The newest drive from Plextor, the Premium, is aimed at business users seeking the best quality burns and the most features. This drive reads and writes at 52x and re-writes at 32x, the fastest I have ever seen a drive rewrite at. The new drive also sports some more features such as PoweRec and GigaRec. Read on, for our review of this amazing drive.
In The Box Comes:
The Drive (52x32x52)
A Quick Reference Guide
A Software CD
A Verbatim Super Azo Data Life Plus 52x CD-R
An IDE Cable
A bag of screws, jumpers, and an emergency eject tool
My drive was manufactured in April 2003. For this review, I will be using the firmware version 1.0; there is a 1.1 available now.
This drive has an 8MB Buffer and can write at the following speeds in the following modes.
It can re-write at the following speeds.
Now for the features it offers.
PoweRec= Plextor Optimized Writing Error Reduction Control
This allows for you to burn at the highest speed while retaining the highest quality burn. This is enabled by default. It can be disabled in the PlexTools Pro Software.
This allows you to reduce jitter when burning Audio and Data. This would come in handy mostly when burning Audio. You can chose either 8x or 4x recording speeds when using this feature. There is even an option on there for what type of dye your disk has.
The new GigaRec feature allows you to put up to one gigabyte on a standard 700MB disk. When you use GigaRec, you must use 4x, it also disables buffer under-run protection. The below screenshot of the GigaRec settings area is with a 700MB Fuji (Taiyo Yuden) 48x disk in the drive.
This is Secure Recording. It makes it so that before you can see the contents of the disk, you must type in your password. This feature is definetly aimed at the business user who is burning sensitive data.
If you have ultra quiet fans in your computer and you don’t want the drive to add any noise. Use this feature. It allows you to limit the reading and writing speeds so that it produces less noise. You can also change the tray loading and ejecting speeds as well as the access time. I will not be able to test this feature as I have three 48.8 dBA fans in my test system.
PlexTools Pro Software
I consider the PlexTools Pro Software a huge feature! The biggest one is Q-Check, you will see more of this later in the review.
Installation as always is simple. Just follow the instructions in the manual and you will be fine. The software installation is simple, just select the software you want to install after the auto-run feature comes up. Then install the software.
Now on to the part of the review you have wanted to see! Performance!
For my tests, I will be using Nero CD Speed and the PlexTools Pro Program.
First, I will be doing Read Tests, I will do tests with Speed Read on and off.
The Test Disk I will be using is the software disk that came with the drive.
Speed Read Off
Speed Read On
As you can see, with speed read off, the drive performs just as it should. With speed read on however, the disk only gets to 47x, it should get to 52x.
Now for the write tests, I will be using Fuji 48x CD-R’s for this test. They are manufactured by Taiyo Yuden.
As you can see, this drive is no problems at all reaching the 52x write speed.
Next I will tell you the actual writing times it takes to write 650MB of data for each type of media that I have. These times will be actual burning times, including Lead-In and Lead-Out.
This drive is a little picky when it comes to media. Now, to show you the quality of the burns that this drive gives, which is what it was burned for, here are the results from the Q-Check C1/C2 Checker.
These are all very good results. No C2 Errors at all is great. I received the best results on the Verbatim 48x and the TDK 48x. The Verbatim disks are real good with this drive. The TDK disks are only good because it was burned at a slow speed, 32x.
Now I’ll test out VariRec, and we’ll see if it actually makes a difference. I will burn Paul McCartney Back in the World CD1 for my test. The CD is 70 minutes long. I will burn it at 40x with VariRec disabled, and 4x with VariRec Enabled.
40x VariRec Disabled
4x VariRec Enabled
As you can see, the Jitter Levels are much lower when using VariRec, the Beta line is also more even. This is good; it means that none of it is over or under pronounced making for great quality throughout the disk.
Well to sum it up, this drive is excellent. It has trouble reaching its rated read speed with Speed Read On. The writing speed and quality is excellent. The VariRec feature is amazing. I used the GigaRec feature to burn a CD and it was excellent. While the speed was limited to 4x, the drive did indeed write the 1 Gigabyte it is told to write. I also tested that disk in my Lite-On LTD-163D DVD-ROM drive and the disk read perfectly. It just took a little while than longer to detect the CD.
This is an excellent drive. It comes with great features and it writes at a high speed. Lately with CD Writers, all we have seen is speed increases, with this drive; Plextor includes excellent features to keep you using this drive for a long time. The Premium performed just as I expected it to. While its reading is not too good, and I took off half a banana for that, the writing part of it is excellent. I just recommend you get another Reader, perhaps a DVD-ROM Drive. The drive costs 130 United States Dollars and this drive is well worth that price tag.
High Speed 52x Writer
First Drive to write at 32x Rewritable
Comes with excellent features like, PoweRec, GigaRec, VariRec, SecuRec, Silent Mode and Q-Check
Sports an 8MB Buffer
Reading only goes to 48x