Maximum of 40X and minimum of 17X speed data transfer. Almost 3 times more
data throughput than typical sixteen speed drives. User will experience an
average drive rating of over 27X.* Support for Ultra SCSI burst rates of 20MB/sec.
result in faster completion of computing tasks and less drag on the host CPU.
Ultra SCSI speeds up the entire computer system especially when used with
other SCSI devices. Fast access times, combined with Ultra SCSI burst transfer
rates, speed up multitasking operating systems such as Windows NT and Windows
95. Database searches also run faster. Optimized management of 512KB buffer
results in use of less CPU resources - under 20% utilization - for increased
system efficiency and improved audio/video playback. In combination with fast
data access speeds, even demanding games work in real time directly from the
ULTRAPLEX 40max. No need for full install of data on your hard disk, saving
Front panel and software controls for easy playback of your favorite music
CDs. Flash Firmware. Allows installation of new firmware without opening the
drive. Easily upgrade to support the latest technology without having to purchase
the next generation drive. Easy installation and upgrade with SCAM (SCSI Configured
Auto Magically) - SCSI IDs are auto-selected and termination can be auto-configured.
Especially beneficial for first time install and sharing of external drives
on several machines, SCAM is true plug and play.** Warranty - Full two years:
parts, labor, or replacement. More Reliability - Solid construction and advanced
components place the ULTRAPLEX 40max a cut above the rest. Auto balancing
spindle motors with two bearings on cushioned suspension ensure minimal disc
vibration and years of dependable service. Plextor users can better read unbalanced
or poorly manufactured CDs. More Compatibility - All major operating systems
including Windows 95, Windows NT; reads all major formats, including CD-Extra
(CD-Plus), Multi-session, Enhanced CD; reads all recordable formats - CD-R
(CD-Recordable) media, CD-R/W (CD-Re-Writable) and applicable standards such
as CD-UDF packet writing standards. The result is worry-free installation
and playback. *Verified by CD-TACH Benchmark Drive Rating Score which measures
CAV transfer rates relative to standard CLV transfer rates. **Requires SCAM
(SCSI Configured Auto Magically) capable SCSI interface board available in
special ULTRAPLEX 40max max kits.
Plextor ManagerTM 32-bit software utilities offer unique features, including
Digital Audio Extraction at high speed. Create .WAV files from CD-Audio discs.
Or use Plextor's new AudioFS to view and browse CD-Audio discs as .WAV files
automatically. You can drag and drop these .WAV files to other applications
and the extraction occurs automatically. Even send digital audio directly
to USB speakers. In addition, Plextor Manager offers DiscDupeTM which gives
you the power to use the UltraPleX as a source to duplicate CDs directly to
a PlexWriterTM CD-R with "bit-by-bit" accuracy using Disc-at-Once
method - no expensive software add-ons needed. Other valuable utilities include
CD/AV player and complete audio CD control; and DiscInfoTM, which reports
the disc format, file type, tracks and number of sessions.
YOU STILL HERE? OH, GOOD! READ ON...
Possibly, this will be the last time I'll post ALL of the respective manufacturer's
specs. I think a link to their site would do. If you want the above section
to be removed in future reviews, let Me know.
Something should be said about the incredibly extensive description and specifications
that Plextor provides. If you still need more info after reading them, you're
either an engineer or nut case. And I read data books from companies like
Burr Brown and Motorola! I don't need anything more. Kudos to Plextor for
the most informative, user friendly descriptions I've ever seen.
The Gooooood Stuff...
When I pay a Mercedes price, I, well, want a Mercedes quality product and
the Plextor Combo does not disappoint in the least. Excepting external CD-R/CD-ROM
units, these are the heaviest and best constructed products to date. Of course,
pure weight does not, by itself indicate an excellent product but in Plextor's
case, it sure helps.
Most CD-R's have flashable BIOS's and the 820T stays in step; however, the
40X Max CD-ROM also has a flashable BIOS. A much rarer quality and one that
is much appreciated. BIOS flashing can cure many problems stemming from dirty
or scratched CD's. These are products that can, over a limited time, grow
with you. Instead of throwing them out, and you'd cry because of the mullah
you paid for them, merely flashing them up to the newest BIOS can extend the
useable lifetime probably for a few years. Try that with a CPU.
The Combo I received from Buy.Com included a software bundle, 8X CD-R, and
the 40X Max CD-ROM. No SCSI-2 card or audio cables; you're on your own for
those items. But not to worry! The myriad of choices is confusing, but in
the end I opted for a hot little dude that hails by the name of TEKRAM. The
DC-315U to be precise. A nifty SCSI-2 (8-bit) PCI card that comes with a 2
device cable and weighs in at about 35 smackers. It is not a bootable card
due to the absence of a BIOS, but a few mods to the Win98 bootdisk and viola!
Bootable DC-315U! If anyone requires this "special" bootdisk, email
me and I'll upload it to you.
Audio cables must be a mystery, why else does hardly anyone include these
gems in the box? They can't possibly cost the manufacturer more than 25 cents
to make and I haven't seen any designer (read: high end) cables available
in the local outlets. Must be a conspiracy. Ten bucks a whack is stupid. I
get 'em bulk for $2.99 and I STILL think that's a crime. Now that my mini
rant is over, grab two sets, you'll need them.
How Do They Work?
In a few words, very well, thank you. I've tried Manager 2000 (Plextor's own
mini-software), Adaptec's EZ CD Creator 3.5 and 4.0 with no troubles at all.
I even tried Feurio's overburning tests and the results with TDK 8X media
was fantastic! I could squeeze another 3+ minutes on a 74 minute disc without
any additional errors. The Plextor Manager 2000 software is cool because you
can now drag and drop CDA (CD Audio) files from any disc onto your desktop
and the conversion process takes place automatically. Another advantage of
PM 2000 is that copy coded or hard to read discs usually burn with no problems--they
may not burn at 8X, but they'll burn nevertheless.
Tests: When Is 40X Like 50X?
Last month, I reviewed several plain-Jane CD-ROMs and gave eye- opening speed
results. "X" did NOT mark the speed of most drives. Both the 820
and 40X units actually OUTPERFORMED most other drives of similar and higher
The 40X max is of particular interest. Rated as an 8000 rpm drive, 40X or
6MB/s is a little low considering the spindle speed. I suppose that this contributes
to an overall data transfer rate of 31X (4.65MB/s). With badly damaged or
dirty discs, rather than read any number of errors, the drive initiates a
"speed down" mode where it slows to a consistent 24X rate. Why is
this good? The speed down of most other drives I've tested squashes the transfer
rate to as low as 4X (but mostly 8X)! YUCK! Periodically, this phenomenon
occurs seemingly randomly, even when using discs in perfect condition. I suppose
you could call it the "I don't like you transfer rate," or IDLYTR
The audio transfer rate is a two parter. With a neat, but very unpublicized
utility from Plextor called Speed Down Disable v1.00, you can remove the IDLYTR
property from any audio CD. Suddenly, this 40X rated unit has a maximum peak
rip of 41X and an average rip of 32X using full 74 minute discs. That 74 minute
disc can be completely converted to .wav's on a hard drive in less than 140
seconds! This audio ripping speed is only available when Speed Down Disable
is activated. For some odd reason, I can't get it to work with data CDs--the
computer literally STOPS when I try, so use at your own risk!
What a CD-R...with a huge 4MB buffer, the 820T has a hard time burning coasters
unless you're a real moron. My test setup, a P2 233 overclocked to 266 on
an Intel MB never strained during my 1/2 dozen or so burns. Some of this may
be attributed to the SCSI nature of relieving the processor of certain operations,
but the Plextor's buffer makes a big difference. At 8X (1.2MB/s) 4MB of "idiotproofness"
will last a little over 3 seconds. After that, your CD had better be the correct
color for the coffee table because that's where it's going. Even with that
giant buffer, don't do anything else while burning! Simply hitting the start
button can whack the CPU utilization to 100% for a few seconds and drain your
precious buffer to zero.
The 820 could read audio and data discs at exactly the same rates. Averaging
16X for audio and 16X for data seems boring but remember, this is only a 20X
drive. Speed Down Disable is not needed for the 820 because it never, and
I mean never, had a problem with any CD I threw at it. Why can't manufacturers
take those kind of laser heads and stuff 'em into all the readers? Somebody
I've already flashed my 820T twice. Once from v1.03 to 1.05 and then from
1.05 to 1.06. Notable is the flashing program, it works IN Windows. The Panasonic
unit I had previously needed a clean DOS boot before flashing. Very convenient!
Finally, Ending Remarks (Or Jeez, Won't Bill Ever Shut Up!)
Not being a SCSI fan, I was slightly apprehensive about nabbing this combo,
but after the power came on, all fears promptly left. If you've got an extra
PCI slot, grab this combo. The Tekram DC-315U even shares IRQ 11 with the
video card. I've just heard that the Plextor 8 writer is no longer King-Of-the-Hill,
Smart And Friendly has just released a 12X unit, one of their CD Rocket series
I think. Mmmmmm, I wonder when a 16X writer will be coming from Plextor, 9
minutes is starting to look like an awfully long time to burn a CD.