Plextor PlexWriter 40x40x12x Review

Plextor PlexWriter 40x40x12x

“Plextor quietly released their 40x drive, completely skipping the release of a 32x, all in the name of better performance.”
  • Great burning speeds and reliability
  • Included software could be better

Summary

The Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40A is a great CD burner. It is crippled by the included software, however it can still flawlessly burn a CD faster than you can get your shoes on, and still has a moderate price tag! If you have an 8/4/32 drive, now would be a great time for you to upgrade. And those without CD Burners, this would be a great place to jump into the fray, because they cannot get much faster than this. If you have ever studied exponential growth, you know what I mean.

Introduction

While everyone else was announcing their 32x drives, Plextor quietly released their 40x drive, completely skipping the release of a 32x, all in the name of better performance. Today I will be looking at the Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40A, the fastest drive on the market today. Does it do justice to the Plextor name? Read on to find out.

What’s In The Box


  • Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40A
  • Many Detailed Instruction books
  • Master/Slave ATAPI Cable
  • Adaptec Easy CD Creator 5.1/Plextor Manager 2000 CD
  • 4 Mounting Screws
  • Bent Paperclip for Manual CD Tray Ejection
  • 1 700MB CD-R, 1 10x 650MB CD-RW
  • Extra Jumper

Construction

The front panel is simple, no extra LEDs, only one button, and the standard audio output jack. My favorite part is the CD tray; it’s black, and at first glance, nobody knows about it but me. The volume knob is black, which is a change from earlier models, but I don’t really have an opinion on it; I never use it. This drive does away with the rear fan that has been found in some recent Plextor models.

The drive tray is very solid. The tray motor is as slow as ever, but it pops out immediately once the button is pressed, which is something I like when it comes to CD-ROM drives. Also, this drive is very quiet, I never heard a peep out of it; a welcome change from my loud DVD drive.

Installation:
Installation was a snap. The included screws save me at least 5 minutes of screw-searching time. In fact, the hardest part was enabling DMA, and Windows XP did that automatically. The PlexWriter comes with a 66 page Installation And Users Manual, which covers every point including connecting the audio cables, enabling/disabling DMA, inserting a CD into the CD tray, and how fast the LED is blinking at any given time.

Software

The PlexWriter 40/12/40A comes with Adaptec Easy CD Creator 5.1, Adaptec DirectCD, Plextor LiquidPlayer, and Plextor Manager 2000.
I personally dislike Easy CD Creator. I am more of a fan of Nero – Burning Rom. I have never liked Liquid Audio, so I do not find it advantageous to include LiquidPlayer. The Plextor Manager 2000 will play, rip, burn, and copy CDs. This PlexWriter has you covered in case you have not already installed your own favorite audio software. I could not test Plextor Manager 2000, because it does not support Windows XP. Plextor recommends that if you are using Windows XP, you should not install Plextor Manager 2000. It comes with 4 separate programs, listed below.


  • MVP 2000: No thanks, I’d rather use Winamp for my audio playback.
  • Audio Capture 2000: Oh, the myriad choices! Choose either .WAV or .WMP.
  • DiscDupe 2000: Burn CD Images to CDs.
  • AudioFS: Makes Audio CD Tracks appear as .wav files in Explorer.


 

Performance

 

Write times:



























Media Speed Type Burn Time
700MB CD-R 40x Data 3:37
700MB CD-R 24x Audio 4:10
650MB CD-RW 12x Data 7:00
650MB CD-RW 12x Erase 6:52

Technology

The first bit of technology used in the 40/12/40A is BURN-Proof. Short for Buffer UnderRuN-Proof, Burn-Proof allows the drive to momentarily pause the CD burning process in order to refill the drive’s internal buffer. These stops cannot be noticed, and protect you from ruining a CD. Through all my experience with Plextor drives (with BURN-Proof), I have never made a coaster. The second, and most exciting, innovation is called PoweRec-II. PoweRec is a Plextor-specific technology that tests the CD-R/RW to find its maximum burning speed. In its second generation, PoweRec-II is allows you to burn at maximum speed, and maximum quality, on just about any speed-rated disk. This is reflected in my testing below.

Performance

It might be the software, the media, or just burning a CD at that high speed, but most of the time I burned a CD, afterwards, I would be alerted that I had averted a buffer under-run at least once. I never made one coaster, thanks to BURNProof. The drive has been out for a month now, and 40x media is nowhere to be found. Even 32x media is hard to find! So, I tested this drive with different kinds of 16x and 24x media, and the drive burned flawlessly at 40x, thanks to PowerRec-II. This was the same with the CD-RW media provided, it was rated 4x-10x, but it burned at 12x fine.

These numbers are incredible! Making a CD in 3 and a half minutes is a beautiful thing to witness. Nero calculates the burn time automatically, so I used it to time my results. These are only my individual results, yours may vary depending on how fast your computer is, and what software you use. (For stats on the test machine, click here.)

Conclusion:
The Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40A is a great CD burner. It is crippled by the included software, however it can still flawlessly burn a CD faster than you can get your shoes on, and still has a moderate price tag! If you have an 8/4/32 drive, now would be a great time for you to upgrade. And those without CD Burners, this would be a great place to jump into the fray, because they cannot get much faster than this. If you have ever studied exponential growth, you know what I mean.

Editors' Recommendations