Well, we do have a lot of numbers and whatnot. Some of the Plextor's specs are rather noteworthy and do deserve some discussion. Among them is the UW interface, the Plextor 40X/17X is the only ultra-wide CD-ROM drive on the market. That doesn't mean much for us in the gaming community, but it is a nice feature for those in the server/business community.
The UW compatibility allows for only high-speed connections to the SCSI bus. While every other SCSI CD-ROM available lies in the sub 20 MB/s transfer range, the Plextor UW is in the 40 MB/s range. When I initially purchased this drive I shelled out the extra 20 dollars for the UW interface. I could just as easily have saved that little amount as my SCSI card has the standard 50-pin connector as well as the 68-pin UW connector. If you already have a SCSI card that does not support the UW interface you should go for the non-UW version. There's no need to buy an extra SCSI card just for a CD-ROM, and it is doubtful that the performance increase is worth the cost of an UW SCSI card.
Good DAE Days
In my experience with CD-ROM drives, I have found it hard to find a CD-ROM with specs that met my particular needs. One of the key features I look for is audio extraction. For me, digital audio extraction is the greatest deciding factor; I like my music. This desire for DAE pretty much led me to Plextor -the only company advertising great performance in this area.
One of the key features of this drive is the 24X max D.A.E. (Digital Audio Extraction. To those who spend a lot of time ripping audio from CDs, this drive is god sent. Most drives have some difficulty extracting audio from CDs. My last drive, a Teac 32X IDE, extracted audio at a pitiful 4X and my long gone Mitsumi 8X was not able to extract audio at all.
The Plextor drive extracts audio rather quickly, with no noticeable degradation in quality. This drive is good if you want to make "backups" of "your" audio CDs or if you just want to make mixed audio CDs. The Plextor drive has excellent DAE, but I also needed a drive that wouldn't tax my system while I performed this task. As I would still like to do whatever it is I normally do while extracting audio. When I had my old 32X CD-ROM in my system, I would tiptoe around my computer while extracting audio, trying to sneak in a click whenever I could just to use the darned thing. SCSI devices have low CPU overhead, so I decided to splurge for the SCSI version. Other than the gaping hole in my pocket, it hasn't been too bad, beans and toast are pretty good I tellz ya. Especially pork and beans.