Plextor PlexWriter review: Plextor PlexWriter

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent documentation; innovative hardware; solid support.

The Bad Mediocre performance.

The Bottom Line If slow and steady wins the race, the Plextor gets the gold. But though it has redeeming virtues, the PlexWriter was outperformed by lower-rated CD-RW drives.

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What do you expect from a 40X CD-RW drive? With 40X write, 12X rewrite, and 40X read ratings, the PlexWriter should be bounding ahead of its 32X/10X/40X competitors. And the company continues its tradition of meticulous attention to detail with comprehensive documentation, a stout software bundle, and hardware innovations. The drive also has a reasonable price. But despite its cutting-edge ratings, the PlexWriter trailed behind its peers in our performance tests. What do you expect from a 40X CD-RW drive? With 40X write, 12X rewrite, and 40X read ratings, the PlexWriter should be bounding ahead of its 32X/10X/40X competitors. And the company continues its tradition of meticulous attention to detail with comprehensive documentation, a stout software bundle, and hardware innovations. The drive also has a reasonable price. But despite its cutting-edge ratings, the PlexWriter trailed behind its peers in our performance tests.

More for less?
Introduced at $209, the Plextor has already hit the sub-$200 price range. For your money, you get the drive, all the necessary cables, a software CD, one blank CD-R, one CD-RW, a 66-page paper manual, and a slick but simple installation foldout. In addition to instructions for hardware installation and system optimization, the foldout has a quick-reference section that covers some software titles' features. Installation of the PlexWriter (compatible with Windows 98 and later) went smoothly.

The drive's software bundle is complete. The installation disc starts off with Roxio Easy CD Creator Basic and DirectCD for CD mastering and packet writing, as well as a trial version of Click'N Design 3D for CD and jewel-case labels. You can download, play, or stream audio files with Plextor Liquid Player+, but the star of the show is Plextor Manager 2000, which combines a powerful audio utility and a disc-copying utility called DiscDupe 2000.

Unfortunately, despite its impressive specs, the PlexWriter failed to impress in CNET Labs' tests. In the write tests, the Plextor lagged behind lesser-rated drives, such as the 32X CenDyne Lightning II and even the 24X Yamaha CRW3200EZ. The read test was also discouraging, with the Plextor taking more than 3 minutes to install Microsoft Office Small Business Edition. Redemption came in the audio-extraction test, where the Plextor ripped a 27-minute track in a respectable 1 minute, 2 seconds.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Write Speed 40x
  • Rewrite Speed 12x
  • Weight 2.6 lbs
  • Type CD-RW
  • Read Speed 40x