The Plextor 12-10-32 IDE CD-RW
after I receive and test the excellent Plextor
12-4-32 SCSI CD-RW, this other Plextor drive makes it's
debut. Arrgh! Well, it's actually "arrgh" in a good way. Any company
can't be faulted for continually improving their product line, especially
if it's every few months or so. The PX-W1210TA also boasts 10X re-writable
speed, and that's close to the 1.8MB/s data backup. Double digit writing and
re-writing speeds--mmmm, good. I wonder what's going to arrive next
from Plextor, a 16X CD-RW unit? I hope so.
How Fast Is 12X Anyway?
- CD-R Speeds:
1x, 4x, 8x, 12x
- CD-RW Speeds:
2x, 4x, 8X, 10X
- Data Read
- Audio Rip
Speed: 24x max
- IDE Interface
- Model PX-W1210TA
- One year
- Web price:
refers to the multiplier from which a normal digital audio disc would transfer
data at: 150KB/s. Now, 1.8MB/s may not seem much of a threat to today's 10,000
RPM hard drives, which can blast through 37MB/s with ease, but a standard
74 minute (650MB) CD-R fills up in just over 6 minutes.
burning CD's since the very beginning which was a whopping 1X...and it came
from a gray market Philips component (stand alone hardware) CD-R. TDK 63 minute
blanks cost $30 a pop in 1994. Then I did time with a Ricoh 2X'er, which cut
my labor in half to just a smidge over ½ an hour per disc. In the summer
of 1998, my brand new Panasonic 4X arrived and it was IDE to boot. Now, a
74 minute CD was filled in just over 17 minutes. Where I live, that equated
to 1 lap around the block in walking mode. The Plextor
Combo's 8X speed lowered my precious time to about 8 minutes, which meant
that I stopped walking and started boiling water for hot tea. I think I've
gained a few pounds too. But now we're near the 2MB/s mark.
is a very serious claim since no other manufacturer as of this writing has
anything much over the 4X speed. Needles to say, this was the first time I
was school-boy eager to test all aspects of that magic "10X" spec.
Now, the really cool thing about CD-RW is the ability to use the disc, after
formatting, as a giant floppy. Say goodbye to LS-120 people, serious re-writing
speed has arrived even if the 10X RW media is still scarce. When Adaptec's
Direct CD 3.01c was used to format the special purple Ricoh disc, capacity
dropped from 650MB to about 530MB which is somewhat disappointing even if
Using a stopwatch
and the trusty old Windows resource meters, I carefully prepared 516MB of
data consisting of files ranging from a few KB to 50MB and nervously watched
as the copy and paste operation completed. Unlike regular CD-R, which must
run at an almost perfectly consistent speed, CD-RW can vary all over creation.
For example, the test data I used transferred at rates from 4X to 8.33X (600
KB/s to 1.25 MB/s). While never actually reaching it's rated 10X RW speed,
the 12-10-32 is nonetheless the fastest RW tested to date at TargetPC. Generally
speaking, files under 1MB copied at the slower rates and files over 10MB copied
at the highest speeds. Now this is a re-writable that's worth using!
The rear of the Plextor
is well thought out and does include a digital output. The farthest jumper
to the left is the digital out, just check the pinout by clicking on the label
pic. Most CD-R's come with a shipping lock, a very handy device that physically
prohibits any movement of the delicate laser head assembly. This unit didn't.
Manufacturers should put these devices inside all CD-ROM's as many would be
saved from shipping damage. Of particular note on the label is the power requirements.
While not excessive, a total peak draw of 23 watts could strain an already
weak power supply. If your computer suddenly acts up after installing the
12-10-32, you may want to invest in a more capable unit.