This year Plextor announced new drives, new software components for theme,
and a set of flash memory kits. All of them were available at the company's
booth under the slogan "King of Quality".
And indeed Plextor did offer quite some new dev elopement formats and tools,
both in hardware and software, to support its advertisements.
The first new drive seems to complete the line of high-speed CD recorders
and its name "Premium" is highly suggestive of its features. It
is a 52x burner that offers to consumers transparent
compression, encryption and the ability to check several factors
of the quality of the recorded disks. These are compelling enough
reasons for some users to upgrade even their 48x recently purchased
The drive supports 52x CD-R writing, 32x CD-RW writing and 52x reading. An
8MB cache buffer, along with buffer underun protection, ensures safe recordings.
The drive will be available in the next couple of months.
new version of PlexTools, the "PlexTools Professional" will be bundled
in the retail package of the drive. Through the software, users will have the
to take advantage of the new features offered by the drive and the software
itself, such as compressing and encrypting the data, quality measurements
of the recorded
measurements on audio and data discs, data reading speed tests and
In the picture
on the left you can see the new Menu of the PlexTools Professional.
This is the first drive among those offered by Plextor able to record disks
that are both compressed and encrypted. According to Plextor, with
the new "GigaRec" compression
up to 1.4x times the typical CD-ROM capacity can be achieved by squeezing
their limits. This means that one can record up to 1Gbytes of
data, or the equivalent of about 110 minutes of audio, by using the now widely
standard 80min/700MB media:
This is made possible by driving existing technology to its limits.
Squeezing more pits at the same spiral length of a disk means
that the reading drive will have to slow down the disk rotation accordingly.
In the extreme
case of reading the outer part of a disk this means that the
linear velocity of the disk above the pick-up will be below 1.2 meters/feet,
the lowest allowable
according to red-book standards for 1x playback. However, most
readers, and even the not-so-old consumer players, are able to playback a
disk at least
at 2x speed (anti-shock). Consequently, this is not a problem
when playing back a compressed disk at a higher than 1x speed.
Another important feature of the new 52x recorder
is its ability to offer transparent encryption
to the recorded data. This is
both for the table of contents (TOC) and the
data bits itself. The encryption is based
on a password provided by a user during recording
and is independent of any system-level encryption
offered by the operating system itself. The technology is called "SecuREC" and
PlexTools offer the corresponding tab to provide easy maintenance of the feature:
Both encryption and compression is offered through
a new version of PlexTools, the PlexTools Professional,
developed by the European
team of Plextor located at Belgium and it will
be available to all the worldwide distribution
channels in the coming months bundled with all new 52
It is questionable whether some of the features
of the new recorder will be available to earlier
Plextor models through a firmware
upgrades and a software upgrade of PlexTools. It is more questionable, though,
if other recording software like Nero from Ahead will support this
new drive's offering in
We did not had the opportunity to test all these new features ourselves,
so our description here is mainly based on our own interpretation of what
the knowledgeable persons from Plextor Europe told us. We hope we will present
tests of our own in the near future.
Another interesting feature of the new PlexTools Professional. is the C1 and
C2 measurements. Any user will be able to check the writing quality of his
Plextor drive with various media. An example C1 graph is illustrated in
the following picture:
Jitter and Beta measurements should be considered as essential when it comes
to audio recording. For more information about the importance of these measurements
you can take a look in our "writing quality" article. PlexTools Professional.
offers such measurements, as you can see in the picture below:
Transfer rate tests for reading discs are including in the software for accurate
monitoring of the drive's reading behavior:
Plextor could not, of course, stay out of the DVD recording arena.
The new Plextor PX-504A supports 4x DVD+R writing, 2.4x DVD+RW writing and
12x DVD-ROM reading.
rushed into the DVD recording market with a DVD+R/RW drive, but it is expected
to launch a full 4x -RW multi format drive soon.
PX-116A is a new 16x DVD-ROM and 48x CD-ROM drive. The fastest compo from
this manufacturer yet.
Plextor has a very good reputation when it comes to CD-ROM
drives. The new PX-54TA supports 54x CD reading. This is the fastest CD-ROM-only
drive using the new MediaTek chipset.
At its booth Plextor also displayed new PlexFlash USB Flash memory kits
offering capacities up to 512MB with fast and easy plug-n-play capabilities
when connected to your
easy data transfers.