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In House Review - Plextor PlexWriter Premium 52/32/52 CD-RW

Burn baby burn!

Postby Noua on Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:00 pm

Ian,

One suggestion, why don't you carry a kind of benchmark for a group of recorders. I mean, get the most popular recorders and make a comparison of performances. I recall when I was deciding witch cd rw to buy, that I looked for a comparison and found none. I did found reviews of several recorders but a review isn't a comparison... For instance you could get several 48x recorders and make the tests. Another group could be 52x recorders... I know that on your reviews you make comparisons witch are helpful.
I know that it's easy to say and to suggest and you probably have a lot of work to do but it's just a hint.. If you need any kind of help don't hesitate...
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Postby Ian on Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:52 pm

Yeah, good old roundups. I'd like to do more like that CD-ROM roundup I did awhile back, but I just don't have time.

Since we use the same benchmark hardware for most of our reviews, you can go and compare the performance yourself.
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Postby robertb on Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:00 pm

Well I keep reading the in house review of the Plexwriter 52x32x52 and I am beginning to wonder if I have got the same software as everybody else.
I am afraid I am an amateur and having used a Hewlett packard CD writer for a couple of years without any troubles decided to upgrade to the Plexwriter Premium.
HA HA to get a bit more speed
Well now 4 days later I am still trying to get the Plextools software to work properly.
I have gone through everything from Aspi warning errors to complete screen freezes and errors complaining about MCILAU.dll (which before I deleted this dll file totally prevented access to plextools software.)
Also maybe someone could please answer this question.
The plextor tools installation disk (version 202) which came with the new drive installs about 12 mb of files onto my computer. Why is it that on the plextools CD there seems to be a 584MB bin file. What is this for?? Does it contain any data ? And if it does contain any data presumably Plextools could not open this bin file since it seems to only open .PLX or .ISO files
I nearly went crazy since I decided to use this Plextools CD as the target disk to try out the plextools cd copy function . I was completely unable to copy the Plextools CD. I decided to test the same CD with the Q test software . The test threw out several thousand c2 errors and about 400 cu errors.
At first I wasn't sure if the hardware was up the shoot or I had received a duff CD but presume only that plextools does not like to try and copy this bin file ?
But what is it there for? The program is free as a 9MB download from Plextors site isn't it?
I have tried hard with this software and installed it on a brand new installation of Windows 98 as well as a new installatoion of Windows ME and have only experienced problems.
For example the plextools CD rom maker
It looks pretty and says you can drag and drop files into it to create a CD Rom. But where do you drag them from? If I click on the "folder open" icon it activates Windows explorer on this computer and Plextools vanishes.
I have used various software including Nero , Easy CD creator and NTI cd maker without problems but am totally poleaxed by this software.
Does anyone agree with this?
regards
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Postby dodecahedron on Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:40 pm

robertb wrote:I have gone through everything from Aspi warning errors to complete screen freezes and errors complaining about MCILAU.dll (which before I deleted this dll file totally prevented access to plextools software.)

could it be you have a bad ASPI layer?
i suggest you download ForceASPI (version 1.7) here's 2 links:
http://www.afterdawn.com/software/cdr_s ... rcaspi.cfm
http://www.cyrus.troy.btinternet.co.uk/downloads.htm
and remove the old ASPI and install ASPI 4.60 with ForceASPI. (unzip the file and read the instructions in the index.htm file).

robertb wrote:The plextor tools installation disk (version 202) which came with the new drive installs about 12 mb of files onto my computer. Why is it that on the plextools CD there seems to be a 584MB bin file. What is this for?? Does it contain any data ? And if it does contain any data presumably Plextools could not open this bin file since it seems to only open .PLX or .ISO files
I nearly went crazy since I decided to use this Plextools CD as the target disk to try out the plextools cd copy function . I was completely unable to copy the Plextools CD. I decided to test the same CD with the Q test software . The test threw out several thousand c2 errors and about 400 cu errors.
At first I wasn't sure if the hardware was up the shoot or I had received a duff CD but presume only that plextools does not like to try and copy this bin file ?
But what is it there for? The program is free as a 9MB download from Plextors site isn't it?

sounds like you might have a bad CD.
the PlexTools updater programs are some 9.5MB in size.
the newest version is 2.03, try to download that from www.plextor.be and to install it.
try contacting Plextor and have them send you a new CD.

robertb wrote:For example the plextools CD rom maker
It looks pretty and says you can drag and drop files into it to create a CD Rom. But where do you drag them from? If I click on the "folder open" icon it activates Windows explorer on this computer and Plextools vanishes.

you drag files from an Explorer window into the PlexTools CDROM maker window.
if you click the Max button, it opens a window that all of it is the CDROM maker compilation window. as far as i can tell, the "regular" PlexTools window is right under it! look in the taskbar, there are 2 buttons, one for the regular PlexTools window, one for the CDROM maker window. if you want to revert to the "regular" Plextools display you click on the Min button and the Max window closes. the folder icon (in the Max mode) opens an explorer window for you to drag files from!

robertb wrote:I have used various software including Nero , Easy CD creator and NTI cd maker without problems but am totally poleaxed by this software.
Does anyone agree with this?

sorry, i don't agree.
too bad you have trouble with the program/installation.
i hope you manage to install it and get it working. it's cool!

from your various posts i gather that you got rid of that dll from netscape. upgrade to 2.03 and i hope it will work for you.
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Postby Inertia on Sun Jun 08, 2003 5:09 am

For cfitz and KCK.

KCK wrote:cfitz:

Apparently even owners of PlexWriter Premium aren't sure what their C1/C2 counts mean:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php ... adid=69593

Note that Frederick claims C1=E11+E21 and CU=E32 without giving a reference.


In the PlexTools Professional Help file, it states:

C1: indicates BLER, which is the number of *E11+E21+E31.
C2: indicates the number of E22.
CU: indicates the number of E32.

These are the number of frames that have correctable or uncorrectable errors, counted per second.

The existence of C1 and C2 errors on a CD is perfectly normal, since they can be cor­rected by the drive's CIRC logic. However, these numbers should not be too high since they can create uncorrectable errors when the disc's playability decreases (for in­stance, by means of dust, fingerprints, scratches, etc.).

In case of CU errors, there is a chance that the data will become unreadable.


*Edit- C1 errors are labeled incorrectly in the PlexTools Professional Help file. E12 & E13 should be E21 & E31. The quote has been edited to correct this error.

It is interesting to note that Plextor is disclosing their adherence to an accurate definition and method of determining BLER. That is, it is not C1 errors per se that are being counted but the number of frames that contain C1 errors of any type. This is the correct method for gathering information to determine BLER. Instead of the misleading acronym for BLock Error Rate, BLER is actually the frame error rate. Each block (sector) has 98 frames (24 bytes in each frame).

This would also seem to imply that all sectors are being counted during error measurement, as a frame is the smallest divisible data container on a CD. This may be one of the differences with KProbe, and may somewhat explain why KProbe may allow testing at the higher speeds. KProbe's high percentage sampling may allow it to run at the fastest speeds, while Plextor may be doing a complete error count. This is of course speculation on my part.

As to the question of why only E22 C2 errors are disclosed, at least they have disclosed what they are measuring. Personally, I have no problem with this method, as it differentiates between the less serious E12 C2 errors. One perspective is that E12 errors would be primarily represented by the E31 errors included in the C1 BLER (frame error rate). Under normal conditions, most E31 errors would be corrected at the E12 stage.

Finally, CU reports E32 errors, the type of error where data may become unreadable. This is Plextor's definition, following the standard practice. Disaffected gadflys, please complain to Plextor if you wish to correct someone. :wink:

The thing that I like about the Plextor error test is that is possible to calculate BLER, which is probably the most often quoted CD error measurement reference. I like KProbe a lot, but I would like to know more about what is actually being measured, or if it can even be used to calculate BLER.

As I understand it, BLER is not calculated in the Plextor test, but the raw data is there. My method to calculate BLER is to divide the total frame errors by the number of seconds on the test disc. Using the data from the Plextor Plex Tools Help, total C1 errors of 22,585 divided by 4,440 seconds (total seconds in a 74 minute disc) would result in a BLER of 5. The ISO standard for BLER requires a 10 second average, but the calculation above is the average for the entire disc.

All in all, GUI and other user preferences aside, I am happy to see Plextor involved in the error measurement business for the home user. As more information is made available as to what is actually happening in these error testing programs, the art will advance. It is always useful to have options and competition in order to advance the field.
Last edited by Inertia on Mon Jun 09, 2003 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby dodecahedron on Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:40 pm

nice post :)
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Postby Ian on Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:56 pm

Thanks for the info Inertia
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Postby robertb on Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:04 pm

Hi
Thanks a lot for the detailed 4 point reply to my various questions about the plextools software.
I have followed up and acted on all the points you mentioned.
Actually this still did not clear the problem . I went a bit further and deleted every multimedia program on this computer even Windows media player and sound recorder but although the plextools program opened the cd copy function refused to work and gave out the following error message.
PLEXTOOL caused an exception 10H in module PLEXTOOL.EXE at 0187:0052f405.
Registers:
EAX=01930020 CS=0187 EIP=0052f405 EFLGS=00010202
EBX=00e12ee0 SS=018f ESP=00e127d0 EBP=00e127fc
ECX=00e13424 DS=018f ESI=00e12ee0 FS=0e8f
EDX=00000004 ES=018f EDI=00000000 GS=0000
Bytes at CS:EIP:
d9 c0 d9 54 24 18 df 7c 24 10 df 6c 24 10 8b 54
Stack dump:
00000004 002899ac 00e13424 00401584 01938620 00000000 00e12ee0 00e12ee0 00e12a30 00e13424 0044053d 00e12a30 00440571 00000001 10624dd3 40093958

Plextor suggested that I delete the Netscape Media Player Audio Codecs to cure the dll problems . I did not know which codecs related to Netscape but luckily I have a list of the codecs that are present on a new Windows 98 installation. So I deleted all other Audio codecs on this computer that were not on that list.
That appears to have solved the problem.
I got a bit trigger happy with the delete button and lost track of which ones I killed.
But currently the following 8 codecs are not disturbing Plextools

Lernaut & Hauspie , Frauenhofer mpeg layer3 , Vivoactive audio decompressor , Indeo audio software , Voxware audio codecs ,Windows media audio , Spiro lab telecomACELP net audio ,Microsoft PCM converter

I must say this drive is really quiet and purrs like a little Rolls Royce and I just can't wait to actually copy something on it !!
I know what you mean there is something special about it but I still say the software is not for the fainthearted.
Best regards
nice poem it cooled me down
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Postby Ian on Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:44 pm

Robertb, have you tried doing a clean install of Windows?
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Postby KCK on Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:30 pm

Inertia:

Concerning your extract from the PlexTools Professional Help file, shouldn't "C1: indicates BLER, which is the number of E11+E12+E13" be replaced by "C1: indicates BLER, which is the number of E11+E21+E31"? Similarly, in your discussion of C2, shouldn't E21 and E31 be replaced by E12 and E31?
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Postby Inertia on Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:47 am

KCK,

Thanks for catching that with your sharp eyes. :)

I copied the quoted information intact from the PlexTools Help file. It has the wrong labeling system for C1 errors. Unfortunately I assumed that their erroneous labels were correct and used that error description logic in my post. I have edited it to fix the labels and will send an email to Plexor about the incorrect labels for C1 errors.
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Postby KCK on Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:35 am

You are welcome, Inertia! My eyes are just sharp enough for the font size in your "*Edit..." footnote, but I foresee trouble if that font size becomes popular! :cry: :P
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Postby Inertia on Mon Jun 09, 2003 4:15 pm

Fixed! :)
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Postby robertb on Mon Jun 09, 2003 7:53 pm

Reply to Ian

Yes I have tried the whole thing again with a clean install of Windows on a second computer.
That is mainly how I managed to sort out which codecs came with win 98. Using this information I deleted other codecs present on this computer in order to get it working.
On a clean install the only problem was the aspi layer which was showing as aspi 1 point something. Plextools gave out warning messages on this but seemed to work.(funny that they don't have some sort of aspi installer on the disk like Nero does) The trouble was I had the plextools disk in the drive while testing on the new installation and was using this for the cd copy test (The Plextools software disk is labelled20030501v202/136-0 ) This Cd has a whopping 584MB bin file on it labelled ~PXPT.bin and gave out endless errors when I tried to simulate copy or copy it. Since the software is freely downloadable I could not believe there would be copy protection on the disk and came presumably to the wrong conclusion that the software was still playing up. I asked Plextor what this file was but so far received no reply.
Anyway I am still stumbling along with the Plextools software and managed a complete dud on my first cd copy with it since Plextools seems to come preset to write at 52 times , not to correct errors or reduce speed so my 48x disk presumably couldn't stand the pace. Also the target disk had a few errors on it so I suppose this magnified the problem.
My second attempt was an audio Cd for mum. Playtime 73.25 minutes on a 700 MB Verbatim CDR super azo 48x disk
I didn't find anywhere in Plextools to save the playlist (for cd cover)
The Cd works fine on the 2 audio players here but her JVC cd player bought 2 years ago I think its a UX T55 says "No disk in Drive"
I'm still puzzling over that.
It's obviously not idiot proof but luckily disks are fairly cheap so I'm sure I will crack it soon
best wishes
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I'm NOT Paranoid, I'm Being Watched

Postby Inertia on Wed Jun 11, 2003 4:21 am

I mentioned in my earlier post that I emailed Plextor to advise them of the incorrect labels for C1 errors in the Plex Tools Professional help file.

I got a prompt and courteous reply from Plextor Europe's engineering manager in which he stated that they had already read my report on the internet and had immediately changed the software. He went on to state that a new version with several smaller fixes is to be uploaded soon.

If you are reading this, Mr. Rik Swusten, thank you for your quick action and excellent service. :)
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Postby Scour on Thu Jun 12, 2003 6:55 pm

Hello!

@Ian:

Will you also review the Plextor 5224?
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cu
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Postby Ian on Thu Jun 12, 2003 7:13 pm

Scour wrote:Hello!

@Ian:

Will you also review the Plextor 5224?


Yeah, we're planning on it. It's not expected to ship for a few more weeks though.
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Jun 12, 2003 7:19 pm

that'll be interesting - to see how if fares compared with the Premium...
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Postby Scour on Fri Jun 13, 2003 9:57 am

Hello!

That would be nice and interesting :)

Thanks, Ian
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