Plextor PlexWriter 8/20 8X Recorder

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Type of Product

The PlexWriter 8/20, Plextor's first high-performance 8X SCSI CD-Recordable drive, is a professional quality CD writer. It is literally twice as fast as the previous generation of 4X recorders, as it can write an entire 650MB CD in less than ten minutes. It writes data at 8X and reads at a maximum speed of 20X. The PlexWriter 8/20 offers 10MB/s data transfer rate and a 170 ms access time. view of recorderThe combination of a fast SCSI burst rate, low CPU utilization, a large 4MB buffer and synchronous data transfer all add up to increase the efficiency and the reliability of CD writing. It supports all major recordable CD-R discs and allows the reading of CD TEXT information as provided on the latest audio CDs. It is excellent for archiving or backing up data, images or video to CD-R, publishing data on CD, mastering new software programs, creating new multimedia titles, mixing and creating custom CD-Audio discs, CD duplication and file sharing. There is an external as well as an internal model. Price: External--$689.00. Internal--$599.00. See the Plextor Web site for information on other products:

User Level

The PlexWriter is an excellent choice for someone just learning how to record or copy CDs. It is easy to install and use, and there are good manuals and a thorough on-line help feature. Yet it has enough robust and powerful features for professional users.


  • 8X Recorder which writes at 8X, 4X and 1X speeds
  • 20X max/12X min P-CAV Reader
  • 170ms Average Random Access
  • 4MB Buffer
  • Fast SCSI Write & Read--10MB/sec. Burst Transfer Rates
  • Reads CD-R/W (CD-ReWritable) media
  • Media recognition circuitry and running OPC
  • Capable of Digital Audio Extraction at high speed
  • Upgradeable Flash Firmware
  • Windows 9x Plug & Play Compatible
  • MMC Complaint
  • Writes CD-DA; CD-ROM (Mode 1); CD-ROM (Mixed Mode); CD-ROM & CD-DA; CD-ROM XA; Mode 2 Form 1 and Form 2; Mode 2 Mixed Form; CD-I; Photo CD; CD-EXTRA
  • Creates ISO 9660-HFS; Rockridge; PhotoCD, Video CD; CD-I; CD-Extra (CD-Plus); Enhanced CD; CD-R; CD-Midi
  • Supports Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Multisession, Variable & Fixed packet writing modes
  • One-Year Full Warranty (parts, labor, replacement)
  • Unlimited Toll-Free Tech Support


Installation: Installation was straight forward and simple for the external model. I already had a SCSI card installed for a scanner. I had to disable the termination on the CD-R, via the DIP switches on the back panel, as I placed the CD-R as the first device in the daisy chain, and I enabled the termination on the scanner as it was last device in the chain. The SCSI ID number was okay at the factory setting, but it is easy enough to change by turning the dial on the back panel of the CR-R. With the hardware installed and configured, I proceeded to install the software. The manuals gave very clear information on the installation process.

Manuals: There are three manuals that come with the recorder: an PlexWriter 8/20 Operation Manual; a Plextor Hard Drive Disaster Recovery Software User's Manual, and a Plextor Manager User's Manual.

On-line Help: There is also on-line help for various software on the CD such as the Easy CD Creator software and the CD Copier software.

Construction: The external PlexWriter is a small compact product that will easily fit anywhere. It's about 7.0" wide, 2.24" high, and 12.03" deep. There is a front panel and software controls for easy playback of your favorite music CDs. Its solid construction and advanced components make for creating error-free CDs. Brushless motors with two bearings on cushioned suspension ensure minimal disc vibration. You don't have to tiptoe around the house while using the recorder for fear of jarring it and ruining a CD.

Other Applications Included on the CD--The PlexWriter comes bundled with a variety of software:

  • Plextor Manager--The Plextor Manager 32-bit software utilities offer unique features, including Digital Audio Extraction at high speed. Create .WAV files from CD-Audio discs. Or use Plextor's new AudioFS to view and browse CD-Audio discs as .WAV files automatically. You can drag and drop these .WAV files to other applications and the extraction occurs plextor managerautomatically. Even send digital audio directly to USB speakers. In addition, Plextor Manager offers DiscDupe which gives you the power to use CD-ROM drives as a source to duplicate CDs directly to a PlexWriter with "bit-by-bit" accuracy using Disc-at-Once method--no expensive software add-ons needed. Other valuable utilities include CD/AV player for complete audio CD control, and Disc Info, which reports the disc format, file type, tracks and number of sessions. See image to the right for view of the Plextor Manager.

  • Adaptec's Easy CD Creator 3.5 And CD Copier Deluxe--Using the Adaptec Easy CD Creator software, you can copy files from your computer to a recordable compact disc. Using a special write-once media, Adaptec Easy CD Creator allows you to permanently store data in creator wizarda format that is readable on virtually all CD-R and CD-ROM drives. In addition, the audio CDs you create with your CD recorder are readable in your home or car CD player. You can compile CDs of your favoeasy cd creatorrite music; archive data; back up a hard drive; disseminate information to field offices; distribute databases; create a test copy of a multimedia CD; make a master CD for disc duplication; duplicate a CD; erase and rewrite the contents on a CD; and make a custom jewel case insert. There is a wizardcd copier to help you with the process. See the image to the left for a view of the wizard. The image to the left is a view of the Easy CD Creator interface.The CD Copier Deluxe allows you to duplicate or make multiple copies of an existing CD--see image to the left. It's really important to remember to turn off all unnecessary background tasks when you are copying or recording. Otherwise you can get error messages.

  • Adaptec's Direct CD--This is a program that allows you to write files directly to a CD-Recordable (CD-R) or CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) disc in much the same way that you copy files to a floppy diskette or removable drive. You can read and write your files directly to your CD with any software application that can read from and write to a drive letter, for example direct cd wizardsoftware applications such as Microsoft Word when you use the Save or Save As commands; using Windows Explorer when you drag and drop files; using the Windows Send To command; and using MS-DOS command prompts. Direct CD provides a file system based on UDF v1.5 and writes data to the CD-R or CD-RW disc using packet writing technology. This file system gives you drive letter access to your CD-R or CD-RW drive. DirectCD includes a Wizard that guides you step-by-step through the process of preparing and ejecting CD-R and CD-RW discs. There is a wizard to help you with the process--see image to the right.

  • Plextor's CD Res-Q--This software is a hard drive disaster recovery utility. The software allows users to create an image of their hard drive on CD-R media using the PlexWriter 4X and faster CD-R drives. CD Res-Q is an executable file. It does not require any additional software. The program backs up an entire hard disk, including the operating system. A "snapshot" of the HDD is written to CD. This HDD image includes hardware configuration, registry settings, all the software, and your data--even shortcuts and screen backgrounds on cd rew-qthe desktop are exactly the same when restored. CD Res-Q allows users to span CDs in order to create images beyond 650MB in size on CD. You can make your backup CD-R disc bootable. Rather than booting to floppy, then restoring from CD, restoration can be done directly from the bootable CD. See image to the left.

Personal Comments

This is a very reliable, sturdy, easy to use CD recorder. The price might be somewhat steeper than for other brands but you get what you pay for. Plextor has an excellent reputation and this piece of equipment will give you fast and hasslefree recording for many years. It is simple enough for a beginner recorder but has enough power that a user will not have to spend more money upgrading it when they want advanced features.
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