Plextor PX-W4012TU

 

In this part of the Plextor PX-W4012TU review we’ll start testing the reading and writing of copy-protected data discs.
Copy-protections are used on almost every game nowadays so it’s important a writer can handle the various protections
out there. For the tests we used the latest CloneCD version 4.0.1.9 from
Elaborate Bytes
. As you might know if you’ve read our CloneCD
v4.0 preview
, CloneCD now uses Profiles for each type of disc. In this review we created a separate Profile for each
protection with the common settings used in the old CloneCD versions. E.g. for SafeDisc we only selected the ‘Fast Error
Skip’ setting.

As an extra ‘service’ or help you can download the Profiles we have used in this review. Click on the Profile
images to download the used Profile. Store these files in your CloneCDProfiles folder on your hard disk. Alternatively
you can view and download all used Profiles from our CloneCD forum, by clicking here.

Now let’s start by giving you a screenshot of the supported drive capabilities of the Plextor PX-W4012TU with CloneCD
v4.0.1.9:

CloneCD Drive Capabilities

As you can see in the picture above, the Plextor PX-W4012TU is fully supported by CloneCD (DAO-RAW96). To determine
the copy-protection used on our game discs we scanned every disc with the latest English ClonyXXL version 2.0.0.6.
ClonyXXL (English) can be obtained from kickme.to/englishclony.

We’ll test the following, most common, copy-protections and compare the achieved read times with other drives
we’ve previously reviewed. After the tests we’ll conclude the reading of protected data with our usual
conclusions:

Protected Data – LaserLock:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘Desperados’ protected with LaserLock 2. As a comparison we read from both the
original disc and from a back-up (CD-Recordable) disc. The CloneCD Profile and the drive were set-up with the following
settings (all other options like SubChannel Data reading were disabled). You can click on the image to download the
used Profile:


    Download LaserLock Profile
  • Read Speed: Max
  • Fast Error Skip ON:
    • Read Retries: 0
    • Error Correction: Software
  • Intelligent Bad Sector Scanner:
    • Sector Skip: 100 (default)

In the screenshots below you can see the Plextor PX-W4012TU successfully reading the original LaserLock disc:

Reading LaserLock Original
Plextor PX-W4012TU reading LaserLock Original

LaserLock 2 is hard to read for a lot of recorders and the Plextor PX-W4012TU is struggling with it, just as we saw
with the PleXCombo PX-320A drive. The drive needs almost one hour to read the original disc. In the table below we
compare the achieved results to some of our previous reviews. The Plextor PX-W4012TU performs better than the PleXCombo
and gets the second last place when reading the original disc. When reading the back-up disc the drive performed a little
better:

Read Times LaserLock

Protected Data – SafeDisc:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘Beavis and Butthead: BungHole in One’ protected with the normal (read: old)
SafeDisc protection. The CloneCD Profile and the drive were set-up with the following settings (all other options like
SubChannel Data reading were disabled). You can click on the image to download the used Profile:


    Download SafeDisc Profile
  • Read Speed: Max
  • Fast Error Skip ON:
    • Read Retries: 0
    • Error Correction: Software

Below you can see the achieved result of the Plextor PX-W4012TU:

Reading SafeDisc
Plextor PX-W4012TU reading SafeDisc

The Plextor PX-W4012TU drive is extremely fast when skipping the SafeDisc error sectors and reaches the exact same
read time as the PleXCombo drive did. Now we have two readers on the first place:

Read Times SafeDisc

Protected Data – SafeDisc 2:

For this test we’ll use a game called ‘The Sims: House Party’ protected with SafeDisc version 2.10.030. The CloneCD
Profile and the drive were set-up with the following settings (all other options like SubChannel Data reading were
disabled). You can click on the image to download the used Profile:


    Download SafeDisc Profile
  • Read Speed: Max
  • Fast Error Skip ON:
    • Read Retries: 0
    • Error Correction: Software

Yes we’re using the same Profile as for the normal SafeDisc version. As the name of the Profile suggests, this
Profile has ‘Amplify Weak Sectors‘ (AWS)
disabled. First a screenshot of the Plextor PX-W4012TU reading the SafeDisc 2 disc:

Reading SafeDisc 2
Plextor PX-W4012TU reading SafeDisc v2.10.030

Like expected the Plextor PX-W4012TU is again extremely fast and beats our previous champ, the PleXCombo PX-320A
by one second! Let’s compare the achieved results to other drives we’ve reviewed:

Read Times SafeDisc 2

Now as most people will know, we also need to check if the drive can write SafeDisc 2. Unlike the other protections
SafeDisc 2 back-ups depend on whether or not the drive support ‘Correct EFM Encoding’ which is needed to write ‘regular
bit patterns’. For more info on SafeDisc 2 read this article.

We wrote the disc with the default settings enabled (‘buffer underrun protection and ‘always close last session’ on).
Like said before, ‘Amplify Weak Sectors’ was disabled in the Profile. As expected (Plextor writers are known for
their ability to back-up the older SafeDisc 2 protection without the need for CloneCD’s ‘Amplify Weak Sectors’ option),
the Plextor PX-W4012TU succeeded in making a fully working back-up. We tested the back-up in the following
drives:

  • Plextor PX-W4012TU: success
  • Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1502: success
  • VisionTek Xtasy 48X: success
  • TEAC CD-W540E: success
  • Mitsumi CR-480ATE: success
  • PleXCombo PX-320A: success

Protected Data – SafeDisc v2.51.021:

Besides our SafeDisc and SafeDisc 2 tests we need to take a look at the latest SafeDisc 2 version ‘called’ SafeDisc
v2.51.021. This is a new version of the regular SafeDisc 2 and has caused quite a few problems for a lot of writers (which
didn’t have problems with the normal SafeDisc 2). For this test we’ll test two games called ‘Serious Sam 2: The Second
Encounter’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto 3’ (the Play disc), both protected with SafeDisc v2.51.021:

SafeDisc 2.51.021

SafeDisc 2.51.021

We read the image with the Plextor drive using the same ‘SafeDisc (2) [no AWS]’ Profile as for our normal SafeDisc
and SafeDisc 2 tests, although we lowered the read speed to a safe 4x. The
Hide CDR Media‘ option was enabled in the
CloneCD tray to test playing from the CD-RW drives. The results when playing from the following drives:

  • Plextor PX-W4012TU: success
  • Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1502: failed
  • VisionTek Xtasy 48X: success
  • TEAC CD-W540E: success
  • Mitsumi CR-480ATE: success
  • PleXCombo PX-320A: success

    As expected the Plextor PX-W4012TU drive has problems creating a working back-up that works in all drives. The
    back-up fails in picky drives such as the Toshiba SD-M1502 DVD-ROM. The TEAC CD-W540E (which is normally also quite
    picky) had no problems reading the back-up. The same results as we got with the PleXCombo PX-320A drive. We also
    verified our results with the ‘Grant Theft Auto 3’ game and got the exact same results.

    Next we re-wrote the same image files of both ‘Grand Theft Auto 3’ and ‘Serious Sam 2’ but now with the ‘AWS’ option
    enabled using the ‘SafeDisc 2(.51) [AWS]’ Profile. The ‘Hide CDR Media’ option was again enabled in the CloneCD
    tray to test playing from the CD-RW drives. The results when playing from the following drives with the back-ups of
    both games:

  • Plextor PX-W4012TU: success
  • Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1502: success
  • VisionTek Xtasy 48X: success
  • TEAC CD-W540E: success
  • Mitsumi CR-480ATE: success
  • PleXCombo PX-320A: success

    With ‘AWS’ enabled the Plextor PX-W4012TU created a fully working back-up which played fine in every drive we tested,
    including the picky Toshiba drive. Most Plextor writers will give you the same result. They can make a partially working
    back-up with ‘AWS’ disabled but work very well with when it’s enabled.

    Reading SafeDisc 2.51
    Plextor PX-W4012TU reading SafeDisc v2.51.021

    As expected the Plextor PX-W4012TU is again lightning fast and again beats the PleXCombo drive by one second. In the
    table below a final comparison of the Plextor drive when reading the ‘Serious Sam 2’ (SafeDisc v2.51.021) disc:

    Read Times SafeDisc 2.51

    Protected Data – SecuROM:

    The next protected data tests we’ll do is with a game called ‘V-Rally 2 Expert Edition’ protected with SecuRom 2.
    The CloneCD Profile and the drive were set-up with the following settings (all other options like ‘Fast Error Skip’ were
    disabled). You can click on the image to download the used Profile:


      Download SecuRom Profile
    • Read Speed: Max
    • Read SubChannel Data from Data Tracks
    • Read SubChannel Data from Audio Tracks

    In the screenshots below you can see the Plextor PX-W4012TU successfully reading the SecuROM disc:

    Reading SecuRom
    Plextor PX-W4012TU reading SecuRom

    The Plextor PX-W4012TU supports the reading and writing of the full 96 bytes of SubChannel Data. The drive has
    no problems reading this data but it’s limited to about 8x, just as we saw with the PleXCombo drive. In the table
    below we compare the drive’s performance again to other drives we’ve previously reviewed. As you can see from the
    results the Plextor PX-W4012TU is a few seconds faster than the PleXCombo PX-320A:

    Read Times SecuRom

    Protected Data – PlayStation/LibCrypt:

    The final protected data test we’ll do is with a LibCrypt protected PlayStation disc called ‘Final Fantasy VIII’. We used
    the first (of four) disc(s) of this game. The CloneCD Profile and the drive were set-up with the following settings (all
    other options like Fast Error Skip were disabled). You can click on the image to download the used Profile:


      Download LibCrypt Profile
    • Read Speed: Max
    • Read SubChannel Data from Data Tracks
    • Read SubChannel Data from Audio Tracks
    • Don’t Repair SubChannel Data

    In the screenshots below you can see the Plextor PX-W4012TU successfully reading the PlayStation disc:

    Reading PlayStation
    Plextor PX-W4012TU reading PlayStation

    Just like with SecuRom the Plextor PX-W4012TU is limited to about 8x reading of the SubChannel Data. Let’s compare
    the achieved results for the final time in the table below:

    Read Times PSX

    Protected Data – Conclusion:

    Just as when we reviewed the PleXCombo PX-320A we got some various results. The Plextor PX-W4012TU is very slow
    when reading the LaserLock protection (which is hard to read for a lot of devices) but showed a great performance with
    the SafeDisc protection. SafeDisc is one of the most common copy-protections used nowadays so it’s good that the Plextor
    performs well with this protection. When reading SubChannel Data (SecuRom and LibCrypt) the Plextor PX-W4012TU is
    limited to about 8x reading. Not really slow but also not really fast.

    The Plextor had no problems writing the copy-protections. It even performed very well with the dreadful SafeDisc
    v2.51.021 protection and could create a back-up that worked in most devices without CloneCD’s ‘Amplify Weak Sectors’
    option enabled. The back-ups did fail in very picky readers like the Toshiba SD-M1502 DVD-ROM but when we enabled
    ‘Amplify Weak Sectors’ in CloneCD 4 the back-up worked perfectly. A typical Plextor result!

    Next up in our Plextor PX-W4012TU review, the reading of protected audio discs…