You’d have thought that if CD-RW drives got any faster they’d take off, or at least become so noisy that it would be impossible to use them without earplugs. But manufacturers such as Plextor continue to ‘push the burning envelope’, as it were. This new drive will not only read at 40-speed, it will write at that speed too. To put that into some perspective, it means that a full 74-minute CD can be burned in about two minutes. Re-write operations are rated at 12-speed; not quite so impressive, but still faster than most other drives.
This EIDE unit is otherwise unremarkable; it fits into any standard 5.25-inch drive bay, comes with audio and data cables and a selection of CD-R and CD-RW discs. There’s a brief but reasonably comprehensive manual and software supplied on CD; Nero 5.5 and InCD, which will cover just about anything you’d need to do, from disc duplicating to drag-and-drop packet-writing.
Various technological tweaks have been employed in the drive’s design to help ensure that the number of wasted CD-Rs (cheap as they are) is kept to a minimum. Plextor’s PowerRec II system checks the quality of the CD media automatically and changes its write speed accordingly. Even the black tray apparently has a function, absorbing some of the spurious laser light that could otherwise interfere with the burn process and cause ‘jitter’, would you believe.
The benefits of the PlexWriter’s performance are obvious, particularly if you have to copy CDs for a living (we’re talking about the distribution of beta software and documents or images here, not piracy). Aside from the irritation of having to keep changing discs every couple of minutes, you could easily churn out up to 30 copies per hour. You do, however, need to ensure that your motherboard’s UltraDMA controller is active, since the drive requires a higher bandwidth than lower-spec units.
And the noise? It’s still there. Not noticeably more intrusive than a slower drive, but you can still hear the whine. But given the performance and the price of this drive, a bit of background noise isn’t too much to contend with. And it’s also available in black.
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