Plextor PlexWriter 8/4/32A CDRW - Page 3

Plextor Manager 2000:
After installing the various utilities in Windows, the CD-RW takes on 2 additional property tabs accessed via right-clicking its icon.  As you can see, this displays useful drive information and also allows one to customize various drive settings.

The Plextor Manager 2000 CD-ROM consists of 4 main utilities, namely Audio Capture 2000, Disc Dupe 2000, MVP 2000 and AudioFS 2000.  Let’s focus on each to see their offerings:

Audio Capture 2000: In short, this is simply a CD-Audio track ripper that allows one to “rip” out entire tracks from your favourite audio CD and convert them for storage as “.wav” files on your HDD.  In my opinion, this doesn’t really add any commercial value to the bundle, as I believe other free CD-ripping software also commonly exists on the Internet.  So I guess such a utility does make the package more complete, but I would rather Plextor had focused on CD-Writing software itself, being more specialized and core to the drive’s usage.

Extracting audio tracks works easily and perfectly well with the Plextor drive.

Disc Dupe 2000: This utility allows one to theoretically perform a CD-ROM to CD-R/RW copy (both “On-The-Fly” or via a Temporary File Image).  But unfortunately, the utility just couldn’t detect my Sony DVD-ROM drive as my source CD-ROM Master. At first I suspected it to be a configuration problem (being a DVD-ROM) or my physical setup. However on further scrutiny of the manual, I realized that the utility only supports Plextor CD-ROM drives as source drives (explicitly stated)!  So I guess this makes “On-The-Fly” CD-R/RW replication unusable for me, and others alike who do not possess another Plextor CD-ROM drive as a source. But having said that, one could still use the Imaging method of first copying all source data onto a Temp Image on your HDD, and then transfer that Master image onto a blank CD-R (by swapping discs on the Plextor CD-RW).  Still, I found this shortcoming unforgiving, as it would have been extremely practical to incorporate support for generic source drives.

Now why weren’t generic source drives supported I wonder?

MVP 2000: Besides being a generic audio/video player that handles standard audio CDs, MPEG-1s, “.wav” files, MP3s, etc, alike, this application also serves as the base for configuring the suite of PM2000 utilities for your drive.  But as before, I found little commercial value in this app and could easily have used Windows Media Player (inbuilt into Win98) for all my playback needs.

I still prefer WinAmp as my CD cum MP3 player…

AudioFS 2000: This is not really a program but a driver that allows one to extract out Audio CD tracks and convert them to “.wav” files just by dragging + dropping them via Windows Explorer. Innovative as it may sound, actually a freeware version similarly exists (CDFS.vxd) that simply replaces Window’s default version.

Needless to say, the meagre CD-Writing software capabilities offered by PM2000 seem insufficient for even my archiving + backing-up needs. However, granted that it was an OEM drive I received afterall, I guess I can’t complain. But do note that one most definitely has to purchase additional third-party writing software to get the most out of such an OEM drive. In the end, I did myself a favour and bought a copy of Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator 4 and Direct CD 3.0, to perform all subsequent benchmarks. This was in lieu of purchasing a CD-RW/R for myself in the near future anyway.  However, do note that both Adaptec software need a patch via their web-site (after registration) to allow proper recognition of the drive.

Oh well, I guess other OEM
manufacturers also have such poor software
bundles. But more importantly: “Does the drive deliver?”

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