iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Plextor PX-W1610TA


Basic claimed characteristics of the Plextor PX-W1610TA
Firmware version 1.00
Loading mechanism Tray
Recording modes Disc-At-Once, Track-At-Once, Session-At-Once, MultiSession, Packet Writing
Recording formats CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, CD-I, CD+G, Audio CD, CD Text, CD-Extra, Video CD
Read/write support in Raw-mode RAW-DAO - supported
CD+G RAW-DAO - supported
RAW-SAO - not supported
RAW-DAO Write Simulation - not supported
Average access time 140 ms
CD-R recording 1X, 4x, 8X, 12X, 16x
Burn-Proof support
CD-RW recording 2x, 4x, 8x, 10x
Reading 40x max (6000 Kbps)
Buffer size 2048 KBytes
Production date January 2001
Manufacturer Japan
Price as tested $330-350

Retail set includes:

  • Detailed user's manual
  • User's manual for a Plextor Manager 2000 utility set.
  • CD with a Plextor Manager 2000 utility
  • Poster with recommendations on installation of the CD-RW drive with colorful and detailed pictures.
  • CD with drivers and a program for CD recording and creation - EasyCD Creator 4.03 Standard and DirectCD from Roxio/Adaptec with a user's manual for these programs.
  • 1 CD-R and 1 CD-RW (Verbatim).
  • Register card.
  • 4 screws, a spare small bracket and "Eject Stick" - for emergency ejection of a disc (there is a special hole on the front panel).
  • An analog audio cable for connection to a sound card.
  • IDE-cable.


ATIP: 97m 34s 21f
Disc Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp.
Reflective layer: Dye (Long strategy; e.g. Cyanine, Azo etc.)
Media type: CD-Recordable
Recording Speeds: min. unknown - max. unknown
nominal Capacity: 656.40 MBytes (74m 43s 00f / LBA: 336075)

ATIP: 97m 34s 23f
Disc Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp.
Reflective layer: Phase change
Media type: CD-ReWritable
Recording Speeds: min. 4X - max. 8X
nominal Capacity: 656.40 MBytes (74m 43s 00f / LBA: 336075)

A bit unusual decoration style of a package: black tones with tongues of flame and the drive itself. Besides, I was surprised with a software set for recording CDs. I don't remember Plextor drives to be equipped with Adaptec software (Roxio today) with trial Verbatim discs. A poster with installation recommendations and a detailed user's manual makes me think that Plextor offers its version for beginners since a typical standard version is still lying on the shelves.

Software set for such recorders differ: WinOnCD 3.8 and DirectCD 5 from Roxio. Trial CD-Rs and CD-RWs are under Plextor trademark. The software supplied together with the PX-W1610TA is highly competent, there is everything to start recording CDs right after its installation. Whereas EasyCD Creator and DirectCD are well known to our readers, the Plextor Manager 2000 should be paid deeper attention to.

Basic components of this packet are three utilities: Plextor Audio Capture 2000 - a program intended to relieve a user from installation of popular analogs WinDAC and EAC. This product is designed to extract sound tracks from audio CDs. You can code into WMA format right away. Audio Capture interface is simple and well designed.

(Click the pictures to enlarge) Plextor DiskDupe 2000 - a program similar to a CD Copier, included into EasyCD Creator packet. The utility is simple to handle, it allows to copy a disc directly (CD-CD), or having created an "image" of a CD on the hard disc.

MVP 2000 - an alternative to WinAmp. Apart from audio file formats it also works with video files in MPEG or AVI formats.

Apart from the specified utilities with the Plextor Manager 2000 the AudioFS Driver is installed. It allows working with sound tracks on a CD like with WAV-files. You can estimate a file size and copy it to an HDD if necessary.

There is also a special control panel which allows to access many recorder's settings. After installation of the Plextor Manager, there appears a Plextor's icon next to a Windows clock. Click it with a left button and choose settings in order to change them.

Special bookmarks in the appeared menu are marked with the Plextor logotype. The first special item is "Settings". Here you can choose a speed mode for reading: CAV/CLV and a fixed speed. Besides, you can set a SpinDown time. Plus you can turn on/off AudioFS driver function support. Also you can block opening of a tray with a front panel button (Lock/Unlock), and adjust a balance of a right and a left channel of audio output or disable it at all.

The "Details" give information on the drive: firmware version, ASPI-driver, buffer size etc., as well as complete information on a disc which is currently inside the drive. If there is a disc, recorded manually or at the factory, you will get info on a number of tracks, sessions, a disc size etc. If a disc is blank you can read its ATIP.

The DirectCD Wizard must be well known to you. This bookmark is referred to DirectCD settings.

One more "Settings" bookmark is not special. This menu is standard with DirectCD installed and is enabled with a right click on a CD-RW drive's mark in My Computer and choice of "Properties" item. Here you can also get some data on the recorder and adjust its speed characteristics. The settings will be synchronized with the special "Settings" menu.

A bright yellow sticker on recommended CD-Rs for this recorder attracts attention.

Here you can get some proper data on the recommended CDs.

A severe and accurate design hasn't changed from the previous models apart from a writing "16/10/40" on the front panel.

On the front panel there are headphones jack (2), mechanical volume control (3), an open button (5), one indicator (4) and emergency ejection hole (6). The drive can be mounted both in vertical and in horizontal position: there are two spring clamps what is not enough for reliable mounting of a CD. A tray (1) goes out immediately on pressing the open button but slowly, with specific mechanical noise typical to Plextor.

The rear panel is standard except for a fan designed for maintanance a normal temperature balance inside the drive. As usual there are 4 connectors: for connection to IDE bus, for power supply, for analog and digital cable, and jumpers. Apart from them there are two pins marked as "Not used". After the PX-W1210TA recorder hit the streets it turned out that it was able to ensure data transmission not only in the default PIO Mode 4 protocol but also in UltraDMA. You must lock these two pins and the drive will work in UDMA 2 protocol. What this yields? First of all, less consumption of CPU resources. Though the tests showed that decrease is not significant. Moreover, in some tests (for example, in the WinBench 99) CPU utilization even rises. Besides, you should remember that installation of this mode is not officially supported by Plextor.

In the most programs we conducted tests with default settings, i.e. we didn't locked the jumper which enables UDMA 2 mode except the stipulated cases.

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