First Impression and Installation
Not ever having my own burner before, I was very excited to finally get one. I eagerly ripped open the packaging once I got the drive. The unit is very nicely packed in the box with protective foam. I always love to see how manufacturers package their products. It shows how much attention they pay to detail and quality. Plextor is definitely not slacking off on the quality side of things. The box contained the documentation, the install CD, some mounting screws, a CD-R and CD-RW, and of course the drive itself. The drive itself is a Sanyo drive, and is very well constructed. It even has a rear fan to help cool it down because at these speeds and with a laser, it's bound to get hot. My Antec SX1030B has those drive rails so installing the drive was easy. Seeing the drive in place brought a tear to my eye... I finally had a CD burner. It seemed surreal to see that I actually had a Plextor PlexWriter installed in my case. Well I guess it's only a CD Burner, not like a UFO sighting or being face to face to Britney Spear's breasts or anything like that. Even so, this is my first ever CD recorder, and it felt mighty good actually having one. No more asking other people if I want to record something. Now the people come to me. Anyway back to the installation... After connecting the drive to the motherboard and the audio connector to the sound card I was good to go. Windows 2000 detected the drive correctly. Then I proceeded to install the Adaptec Software from the Plextor CD. I elected not to install the PlextorManager and Liquid Audio Player since I really didn't need those programs cluttering up my desktop. The Adaptec software adds some more icons to your system tray by default. If you're trying to conserve system resources, you'll want to remove those pesky programs. Since I have 512 MB of memory, a couple more things won't really bog down my system, so I left them running.
Everything went fine and finally I was almost ready to test this baby out. Before testing any new hardware, I always go to the manufacturer's website and see if they have any updated drivers, firmware updates or things of that nature. I want to make sure the product is as bug free as I can get it, and so nothing will taint the performance results. It so happens that a new firmware upgrade was released on July 5. The upgrade adds a few improvements including better reliability by lowering the operating temperature (good for my system :)), improved read performance of CD-RW media, added the PowerRec feature, plus a few more. The PowerRec feature makes the drive automatically determine the media manufacturer, its part number and disc characteristics and then sets the appropriate laser power and write speed for any given disc. This process guarantees that the written disc has the highest quality playback, which is always a good thing. Now that everything was set up properly, I could hardly wait to burn my first ever CD on my own machine.