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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > 12x CD-RW

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

2. Installation

TEAC CD-RW280PU vs. Plextor PX-S88TU - Page 2

- The PLEXTOR package:

We tested the Plextor USA retail package which includes: the drive itself, 2 printed manuals (one for the drive and one for Plextor Manager 2000), a quick reference guide, 1 blank CD-R 74min disk (real manufacturer Taiyo Yuden), 1 Verbatim HS-RW blank CD-R/W disk, a USB 2.0 cable, an AC (110-240V) adapter, a power cord and an emergency stick.

The attached CDR software comes from Roxio (Ez CD Creator v5.02x/DirectCD v5.0x) and also includes the famous Plextor Manager 2000 v1.12. The CD also includes USB 2.0 drivers for Win98SE in case you need them. We must note that both the drive and the Plextor Manager printed manuals are VERY well done and you should read them before getting started with your new Plextor recorder :)

The Plextor PX-S88TU is packaged in a different way than the usual internal PleXWriter series. The drive was <sandwiched> inside an airtight plastic bag, which protects the drive from any possible damage due to bad transportation handling. Remember that the drive is very slim and an awkward fall could possibly damage it. So you are advised you to keep the plastic bag in a safe place for any future need.

The PX-S88TU ships NOW in Japan/USA and on early October in Europe at a price of $290. Plextor USA shop has a promotional offer for users who will buy the first PX-S88TU batches: A free travel case for the drive specially designed to fit and protect the drive and all its accessories. It is not clear yet if Plextor Europe will make available similar offer. The bare drive of course is the same as with the European version but the retail package has some important differences:

- Europe : 2 year warranty, USA : 1 year warranty
- Europe : 16-language manual
- European power cable
- Europe : on site collect and return service for defective drives
- Europe: Nero, USA: Ez CD Creator

The PlexWriter S88TU has a silver and blue casing and dimensions of 141x22x171mm (WxHxD). It weights around 500g and is really very attractive to the user's eye. On the top of the drive there is an open window through which you can see if there is an inserted CD, something that is both aesthetic and practical, since Plextor suggests that no CD should be inserted while carrying the drive.

On the rear of the drive there is the power connector and the USB 1.1/2.0 port. Note that the Plextor drive works only if both the USB cable and the AC adapter are attached to the drive:

On the front you will find the eject button, a power led (power on/disc access/writing), the loading tray, the emergency eject hole and the "PleXWriter", "HS-RW", "BPRec" logos:

On the right hand side you will find the headphone jack, volume control and power on/off switch.

The drive is based upon the internal mechanism of the PX-W88 and it supports: 2x, 4x, 8x (CLV) writing/re-writing (with USB 2.0), 2x, 4x (CLV) writing/re-writing (with USB 1.1), 6x reading (USB 1.1) and 24x reading (USB 2.0), 2MB of buffer and BURN-Proof. It is very interesting that the PX-S88TU also supports 8cm but when such disks are used the reading speed is dropped to 18xCAV and record speed at 4x.

- Comparison between both drives:

After a close physical examination of both drives, we noticed that the Plextor PX-S88TU is slightly shorter than the TEAC CD-RW280PU. The Plextor drive also has a better tray design, since its operation seems more quiet and gives you a safer feeling when ejecting/inserting CDs and closing it. The TEAC's tray goes all the way out, which may seem easier while inserting CDs, but also moves more freely and may cause problems in the future if you aren't careful.

The Plextor drive has a better eject button, since it is easily reachable. With the TEAC you need to put more effort to eject the CD, since the eject button is embedded on the front design of the drive. The Plextor drive also has a volume control, something that the TEAC drive is missing. On the other hand, the TEAC drive is 50g lighter than the Plextor. Lastly you need to pay extra attention when you insert a CD to both recorders, since the laser lens is exposed and any wrong moves may damage it.

Both drives have the exact same recording specifications. Each drive has it's own personality. In our opinion the TEAC design more futuristic, while the Plextor has a more conservative one. Which one looks really better? Hard to tell. After all, everyone will tell you his or her own personal opinion.

- Installation:
Both drives were installed with the included USB 2.0 cable on the Adaptec 3100DLP USB 2.0 card, at the same time in different USB 2.0 ports. After a reboot, the system adds a warning icon in the task bar, which shows the installed USB devices. In case you have to uninstall one device you must select it and just press stop.

Note that both drives can be used with the USB 1.1 interface, but with a lower reading/writing performance (4/4/6) than with the USB 2.0.

The TEAC CD-RW280PU was identified as "TEAC CD-W28E":

The TEAC CD-RW280PU supports 8x writing, JustLink, CD-Text and not Overburn. Also, despite the fact that TEAC states the drive has 2MB of buffer, Nero reports only 1280KB. Noticed the connection bus? "USBMPHLP" at port 1 :-)...The TEAC drive was a 2001 model (unknown month) with firmware revision v1.1a installed.

The PleXWriter PX-S88TU was identified as "Plextor CD-R PX-S88T":

PleXWriter supports 8x writing, BURN-Proof, CD-Text and of course overburn. The PleXWriter PX-S88TU was an August 2001 model with firmware revision v1.02 installed. Note that Plextor strongly suggests that you only use the PX-S88TU in horizontal position and not in vertical since that will cause problems to the drive's mechanism.

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