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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Friday, December 16, 2005
Plextor PX-750A


1. Introduction

After the very successful release of Plextor's last drive, the 740A, the series continues with the release of yet another OEM drive, the PX-750A which bears the TEAC mark on it. The 750A is the "connecting bridge" to future Plextor releases, which are already well known in the DVD-Burner scene, and go by the model numbers of 755A and 760A, where we will be introduced to 10X +R DL speed and 18X+R writing speed with each release respectively.

But enough with the future and let us focus on the present release, the 750A. The drive supports all the fastest available speeds for all formats and on top, it is a multi drive, supporting reading and writing of DVD-RAM media at the fastest available speed of 5X.

Having got that out of the way, let's start the review rolling, where we'll see how the drive performs with our usual array of tests, well known by now to the larger section of the DVD community. We'll start with the drive's specs, as reported by the official Plextor page and various, well known tools.

- Specifications

Model Plextor PX-750A
Write Speed DVD+R 16X
DVD-R 16X
DVD+RW 8X
DVD-RW 6X
DVD+R DL 8X
DVD-R DL 4X (6 & 8X-R by Firmware upgrade)
DVD-RAM 5X
CD-R 48X
CD-RW 24X
Read Speed DVD-ROM 16X
CD-ROM 48X
Technical Specifications
Interface IDE/ATAPI
Data buffer 2 MB
Access Time <130ms (CD); <140ms (DVD)
Mean time between failures (MTBF) 60 000h
Disc Loading Tray (50.000 times)
Bezel replaceable Yes, black bezel included in retail version
Digital Audio Yes, S/P DIF output
Dimensions 146 x 42,5 x 170 mm
Weight < 800g
Warranty 2 year Fast Warranty Service (in EU, Norway and Switzerland: Collect & Return)
1 year in other countries
System Requirements PC/AT compatible
CPU: Pentium 4 - 1.4 GHz
RAM: 256MB
HDD: 10GB free space
OS: Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP
Compatible Formats DVD: DVD-RAM, DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Multi-Border, Multisession, DVD+VR, DVD-VR
CD: CD-DA, CD-ROM Mode-1, CD-ROM Mode-2, CD-ROM XA, CD-Extra, Photo-CD, Video-CD, Multisession, CD TEXT, CD-I, Mixed CD, CD+G (read only)
Performance DVD+R 16x: 22,160KB/s (CAV), 8x: 11,080KB/s (PCAV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2.4x: 3,324KB/s (CLV)
DVD-R 16x: 22.160KB/s (CAV), 8x: 11,080KB/s (PCAV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2x: 2,770KB/s (CLV)
DVD+R DL 8x: 11,080KB/s (ZCLV), 6x: 8,310KB/s (CLV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2.4x: 3,324KB/s (CLV)
DVD-R DL 8x: 11,080KB/s (ZCLV, 6x: 8,310KB/s (CLV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2x: 2,770KB/s (CLV)
DVD+RW 8x: 11,080KB/s (ZCLV), 6x: 8,310KB/s (CLV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2.4x: 3,324KB/s (CLV)
DVD-RW 6x: 8,310KB/s (ZCAV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (ZCAV), 2x: 2,770KB/s (CLV)
DVD-RAM 5x (CLV), 3x (CLV), 2x (CLV)
DVD-ROM 16x (CAV), 10x (CAV), 8x (CAV), 4x (CAV), 2x (CAV)
CD-RW 24x: 3,600KB/s (CAV), 10x: 1,500KB/s (CLV), 4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
CD-ROM 40x (CAV), 24x (CAV), 16x (CAV), 4x (CAV)

Below are the main specs for the drive as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro, VSO Inspector and Plextools Pro:

- Nero InfoTool

- DVD InfoPro

- VSO Inspector

- Plextools Professional

-Advanced Features

We checked the drive with Plextools Pro (bundled in the retail package) and this is what we got...

Unfortunately, the drive does not support the advanced features that Plextools Pro has to offer...

- Retail Package

The retail package is a complete one, with everything necessary. The usual mounting screws, audio cable, 80pin IDE cable, installation guide and Fast Warranty Service application, are in there, while the package also offers a variety of bundled software, as shown in the table below. Last but not least, the usual Black Bezel is included, to please those with a black case. Good retail package.

- Front panel view

- Rear panel view

- Label

We opened the drive case to take a closer look at the interior of the drive. Opening the case, voids the drives warranty, so we strongly advise against it. By clicking on the image below, you can see a larger, more detailed picture...

click moi

The drive uses the Panasonic chipset. In fact, the drive is a TEAC OEM.

- Installation

The PX-750A came to our labs as the retail version and with firmware 1.00 installed, which is the default release for this drive. Plextor recently hosted a newer release, 1.01 firmware, but soon after that, the link to that page was removed and probably indicates that the particular firmware release has been removed. Note here, that firmware 1.01 was supposed to fix some issues concerning writing quality.

In this review, we compare the drive's results (reading-writing times and so on) with the results of two other latest release drives, of similar technology and specifications, the LiteOn 1635s and the BenQ 1640 drives.


2. Reading Tests

- CD Format

For our CD transfer rate tests, we used Nero CD-Speed utility and a set of Pressed and CDR media. Let's take a look at how the drive performed when compared to the other two drives.

The Plextor PX-750A supports up to 40X max reading speed with both Pressed and CD-R media, while the two other drives, offer a max reading speed of 48X for both formats.

Good reading speed was reported with USRW media, with the Plextor drive reporting an average speed of 30X and a max speed of 40X.

- AudioCD

For these tests, we used a pressed AudioCD and its copy on CD-R media.

Low DAE speed was reported with both Pressed and CDR media, with an average of 29,08 and 29.6 respectively. As CD-Speed Advanced DAE Quality Test reported, the Quality Score awarded was 100 with an average speed of 27.96X. No Data and Sync Errors were reported, while the drive can Read CD Text and Subchannel Data, but it does not support Leadin and Leadout.

- 90mins Audio disc

- 99mins Audio disc

Unfortunately, the drive could not recognize the 99min Audio disc.

- DVD Format

Now let's have a look at how the drive performs with DVD media. Again, a set of DVD media was used, both SL and DL.

Similar performance from all three drives, where the max reading speed with Pressed SL media is 16X.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards its outer range. The reviewed drive supports up to 8X max reading speed for these media formats.

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously, the main difference being the reading strategy of the second layer on the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks towards the inner part of the disc. Similar performance to that of PTP media.

As reported in the reading tests with Write Once and RW media, the drive supports up to 8X reading speed with +R, -R and RW media. These are not fast speeds for a drive manufactured by Plextor, from whom we have come to expect the fastest available speeds.

Again, we expected faster ripping from this drive. We are used to much highest ripping speeds with previous Plextor drives, which were also the fastest available on the market.

As with most market drives that support DVD-RAM reading, the Plextor drive can read DVD-RAM media at up to 5X max speed, as confirmed by the reading test with Mitsubishi DVD-RAM media.

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs

CD Pressed / CD-R / US-RW / AudioCD / AudioCD-R

DVD Pressed SL / DVD Pressed DL PTP / DVD Pressed DL OTP / DVD-R / DVD-RW / DVD+R / DVD+RW / DVD-RAM


3. CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests, we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total Num: 923445
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 53083 Avg: -74.5 dB(A) Max: -8.1 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 2936 Avg: 1.1 Samples Max: 89 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 2 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result 71.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy 99.5 %

According to the table and the graph above, the overall performance with the specific disc is quite good. The total error count is low but there were skipped samples. The reported maximum error loudness of -8.1 dB(A) is very high, however this was just one of very few spikes generated. The total test result score of 71.8 points is good.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total Num: 43819
Errors (Loudness) dB(A) Num: 202 Avg: -19.6 dB(A) Max:-10.6 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples Num: 8 Avg: 3275.4 Samples Max:3584 Samples
Skips Samples Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result 81.5 points (of 100.0 maximum)

This is a much easier test disk than the previous one and most drives pass this test with a near perfect score, something that the PX-750A didn't do. The total test result score of 81.5 out of 100 is not as good as would expect from a Plextor drive.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
Plextor PX-750A
5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5

With this test disc, the drive reported good results, achieving flawless reading with 4 out of 5 tracks. This is very good performance.

- Summary

The drive's CD error correction mechanism is fair but disappointing for a Plextor drive.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests, we checked the DVD reading capabilities of the Plextor PX-750A drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For our 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 varying in dimensions from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

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

Smooth reading all the way to the end. Slow reading speed though.

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, the only difference being that there are no scratches on it. Instead, there are defective areas, ranging in dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm.

There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

Similar performance as with the previous SL disc but this time, high reading speed.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

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

Both Layers read successfully, with the speed once more reaching 8X max.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a 8.5GBcapacity. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the former 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.

Smooth reading and 8X max speed.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which was designed to inspect and adjust DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals on DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive. It also includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Good error correction in both layers.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meter fingerprints.

Excellent performance. Seems like the latest release drives have no problems with this test media, where older drives were known to fail with this specific disc.

- Summary

Overall, very good good DVD error correction capabilities.


5. Protected Disc Tests

At this point we will check the drive's ability to read and backup protected CDs.

- AudioCD protections

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9 beta5.

The protected Audio discs tested, were:
Audio Discs Protection
Celine Dion - New Day Has Come Sony's Key2Audio
Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island Cactus Data Shield 200
Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session causing problems to readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

- Recognition of the inserted disc (Yes/No).

- Ripping all wav files(with EAC's Burst Mode) to the hard disk through copy&compare function.

- Listening to the produced wav files to detect any possible click/skips.

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track in the CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, the drive recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

PX-750A
Key2Audio
CDS200
The drive could not rip the specific media.
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks

Unfortunately, the Key2Audio could not be read by the drive. On the other hand, the CDS2000 was ripped successfully.

- Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a (Aiko Katsukino - The Love Letter)

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors which create problems during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

PX-750A
CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
Reading performed without any errors.

- Games Protections

To create the image of the various protected titles in the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, in accordance with the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.

With the PSX and SecuROM protected media, the Plextor drive performed quite well, achieving good ripping times holding its own against the BenQ and LiteOn DVD-Burners, which are known to be good rippers. On the other hand, the drive could not rip the SafeDisc media, where the time reported was over three hours during our tests, and overall progress less than 1% completed.

- Writing Tests

The Plextor PX-750A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. To check the drive's EFM correction status we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions, having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (at maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.3105. Two different discs were recorded for each title; one with the "Rectify Sub-Channel Data" enabled and one with the function disabled.

- Fifa 2004 - Safe Disc v3.1x

- The Sims Superstar - Safe Disc v2.9x

The table below displays the results of the attempted backups plus the fact that they either worked (game installed / played normally) or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
EFM OFF EFM ON EFM OFF EFM ON
PX-750A No

The Plextor PX-750A won't help in creating working backups of the latest SD protected games, more recent than v2.8. For expert users, we will mention that the drive also failed to copy the SD2.9 file with the well known "sheep test".


6. CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 8X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 40X and 48X writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the reported average speed when recording at 40X is 30.15X.

Even though the max writing speed for CD media according to the manufacturer is 48X, we didn't manage to achieve such a speed in our tests as we will also see later on. The maximum attainable speed was 40X.

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart depicting all recording times with various media.

Fastest burns came with Ridisc and BenQ media, burned in 3:15mins at the max speed of 40X. All discs were burned at the same approximate speed, revealing stable behavior.

- Other features

The drive supports CD Overburning up to 99mins.

- CD-RW Format

The Plextor PX-750A supports 24X (CAV) rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media.

The drive, when recording at 24X , reported an average writing speed of 17.86X.


7. CD Writing Quality - Plextools

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is the latest PleXTools Professional , and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The Plextor PX-716A was the reader.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 40X

Intenso 80min 52X @ 40X

Ridisc 80min 52X @ 40X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 40X

TY 80min 48X @ 40X

Media Label Manufacturer Name Lead Out TIme
BenQ 52X Daxon 79m59s70f
Intenso 52X Prodisc 79m59s71f
Ridisc 52X CMC Mag 79m59s74f
Traxdata 52X Ritek 79m59s70f
TY 80min 48X Taiyo Yuden 79m59s72f

- Summary

According to the above scans produced with Plextools Q-check, the reported C1 levels were low while only a few C2 values were reported as in the case with BenQ media. Overall, good writing quality.


8. CD Writing Quality - Clover System

The Clover System CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a high-speed tool to quantitatively measure the quality of a CD. It will analyze CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-R, Photo-CD, Enhanced CD and CD-RW discs at 4X, 8X, 24X, 32X or 40X speeds. It effectively measures disc quality by examining the quantity and severity of CIRC errors generated during playback. It also provides the capability to measure signal parameters related to pit geometry, such as asymmetry and reflectivity. When put together, all these facts provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover System Analyzers can also perform various format-checking tests on data discs, and do bit-for-bit data comparison on all types of CDs. All tests are carried out at a maximum speed of 40X.

CIRC error correction uses two principles to detect and correct errors. The first is redundancy (extra information is added, which gives an extra chance to read the disc), and the second is interleaving (data is distributed over a relatively large physical area). The CIRC error correction used in CD players uses two stages of error correction, the well known C1 and C2, with de-interleaving of the data between the stages.

The error type E11 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C1 stage. E21means two bad symbols were corrected in the C1 stage. E31 means that there were three or more bad symbols at the C1 stage. This block is uncorrectable at the C1 stage, and is passed to the C2 stage. Respectively, E12 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C2 stage and E22 means two bad symbols were corrected in the C2 stage. E32 means that there were three or more bad symbols in one block at the C2 stage, and therefore this error is not correctable.

BLER (Block Error Rate) is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors, at the input of the C1 decoder. Since this is the most general measurement of the quality of a disc, you will find BLER graphs for all media tested below. If you click on the images you can see a more detailed table, indicating error levels. The Red Book specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second averaged over ten seconds. Discs with higher BLER are likely to produce uncorrectable errors. Al low BLER shows that the system as a whole is performing well, and the pit geometry is good. However, BLER only tells us how many errors were generated per second, and it does not tell us anything about the severity of those errors.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 40X

Intenso 80min 52X @ 40X

Ridisc 80min 52X @ 40X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 40X

TY 80min 52X @ 40X

- Summary

The Clover Systems CDX is a more austere test. However, the reported quality from the PLextor drive was good even though only one media had a PASS indication. The most important thing is that no E32 or E22 errors were reported, except in the case of the Intenso disc.


9. DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

Now we will check the burning performance with DVD media. Below, the available writing speeds can be seen, as reported by Nero Burning Rom.

By using Nero CDSpeed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 16X writing strategies.

- DVD+R media @ 16X CAV

- DVD-R media @ 16X CAV

- Burning Tests

For our writing tests, we used media included in the following tables, burned at the maximum allowed speed with the Plextor PX-750A.

DVD-R media

With a quick glance at the above table, one can see that burning results are far from satisfactory. The supported media list for 16X is rather limited and a new firmware needs to remedy this ASAP. Only BenQ and Verbatim discs allowed 16X recording. No major problems though when recording at 8X, however this is a 16X burner.

Same behaviour here also. Half of the certified 16X burned discs did not go above 4X or 8X. We hope a new firmware release will improve this.

- Comparison with other drives

The reported best writing times for the Plextor are good but there are even faster burners...

- DVD Overburning Tests

The drive does not support overburning with either the DVD+R or DVD-R formats, reporting the above message.

- DVD-RAM

Now we will see how the drive performs when DVD-RAM media is inserted. According to the manufacturer's specs, the drive can read and write DVD-RAM media, at the maximum speed of 5X.

As Maxell stated: "DVD-RAM is an advanced recording media format that offers a range of digital data applications. Its phase-change recording material allows discs to be re-recordable and erasable, and a superior defect management system ensures accurate recording and playback. DVD-RAM allows instant, random access to any location on the disc for fast and easy data reading and writing. Because DVD-RAM supports fast formatting and no finalizing, it is an extremely easy-to-use media. And with DVD-RAM, changes can be made directly on the disc without the need to transfer data to a hard drive first, speeding up the editing tasks..."

- Burning Tests

Using NeroCDSpeed, we got the following graph:

The test started at 4.99X burning speed and completed at 4.99X, reporting an average speed of 4.97X. It took only 11:28mins to complete a full DVD-RAM write, while with Nero and a blank DVD-RAM disc, the reported time was 27:48mins, as the drive uses the "Write and Verify" strategy when burning the media (as with all latest release RAM enabled drives). Unfortunately, the "Write and Verify" strategy cannot be disabled.

Using the latest Nero version, we burned our usual Single Layer DVD compilation.

The writing procedure ended after 27:48 mins. The Write and Verify function is in effect here too, hence the extended writing time.


10. DVD Writing Quality - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- BenQ 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- MMore 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- Philips 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- Plextor 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Prodisc(R04) 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Prodisc(R05) 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- Ricoh 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Ridisc 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Traxdata 16X DVD+R @ 8X

- Verbatim 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Summary

The writing quality is very much dependent on the disc. In most cases, the reported quality is average while in a few we saw good burning, such as Taiyo Yuden, Optodisc and Philips. Note however, that only TY media was burned at 16X, the two others at just 4X. A further improvement is required...


11. DVD Writing Quality - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- BenQ 8X DVD+R @ 4X

- Datawrite 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- MMore 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Prodisc 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- TDK 8X DVD+R @ 4X

- TY 8X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

Once again, half of the burned media report good quality while the rest, average.


12. DVD Writing Quality - Page 3

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- BenQ 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- CMC 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Optodisc 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Philips 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc(F02) 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc(S05) 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Traxdata 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Verbatim 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

Performance with 16X -R media is far from satisfactory. Once more, almost all media were burned at 4X and some of them, even at that low speed, reported poor quality results, especially according to the CDSpeed utility. The limited media list supported by this drive seems to be the main flaw so far...


13. DVD Writing Quality - Page 4

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

- BenQ 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Bulkpaq 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Datawrite 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- MMore 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Optodisc 8X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc(1) 8X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc(2) 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Ridisc Red 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- TDK 8X DVD-R @ 8X

- Summary

Better results with 8X effective media. Even though no critical errors were reported with Plextools Pro (POF errors), the quality remains at average levels, with CDSPeed reporting scans that are far from smooth.


14. DVD Writing Quality - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-712A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

DVD+RW and DVD-RW Media

- MKM 8X DVD+RW @ 8X

- MKM 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- Traxdata 6X DVD-RW @ 6X

- Summary

Even though all media were burned at their designated speeds, quality remains an issue here also. MKM +RW media, fared quite well, with a relatively good CDSpeed Scan, and Plextools PI values just reaching the limits. MKM-RW media did not perform that well, although no errors were reported, while Traxdata -RW media failed miserably.


15. DVD Writing Quality - Almedio

The AEC-1000 consists of a DVD Drive and the "ALChecker" error measurement application which can check the written data quality. The application is capable of 1X CLV measurement as well as 4X CLV on DVD-Video/ROM and finalized DVD+R/-R media.

There are three measurement modes:

- Fine Mode: checks a series of eight consecutive ECC blocks,

- Rough Mode: checks eight consecutive ECC blocks every 100h ECC blocks

- Quick Mode: checks three specified areas

The checking status is shown graphically in real time while you can save the error graph at the end of the test. The reported errors are the PI and the UncPO. The PI counts the number of rows corrected by the PI error correction in each group of eight consecutive ECC blocks. The UncPO counts the number of ECC blocks in which more than one bytes are uncorrectable in eight consecutive ECC blocks. For our quality scans, we set for 1X CLV and Fine Mode which is the slowest and produces the safest results. Also, we chose to measure all the media burned at the maximum available writing speed, namely 16X.

- CMC 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- MMore 16X DVD+R @ 16X

- Optodisc 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- Traxdata 16X DVD-R @ 4X

- Prodisc(R04) 16X DVD+R @ 4X

- Verbatim 16X DVD-R @ 16X

- Summary

According to the Almedio AEC-1000 error checker, four out of six tested media were found to be of good quality, while the remaining two were bad quality. Note, that except for MMore media, all other good quality media were burned at 4X speed.


16. DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned some DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL discs with data content. For this task we used "Create Data Disc" from Nero CDSpeed in order to fully burn the discs.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R DL 8X

Using Z-CLV strategy, burning started at 5.99X and maxed out at 7.99X, reporting an average speed of 6.79X. The test was completed in 17:54mins. Good time and speed, although the writing strategy is not the same for both layers. This might be a failure of the drive to utilize the writing strategy on the second layer as well.

Traxdata DVD+R DL 2.4X @ 4X

While using a Traxdata DVD+R DL 2.4X certified disc, the drive managed to overspeed and burn the media at 4X effective speed. Again the drive used a different writing strategy for each layer.

Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD-R DL 4X @ 6X

Using CLV strategy, the drive manages to write at 6X burning speed, which is the maximum allowed for -R DL media, until a firmware release allows higher speeds, up to 8X as Plextor informs us through its release and retail box labels.

Traxdata DVD-R DL 4X

With Traxdata -R DL 4X effective media, the test started at 3.99X and finished after 27:11 mins with a maximum speed of 4.00X and an average speed of 3.92X.


17. DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we used two readers equipped with two software applications:

- The LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. For the transfer rate tests we used the latest Nero CDSpeed version.

- The Plextor PX-716A with the latest available firmware. For scanning the disc, we used the latest PlexTools version at 2X CLV reading speed, BURST mode, with middle accuracy.

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing 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 not be taken as the absolute criterion of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

- Verbatim DVD+R DL 8X @ 8X

Unfortunately, both the Plextools and CDSpeed utilities could not successfully read this DL media, due to the bad writing quality.

- MKM DVD-R DL 4X @ 6X

Bad quality media reported this time as well, with the CDSpeed utility failing to read to the end of the tested media, and Plextools reporting high values.

- Traxdata DVD+R DL 2.4X @ 4X

- Traxdata DVD-R DL 4X @ 4X

Overall poor writing quality for DL media, with most of the discs rendered unreadable. We hope for a future firmware release to fix the problem with these DL media.


18. Booktype Setting

As with most latest release drives, so too with the PX-750A, we find support fro the BookType Setting. By using this option, the drive allows the user to manually change the booktype of a media, prior to burning it, in order to maximize compatibility with stand alone players, The booktype change can only be made with +R,+RW,+R DL media, and can be changed to DVD-ROM which is the booktype for all pressed media releases and is therefore less likely to cause any problems with available players on the market.

We tested the booktype capabilities of the PX-750A drive through the use of the Nero CD-DVD Speed utility.

1. We used a blank DVD+RW media and we chose the DVD-ROM booktype from the drop down menu...

2. By pressing the "Set" button, we enabled the DVD-ROM setting and after a few seconds, the program informs us of the successfully change...

3. Notice now that both the utility and the drive recognise the media as DVD-ROM instead of DVD+RW which it was, prior to the Booktype change.


19. Conclusion

The PX-750A is Plextor's latest release into the optical storage market and a "bridge" product to future releases such as the PX-755A and 760A drives, which according to Plextor, will bring increased speeds in the DVD-Burner market for the DL and DVD±R media respectively. Now let us list one by one, all the important features and capabilities of the 750A drive and then grade the drive according to its performance in our tests.

In a nutshell, the PX-750A is not the usual Plextor drive that we have come to expect. The PX-750A is more of a downgrade of previous Plextor models and not an actual upgrade as it should have been. As a reader, it is as fast as any average drive and nothing particularly impressive with either CD or DVD formats. Although it reported good DAE quality results, the drive does not support Leadin/Leadout and reported a relatively low average DAE speed, in comparison to the LiteOn and BenQ drives. As stated earlier, DVD reading speed is nothing extraordinary and its performance can be described as standard. Note here that the drive does not support either 99 or 90min audio discs.

The error correction mechanism of the drive, is neither good nor bad. It stands somewhere in the middle, with CD error correction being average, and not posting as good results as we would like to see with either of our 721 and 726 test CDs, while with artificially defective media, the drive was average to good, although some times, the speed was on the slow side when trying to read over all defective surfaces.

Protected media produced some problems for the reviewed drive, which did not manage to produce a rip of the Sony's Key2Audio protected media. Both the other audio protected titles were ripped successfully however. Protected games ripping is not a problem as long as the protection scheme is not Safedisc, which is a major problem for the drive. After two hours, the drive had ripped less than 1% of the disc. As far as working backups of Safedisc protected games are concerned, this can be done only with versions prior to the 2.9.

The main flaw of the PX-750A drive is its writing capabilities, which is mainly due to the limited media list that the drive supports. As can be seen in the previous pages, many of the tested media were burned at lower than their designated speed, especially in the case of 16X media. The reported quality is average with most DVD SL media, while there were cases with good burns, but with most, the writing speed was 4X even though the media was 16X certified. DL writing quality is also not as good as expected, as reported by the quality checks carried out on the burned media. We hope that soon, a new firmware version will be released which will improve things

DVD-RAM burning was satisfactory, although with no improvements to previous technologies, while the "Write and Verify" strategy while burning with Nero cannot be disabled.

Last but not least, the bundled Plextools Professional. As we saw in the first pages of this review, the drive cannot perform any of the advanced functions offered by Plextools Pro, which leads us to wonder why include the Plextools Pro Pressed CD in the retail package in the first place....

- The Good

- 5X DVD-RAM read/write support
- Can overburn CD media up to 99mins
- Supports Booktype Setting Change

- The Bad

- Performance with 90, 99min Audio CD
- Cannot create working backups with SafeDisc protected games over v2.80
- Cannot overburn DVD recordable media
- Does not support Q-Check
- DVD writing quality
- Limited compatibility DVD media list

- Like To be fixed

- More media for 16X
- Writing quality with certain media

Retail Package
Reading
Error Correction
Protected Discs
Writing
Features


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