In the Forums...
Posted: May 7, 2002
Written by: Davey McWatters
CD writers are becoming a necessity for most users these days. Hard drivers have become massive in size and itís simply becoming impossible to backup your important files on floppy disks. Recording your data to CDís is becoming faster, cheaper, and easier every day. When CD writers first became popular they were available in only 2x, which took 30+ minutes to burn a full CD, and they cost about $500 for a single drive. Some of the most popular manufacturers were HP and Smart and Friendly, which is no longer around.
Plextor came into play in 1990 with their high quality SCSI CD recorders. Plextor was founded by its parent company, Shinano Kenshi, which is a privately owned company. Today they are popular in not only the SCSI market but in the IDE market as well. They make some of the best drives available to consumers, but this quality comes at a price.
One of Plextorís newest IDE drives is the 40/12/40A. It offers features such as BURN-Proof, PowerRec-II. Today we will find out if their 40x drive achieves the high quality found in other Plextor drives of the past.
The 40/12/40A is capable of burning data CDís at up to 40x. It can only burn at 40x for a brief period though. It uses Z-CLV to record data to the CDís. Z-CLV divides the disc into zones, which all burn at different speeds. Z-CLV is also an important factor in Plextorís PowerRec-II technology.
PowerRec-II is a burning strategy used in newer Plextor CDRW drives. It identifies the media inserted into the drive and determines the maximum speed it can write error free to the media. The technology works very well; it keeps you from making many coasters. Coasters are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Like most CDRW drives on the market today, the Plextor 40/12/40A features BURN-Proof. It works by allowing the laser to stop and be restarted, nearly eliminating buffer under runs. The controller inside the drive monitors the drives cache, 4MB is included in the 40/12/40A, and when a buffer under run is about to occur the controller stops the laser from recording memorizing the position it was last in. When the buffer has been replenished with data, the laser continues burning where it left off. BURN-Proof works very well.
With the US version of the drive, Plextor includes Roxioís Easy CD Creator 5.0 basic. They also include utilities such as Plextor Manager 2000, which isnít for use with Windows XP, and a copy of Liquid Player. The most popular CD authoring program is Nero, which is included with European drives. I would like to see Plextor start bundling Nero with US drives as well.
The drive itself is as standard as any CD drive. The faceplate is available in both white and black; however, the black costs a good bit more. The faceplate is the same as most previous PlexWriterís. It has the standard headphone jack, volume control, emergency eject hole, LED, and eject button.
The back of the drive has digital sound outputs, the jumpers, IDE connector, and power connector. The jumper has options for master, slave, or cable select. There is also a jumper setting that allows you to force DMA mode if for some reason you cannot select DMA from inside your operating system.