In recent weeks the talk of the town has been a sleek black external 12x Blu-ray WRITER from the folks at Plextor. The Plextor PX-LB950UE connects via USB 3.0 or eSATA cables and is capable of burning single layer Blu-ray Disk (BD) media at 12x, double layer BD media at 8x and DVD-R media at 16x speeds. In addition, it supports the playback of Blu-ray 3D movie titles.|
Optical Drives >
In recent weeks the talk of the town has been a
sleek black external 12x Blu-ray WRITER
from the folks at Plextor. The Plextor PX-LB950UE connects
via USB 3.0 or eSATA cables and is capable of burning single layer
Blu-ray Disk (BD) media at 12x,
double layer BD media at 8x and DVD-R media at
16x speeds. In addition, it supports the playback of Blu-ray 3D movie titles.
The drive packs in a 8MB buffer and supports LightScribe
direct media labeling with the appropriate lightscribe media. This full sized external optical
drive naturally accommodates DVD authoring in both the + and - formats, as well as
reading and writing to DVD-RAM and Dual-Layered DVD-R discs, CD-R and CD-RW formats.
Plextor ship the Px-LB950UE with PowerDVD 9 BD Software
Suite (Power DVD, Producer, Director, 2Go, Backup, InstantBurn and LabelPrint
software) and PlexUtilities.
External Blu-ray drives make the prospect of turning a simple computer system into
an advanced Home Theatre PC for watching high definition Blu-ray movies quite alluring.
With more and more computers sporting HDMI video outputs, it's not as
difficult to connect a PC to a wide screen HDTV as it once was either.
The bonus to going the Blu-ray writer route, is that BD-R media is even more useful
than DVD media for archiving MASSIVE amounts of data, be
that digital photographs, audio, movies or what have you. For ~$13 a disk,
a single layer recordable BD-R disk will hold 25GB of data. Priced a
few dollars higher, double layer BD-R media will soak up 50GB of data on one disk!
Retailing for about $219 CDN ($220 USD £140 GBP)
(Newegg ), the Plextor PX-LB950UE brings
top of the line 12x Blu-ray writing and playback, along with external CD and DVD authoring to modern PC systems.
Minimum system requirements call for at least a 3.4GHz Pentium D or higher CPU,
USB 3.0 or eSATA ports, minimum 1GB RAM and WinXP SP2. Blu-ray movie
playback demands an HDCP compliant videocard and display as is typically the case.
Plextor PX-LB950UE Blu-Ray
Manual, eSATA cable, USB 3.0 cable, PowerDVD 9 BD software and
PlexUtilities Software CD, vertical
DVD Write: 16x
Connections: eSATA, USB 3.0
Average Price at time of review:
The Plextor PX-LB950UE is essentially
an external chassis wrapped around a PX-LB950SA internal
optical drive with a custom bridge board to split
the drives' native SATA connection into USB 3.0 and eSATA. A small power brick allows this drive to be used outside of a
computer chassis as it does not draw power via the USB cable. The
entire unit weighs 1.2kg and measures 22 x 16 x 5cm; it fits nicely next to a laptop without taking up much
The plastic chassis is finished in a shiny black coating that looks fantastic
but gets smeared with fingerprints like no tomorrow. Since
this is an external optical drive, chances are you'll be touching it
frequently so Plextor kindly include a small micro-fiber cleaning
The only controls on the front of the drive are the
eject button, a status LED and manual eject hole for removing
stuck disks. Power is supplied by the aforementioned 12V 2A DC power adaptor. The
PX-LB950UE connects to the PC via a USB 3.0 (blue) or eSATA cable. USB
3.0 cables are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports, but this is not recommended as the
data rates for USB 2.0 are far far less than what
USB 3.0 will deliver (for any use other than BD media, USB 2 should be fine).
A clear plastic stand is supplied if you want to keep it one edge to save
The rear of the Plextor PX-LB950UE features a USB-B 3.0
data port, eSATA data port, DC power jack and power switch. Incidently it's a
bit of a tight fit to get the USB and eSATA cables into the slots as
the surrounding plastic bezel is a tight fit. Be sure the cables are firmly seated before turning the device on, they will engage without excessive force if the cable overmould is not
butting up against the surrounding bezel.
Plextor PX-LB950UE Supported Media
Blu-ray Data Connectivity
Blu-ray is the high capacity successor to DVD and
the 'blu' in Blu-ray refers to the wavelength of light emitted from the laser. To be
precise, a 405nm blue laser is used which has a shorter wavelength than the traditional
650nm red laser you're no doubt familiar with from the era of the CD.
In simple terms, the finer stream of light allows more information to be packed into
a the same space, thus data density can be greatly
The default read rate for Blu-ray media is 4.5 megabytes per second (referred
to as 1x speed), so a 12x speed rating for the Plextor PX-LB950UE is equivalent
to ~54 megabytes per second of bandwidth! This
much bandwidth requires a better connection speed than USB 2.0 can offer,
hence we find a USB 3.0 and eSATA data ports at the rear of the Plextor
PX-LB950UE external 12x Blu-ray writer.
So the obvious question is, which is better? USB 3.0 or eSATA?