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Appeared on: Wednesday, December 15, 2004
PlextorPX-716A Preview


1. Introduction

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 1

We finally received the much awaited for drive from Plextor, the PX-716A. The drive supports 16X for DVD±R, 8X for DVD+RW, 4X for DVD-RW, 4X for DVD+R DL, 48X for CD-R and 24X CD-RW. For reading the speeds are 16X for DVD-ROM and 48X for CD-ROM.

- Features

The VariRec feature can be applied not only with Audio CD-R discs but also with DVD±RW media. The user can select some settings during the recording preparation in order to obtain a more personalized sound tone. The feature is fully controlled from within PlexTools software, available in the Plextor retail package, and works for CD at 4X and 8X and for DVD at 2X and 4X writing speeds. Nero and other programs support this feature as well.

The PoweRec technology ensures the quality of CD and DVD recordings. Low quality media is often the source of disc errors during high speed recording. PoweRec checks the quality of the inserted CD/DVD media and automatically selects the optimum (maximum) writing speed, giving the highest quality results.

Other interesting features of the PX-712A, used only with PlexTools are:

- PX-716A Benefits

- Specifications

Data Transfer Rate
Burst 66MB/s
Write DVD+R DVD-R CD-R
16x: 22.160KB/s (CAV)
12x: 16.620KB/s (PCAV)
6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV)
6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV)
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV)
2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV)
DVD+R DL
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV)
2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV)
16x: 22.160KB/s (CAV)
12x: 16.620KB/s (PCAV)
6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV)
6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV)
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV)
2x: 2.770KB/s (CLV)
48x: 7.200KB/s (CAV)
32x: 4.800KB/s (PCAV)
16x: 2.400KB/s (CLV)
8x: 1.200KB/s (CLV)
4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
ReWrite DVD+RW DVD-RW CD-RW
6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV)
6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV)
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV)
2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV)
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV)
2x: 2.770KB/s (CLV)
1x: 1.385KB/s (CLV)
24x: 3.600KB/s (PCAV)
10x: 1.500KB/s (CLV)
4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
Read DVD-ROM  CD-ROM
6-16x CAV
5-12x CAV
3-8x CAV
2-5x CAV
2x CLV
 
20-48x CAV
17-40x CAV
14-32x CAV
10-24x CAV
8x CLV
4x CLV
Access Time <150ms (DVD)
<100ms (CD)
Data Buffer 8MB
Error Rate Mode1: less than 10-12bits
Mode2: less than 10-9bits
MTBF 60.000 POH
Tray Loading Eject 50.000 times
Warranty 2 year Fast Warranty Service (in EU, Norway and Switzerland: Collect & Return); 1 year in other countries
Dimensions 146 x 41,3 x 170 mm
Weight 1 kg

 

From the Info Tool and DVDinfoPro screenshots above, we can see that the drive doesn't support the DVD-RAM format or Mount Rainier. The buffer size is 8MB while the drive uses the RPCII region control and allows the user to change the region five times. For our tests we set it to region 2 (Europe).

- Tested Kit / Software Bundle

The retail package includes an IDE 80pin cable, four mounting screws, an extra jumper, an extra front bezel colored black along with front bezel replacement guide, an eject pin, the installation guide and various installation media which includes the following:
Ahead CyberLink Pinnacle Sonic Ulead
CD/DVD Mastering
Nero Express 6 SE Power2Go 3.0
(30 days trial)
Instant CD/DVD 8.3 LE
(Limited Edition)
RecordNow!
(30 days trial)
Burn Now
(30 days trial)
Video Editing
Nero Vision Express 2
(30 days trial)
PowerDirector 3.0
(30 days trial)
Studio 9
(30 days trial)
My DVD
(30 days trial)
Video Studio 8
(30 days trial)
DVD Authoring
Nero Vision Express 2
(30 days trial)
PowerProducer 2.0 Gold
(30 days trial)
Studio 9
(30 days trial)
My DVD
(30 days trial)
DVD Movie Factory 3.5 SE
(30 days trial)
DVD Player
Nero ShowTime
(30 days trial)
PowerDVD 5.0
(30 days trial)
Instant Cinema
(Limited Edition)
   
MultiMedia Player
Nero Media Player Media@Show 2.0
(30 days trial)
Instant Audio    
Duplication
    Instant Copy    
Other
Nero Recode 2
(30 days trial)
PowerBackup 1.0
(30 days trial)
Instant Backup    

The front bezel continues in the tradition of Plextor front panels.

On the rear panel, we have the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and power input.

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty, so don't do it. Instead, for reference reasons, we post the following images. You can click on the mainboard picture for a higher resolution image:

The drive is Sanyo based with the following chipset in it.

Below is shown the difference between Plextor drive models 712 and the 716. As you can see, the latest model is shorter.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-716A". The drive arrived with firmware revision v1.02.

Below is a screenshot from Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests, we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.55
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  4. PlexTools v2.18
  5. DVDInfoPro v2.63
  6. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  7. CopyToDVD 3.0.35

*Updated

1/12/2005 Click here for full review


2. DVD Error Correction Tests

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 2

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media
ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The PX-716A read the disc successfully with negligible fluctuations that mainly appear over the higher dimension defect area.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

Over the fingerprints, the drive had to drop the speed in order to read the defective area.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is an 8.5GB dual layer single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.

Once again, there were a few speed falls but they were less pronounced than with the previous test disc.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints.

The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Excellent performance...

In the upcoming complete review, we will include more DVD error correction tests as well as CD error correction tests.


3. DVD Recording Tests

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 3

DVD Recording Test

The drive is capable of 16X speed for both the DVD+R and DVD-R formats, while according to the specifications it can also burn DVD+RW at 8X. DVD-RW is still at 4X.

Since this is a preview of the drive, we only burned one DVD+R and one DVD-R media at the maximum allowed speed of 16X. Notice that both media we tried are certified at this speed. Unfortunately, there are no DVD+RW media available at 8X so we couldn't confirm this speed.

The writing strategies are illustrated below:

The writing times for the two media we burned are below:

Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD+R@ 16X ( MCC 004)

9:14 minutes is not a satisfactory time for 16X recording. Is it the media or the firmware? We will answer this in the upcoming, full review.

TDK 16X DVD-R@ 16X ( TTH02)


4. PlexTools/CDSpeed Scans - Page 1

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 4

PlexTools/CDSpeed Scans - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers in combination with two software packages:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times, even when a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth, exhibiting dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

- Mitsubishi Chemicals 16X DVD+R @ 16X

Excellent writing quality. Notice the similarity between the 712 and 716 results.


5. PlexTools/CDSpeed Scans - Page 2

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 5

PlexTools/CDSpeed Scans - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media, we used two readers in combination with two software packages:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times, even when a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth with dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

- TDK 16X DVD-R @ 16X

The quality is good while the PlexTools scans are similar for the 712 and 716.


6. DVD+R DL - Page 1

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 6

DVD+R DL - Page 1

The drive, according to the manufacturer's specifications, supports 4X writing for the Double Layer format. To confirm, this we burned a DVD+R DL disc with DVD-Video content. The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First, we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter in ISO format (single file). Afterwards, we used CopyToDVD latest version. After choosing the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image we selected the Plextor burner and the writing process began.

After 23:33 minutes, the task finished and confirmed the 4X speed. The reported average writing speed according to the CopyToDVD log, was 3.77X.

- Bitsetting

The drive supports this feature for the DVD+R and DVD+R DL formats only. With DVD+RW, there is no such option. We used CDSpeed 3.55 to set the Booktype to DVD-ROM.


7. DVD+R DL - Page 2

Plextor PX-716A Recorder - Page 7

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

Verbatim 2.4X DVD+R Double Layer Media @ 4X

High quality with both drives reporting almost the same results.


8. 716 vs SA300

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 7

716 vs SA300

For checking exactly what the Plextor PX-716A reports, we used four different media, burned with other writers. The media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X. For this preview, we present results from only one of the four media. More results in the upcoming full review...

The drive is capable of reporting PIE/POF errors, so we will compare those measurements at 2X CLV speed with Plextools 2.18 for three different accuracies, slowest, middle and high.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested Plextor drive. Using other drives, even another 716, can produce totally different results. Be aware!

Slowest Accuracy

Middle Accuracy

High Accuracy

In all cases, the trendlines are similar but the values very different.


9. Conclusion

Plextor PX-716A Writer - Page 7

Conclusion

It would be better to avoid any premature comments or conclusions at this point. However, this pre-release preview has given us an idea of what is in store. Stay tuned for the complete review ...

*Updated

1/12/2005 Click here for full review



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