PoweRec II for monitoring the writing quality and reducing the writing speed accordingly. Last, but not least, as with the previous Plextor models, the model offers BURN-Proof as the main anti-buffer underrun technology.

The drive supports: 1X, 4X, 12X, 16X (CLV) and 20X, 24X Zone-CLV writing speeds. The Sanyo/TDK offers only 24x and LiteOn also offers 20x/24x as the maximum writing speeds. Another difference is the addition of two extra MB for drive's buffer size which is now up to 4MB. Plextor said that in their tests, 4MB worked better than 2MB, probably because less buffer underruns have occurred. Finally, there are no more jumper hacks to get the desired DMA33 connection mode since now it's officially supported.

The drive supports the following writing modes: Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Multisession, and variable/fixed packet writing. The main difference between the variable/fixed packet writing modes is that, Variable packet writing is used only on CD-R media. Because packets need to be erased and overwritten, CD-RW will use fixed packet size...

- The New features:

(Constant Linear Velocity) is the recording technology used from Plextor in order to achieve both 20x and 24x recording speeds. When a recorder uses the Zone CLV recording method, the CD is divided into 3 zones from the inner to the outer side of the CD, in which the recording speed varies but it's always constant (CLV). The recording process starts at the beginning of the disc at a constant speed in the first zone. After a pre-defined time (when the next zone starts) the recording automatically elevates to a higher speed. At the speed switching point, BURN-Proof technology is used to assure a fast, reliable transition with no loss of data. The following graph shows the exact details:

The Plextor PX-W2410A starts recording at 16x in the lead-in area till 6mins. After that, it shifts the speed up to 20x and at 16minutes finally elevates it to 24x and stays there until the end. The speed-change points (6-16mins) are not clear if they are fixed or vary according to the recording media, since Plextor denied providing a clear answer. The official posted information is "...The write strategy for each area is a result of testing and investigation of the media in the technical lab..." gives an answer but this seems not as a clear one. The writing speeds inside the CD-Recording zones can change according to the quality of the used media as "PoweRec II" technology investigates and then defines.

is used from the Plextor PX-W2410A in order to ensure the best writing quality performance at any writing speed. PoweRec are the first name from the following words "Plextor Optimised Writing Error Reduction Control".

All Plextor CD-RW drives contain a media catalogue of all certified media, listed by manufacturer and part number. This catalog is stored in the drive's ROM and is used to set the appropriate "Write Strategy'' for the disc being recorded. The PoweRec technology will identify and test the target disc and select an optimised writing strategy for this media. Running OPC will overcome the varieties in dye characteristics over the disc. During writing, real-time write quality monitoring, ensures the best write quality for the selected speed. Additional, PoweRec II will act similarly for speed and area switching in Zone CLV recordings. The writing quality at the end of a zone will determine the recording speed in the next zone. Click here to see how the "PoweRec II" logical diagram works.

We have made several questions to Plextor in order to clarify some technical aspects of the "PoweRec II", which were NOT answered since Plextor feels it's industrial and confidential information :(

- The package:
We got the European retail package which contains: the drive itself, an electronic PDF manual with 16 languages, an RMA request form, a registration card, a quick installation guide, 2 blank CDs - one 24x recordable and one HS-RW erasable, an IDE cable, an audio cable and mounting screws. Plextor has changed the main recording software from WinOnCD and moved to the popular Nero 5.5. The package also contains the known "PlexTools" CD which was upgraded to v1.09 and now contains also the 16 languages PDF manuals, Nero and InCD v2.26.1 as the main CDR software.

The front of the PleXWriter PX-W2410A is the same as introduced with the previous IDE models. The drive contains the "24/10/40", "BPRec" and the "High Speed" logos and with a quick look gives the possible buyer an idea about the drive's capabilities:

In the back of the drive, you will notice the addition of an "extra fan" that no other 20x or 24x recorder had before. You will also find the power connector, the IDE cable connector, jumpers for setting up the MASTER/SLAVE/CABLE select status and finally, the analog/SPDIF connectors:

- Installation:
The Plextor PX-W2410A was installed as a Master in the primary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-33 model ,which is now officially supported from Plextor. After booting, it identified itself as a "PLEXTOR CD-R PX-W2410A". We unchecked the Auto Insert notification, checked DMA and rebooted.

The drive was a July 2001 model with firmware revision v1.00 and TLA#0000 hardware revision. We used Nero v5.5.2.4, CloneCD v3.0.5.1, PadusDJ v3.50.799 and Ahead InCD v2.26 for the recording tests.

- Test Machine:
WinMe OS
Soyo 7VCA
Celeron II 566 over clocked to 850 MHz
128MB SDRAM PC 133
Quantum Fireball EX 6.4 GB UDMA 33
DAWI 2975 - PCI (ULTRA) SCSI Host Adapter
Sanyo CRD-BP1500 firmware vHg.35
TDK CyClone 241040 firmware v6h.35
LiteOn LTR-24101B firmware v5S01
PleXWriter PX-W2410A firmware v1.00

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