Plextor PX-S88TU -
at its maximum!
is something that many users and manufacturers have been waiting as a solution
to the needs for a fast peripheral connection for personal computers. After
the announcement of the USB 2.0, it was certain that many manufacturers would
take advantage of the increased BUS speed, and would ship new models. TEAC was
the first company to announce an external USB 2.0 recorder back in July of 2001
with the codename CD-RW280PU. Recently Plextor also introduced the PX-S88TU
with the exact same specifications (8/8/24) as the TEAC drive. As it seems,
the race for the best USB 2.0 external writer has just begun. Which of the two
is worthy of this title? Is USB 2.0 a real solution for external recorders?
Let's find out!
- What is USB Hi-Speed?
USB Hi-Speed is another name for USB 2.0. The official USB Promoter
Group didnt want the new USB 2.0 specification to be regarded as a completely
new standard, which would confuse consumers. Therefore, USB 2.0 was named as
USB Hi-Speed, and USB 1.1 got a new title as USB Basic Speed. The specification
was released on April 2000. USB 2.0 was developed because of the needs for increased
speed, much more than USB 1.1. USB 2.0 has a raw data rate at 480Mbps, and it
is rated 40 times faster than its predecessor interface, USB 1.1, which tops
at 12Mbps. With that increased speed, users can enjoy faster CD-RW drives than
4x writing, which was the limit for USB 1.1 hardware. :-)
USB 2.0 is backwards compatible, which means you can connect all
previous USB devices to the new USB 2.0 interface. The maximum length of a USB
2.0 cable is 5m, which makes it an ideal solution for external portable recorders!
- USB 2.0 hardware:
current M/B only support the USB 1.1. In order to be able to test both TEAC
and Plextor USB 2.0 writers, we used Adaptec's USB2connect 3100LP PCI card.
The USB2connect 3100LP is a USB 2.0 host adapter for PCs and Macs that provides
connectivity to USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices. "USB 2.0" is the fastest
USB standard - capable of transferring data at up to 480Mbit/sec while maintaining
backward-compatibility with current USB 1.1 devices.
The card has three external ports and one internal port for connecting
USB 1.1/2.0 devices. The original retail package didn't include any drivers.
Of course you could install the card but it would only work with USB 1.1 devices.
Both WinME and Win2k don't support the USB 2.0 protocol. WinXP has native support.
finally released the long awaited USB
2.0 drivers in August of 2001 and therefore we were able to start our tests.
The USB2connect also has a 10-foot (3m) USB 2.0 cable, 5 years of warranty and
costs around $65. We did notice some problems with Abit KT7 Raid M/B and with
the Adaptec's USB v1.0 drivers, blue screen :( , but it worked smoothly with
Intel based PCs. Maybe a future driver revision will correct these problems.
- PC Setup:
Intel P3 866@950
QDI Synactix 2EP
128MB SDRAM PC133
Adaptec 3100LP USB 2.0 card
Adaptec's USB 2.0 v1.0 drivers
TEAC CD-R/W 280PU firmware v1.1A
PleXWriter PX-S88TU firmware v1.02 #TLA 102