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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Monday, May 17, 2004
Plextor PX-712A


1. Introduction

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 1

 

Plextor was the first manufacturer to release a dual-format 8X/4X DVD recorder, the PX-708A. Now, Plextor has released the first 12X/8X burner, the very promising PX-712A. This is the first drive to support 12X DVD+R recording in combination with 8X DVD-R. In addition, it is the first DVD recorder with 48X maximum recording speed for the CD-R format. Plextor usually puts a lot of effort in the correct hardware implementation and firmware design, so our expectations are high for this model.

- Features

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 recording preparation in order to obtain a more personalized sound tone. The feature is fully controlled within the 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:

* More information about each function later at its own pages.

Of course, the most awaited feature of the new Plextor PX-712A is the supported higher reading / writing speeds. The new drive offers 12X DVD+R (6~12 P-CAV) recording, the highest DVD recording speed available today. Not many manufacturers will jump on the 12X DVD+R writing speed wagon, since there is no official standard. It must be noted that in the next couple of months, 16X full CAV DVD+R writers will hit the market.

DVD-R can be written up to 8X and DVD±RW at 4X CLV, while. DVD-ROM reading goes up to 16X CAV - for SL (single layer) media - and 12X for DL (double layer) media. This drive has also very impressive capabilities when viewed as a CD-RW recorder, offering 48X/24X/48X speeds.

- Specifications
Interface:
E-IDE/ATAPI (Ultra DMA Mode 2)
Writing Speed:

DVD+R: 12X / -R: 8X, DVD+RW: 4X, DVD-RW: 4X

CD-R: 48X, CD-RW: 24X
Read Speed:

DVD+R/-R/+RW/-RW: 12X

DVD-ROM: 16X, CD-R/RW: 40X/48X
Random Access:
DVD: 150msec, CD: 100msec
Buffer Size:
8MB
Supported Disc Formats:
DVD: DVD-ROM, DVD Video, Multi Border (closed disc read only), Multi-session, DVD+VR, DVD-VR (Read only)
CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM Mode 2, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-I, Multi-session, CD-Text, UDF, CD+G
Supported Writing Types:

DVD+R/+RW: Sequential write, Random access write, Multi-session and DVD+MRW (Mt. Rainier)

DVD-R/ -RW: Disc-at-once, Incremental recording, Multi-border recording, Restricted overwriting
CD-R/RW: Track-at-once, Disc-at-once, Session-at-once, Multi-session, Fixed and Variable Packet Writing, CD-MRW (Mt. Rainier)

Apart from the specifications mentioned above, Plextor PX-712A supports Mount Rainier for CD-R/RW and DVD+R/+RW (DVD+MRW). The drive also uses RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. For our tests, we set the region code to 2 (Europe). Below are the drive's main specs as taken from NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

PlexTools v2.13 was used to support the drive's new testing abilities as well. Below you can see the supported subpages for the PX-712A drive.

A new interesting feature of PlexTools v2.13 is that after right clickingn on the drive and selecting the "Status" option, you can check the drive's main features, such as reading/writing speeds and GigaRec/VariRec on/off:

When a blank DVD recordable/rewritable media is inserted, the user can check which writing speeds are supported under the CD/DVD Info page. When an already burned disc is inserted, PlexTools will report various information about the disc:

Below you can see all the available CD reading speeds, according to the data type of a disc as presented within PlexTools. The maximum reading speed for CD-R is 48X when SpeedRead is enabled, and 40X for the remaining CD formats:

The maximum CD writing speed for CD-R is 48X P-CAV and 24x P-CAV, when using Ultra Speed CD-RW media:

Single layer DVD-ROM media can be read up to 16X CAV, which is quite impressive. DVD±R/RW discs will be read up to 12X CAV. As PlexTools reports, DVD-Video will be played at 2X CLV to avoid noise and vibrations, which however can be overcome very easily :-)

Below, all the available writing speeds for DVD and the various supported media types are illustrated:

- European Retail package

The European retail package includes the Plextor PX-712A IDE drive, one E-IDE cable, a quick install guide, an RMA form and a warranty card. As for all the Plextor drives, the PX-712A offers a 2-year warranty for Europe, Middle-East and Africa. There is no blank DVD±RW media included with the retail package, which could be annoying for an amateur user. Perhaps this decision was made by Plextor to reduce the cost (180 Euro) of the retail package.

The bundled CD/DVD mastering software comes from Ahead , and includes Nero Burning Rom and Nero InCD for packet writing. PowerDVD by CyberLink is the included DVD player software, and Pinnacle Studio 9 SE is available for video editing / authoring.

The second CD-ROM available in the package contains PlexTools Professional CD/DVD v2.12 utility software and a detailed manual in several languages.

Let's take a look at the drive itself.

The PX-712A model resembles the previous 708 drive and it has all the appropriate logos indicating the supported formats. The only difference between the front panel of the 708A and the 712A is the lack of the head-phone jack and the volume control button. The black tray, according to Plextor, reduces the optical distortion of the laser beam while reading/writing, producing higher quality burns. The activity indicator lights up green when the device is active and yellow when reading / accessing a disc.

On the rear panel you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power connector. Another version of PX-712A planned to arrive shortly with S-ATA interface and codename PX-712S.

Our drive was manufactured in April 2004 with a TLA#0001 (hardware revision).

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. You can click on the mainboard picture for a higher resolution image:

Click to enlarge!

Below you can see Sanyo's latest LSI chipset, the LC897491. According to Sanyo, the new chipset supports 12x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, 8x DVD±RW, 52x CD-R and 32x CD-RW recording speeds. In addition it supports Sanyo’s HD-BURN and BURN-Proof technologies. With reading, the chipset offers 16x DVD-ROM, 52x CD-ROM and 2x DVD-RAM.

- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP was recognized as "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-712A". The drive arrived with firmware v1.00. Plextor released a newer firmware (v1.01) that was being used for all reading/recording tests. Below is a picture from Nero Burning Rom, showing the drive's specs.

We have only tested one other 12X DVD+R burner, that from CyberDrive, so we decided to compare the drive with its older brother, the PX-708A and the CyberDrive CX12A.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.00
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.21
  5. KProbe v2.1.0 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHSOK, Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.13 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.01, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.47
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.10

2. Data CD/DVD Reading Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The PX-712A normally supports up to 40X reading speed. With the integraded "SpeedRead CD" function we "boosted" the drive reading speed up to 48X for use with our pressed CD and CD-R media and performed the tests.

Click for the Seek Times Graph!

Click for the Seek Times Graph!

The PX-712A is faster than its predecessor, the PX-708A, due to the increased reading maximum speed (48X). The average trasnfer rate was about 36.53X and 36.43X for pressed CD/CD-R media respectively.

With US-RW media the drive's maximum speed is 40X, resulting in a lower average speed of 31.4X.

- DVD Format

Click for the Seek Times Graph!

The PX-712A reads the pressed PTP Single Layer media up to ( 6~) 16X CAV! The average reading speed is 12.1X, making the drive really fast. Very good performance from PX-712A!

Click for the Seek Times Graph!

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, towards the outer area, for each layer. The average reading speed drops to 9.06X (due to 5~12X CAV).

Click for the full graph!

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 difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of 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 toward the inner part of the disc. The average reading speed is 9.03X (again 5~12X CAV).

As was expected, the PX-712A will read any DVD recordable/rewritable media at 5~12X (CAV). The average reading speed reaches 9.05X.

Normally, the Plextor PX-712A will read by default CSS DVD-Video discs at 2X CLV speed. For normal use this is very good since there are no vibrations and extensive noise. However when you need to quickly "rip" a movie to HDD this causes a major headache...ripping time!

Plextor has recognized this problem and offers two ways to "remove" the specific problem:

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defected discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 431363124
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 2069442
Avg: -31.6 dB(A)
Max: -7.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 843236
Avg: 2.7 Samples
Max: 1218 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
67.4 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
74.9 % (out of 100.0% maximum)

The Plextor PX-712A performed very badly with the ABEX TCD-721R. The drive from the start began producing high spikes and the total score is rather disspointing. This is very strange since its predesessor performed much better. The C2 accuracy score is also rather low (74.9%).

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 431673801
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 2069398
Avg: -31.5 dB(A)
Max: -7.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 843388
Avg: 2.7 Samples
Max: 1274 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 1
Avg: 550 Samples
Max: 550 Samples
Total Test Result
54.7 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
74.9 % (out of 100.0% maximum)

Again the PX-712A didn't produce good results with the ABEX TCD-726 disc at full speed.

- 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 difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

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

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Plextor PX-708A
5/5
5/5
5/5
3/5
0/5

Plextor PX-712A passed the three 3 Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals average sound reproduction and error correction. The fifth level includes an error size of 1.500mm, and the drive returned many audible clicks.

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score
ABEX TCD-721R
Max
67.4
ABEX TCD-726
74.9
Average Score
71.15

Combining the two scores from the tests we get an average total score of 71.15 points out of 100. This performance was rather dissapointing for a Plextor drive and probably this should be improved with a new firmware revision.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the Plextor PX-712A 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.

Plextor PX-718A read the disc at 12X CAV and the scratched area did not affect the process. The disc was read accurately and no read errors were reported. The performance reveals high error correction capabilities with scratched single layer DVD-ROM discs.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 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 defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

As in the previous test, the disc was read without any read errors. The reading speed was not reduced when the drive read the defective areas, and the test was finished successfully.

- 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.

The drive didn't have any major problems and only lowered its reading speed near the end of the disc.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of 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.

No serious problem here for the PX-712A, again a small speed drop near the end of the disc.

According to the results we have gathered until now, the Plextor PX-712A can easily read scratched / defective single and dual layer DVD-ROM discs!

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 upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Click for the full graph!

The reading process started at 3.5x until the 2.0GB address mark of the test disc, where the drive lowered the speed in order to read the scratched area. The drive stopped reading around 3.6GB and didn't pass at the second layer. The test results were confirmed when we tried to play the DVD Video files of the disc in our test PC, with CyberLink PowerDVD software. Playback froze near the end of the first layer, and many skips occurred. We did not manage to playback the rest of the movie (second layer).

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.

Black dots and fingerprints on the disc surface did not create any reading problems, and the drive finished the task successfully.

Click for a full graph!


5. Protected Disc Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to 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, which is more interesting for all users.

Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
1:10 min
1295 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
2:28 min
2239 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:09 min
1815 sectors/sec

Plextor PX-712A supports reading of subchannel data information from data/audio tracks. The drive was fast with all the protections, and especially with the the SafeDisc v.2 disc!

- Writing Tests

The Plextor PX-712A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 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 (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter v1.07
SD v2.60.052
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Creative CD5233E
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Plextor PX-712A

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

What's rather dissapointing is that despite the fact that the PX-712A supports VariRec, it doesn't have the same implementation like Premium did. With the Plextor Premium and BlindWrite you can create accurate backups of SecuROM 4.8xx protected games. Of course, Sony responded to the special writing mode of Premium with v5.xx series, adding several checks which recognize the original from a backup disc. Despite this, we would like to see this feature present in the PX-712A series.


6. DAE Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The Plextor PX-712A supports 17~40X CAV DAE speed. When used on a pressed AudioCD with CD-R copy we had the following results.

The PX-712A was 1.9X faster than both the PX-712A and CyberDrive DX122D, with pressed media. When using CD-R media, the PX-712A didn't perform as well as before and ended up in last place with 29.1X.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Plextor PX-708A received a perfect score of 100 in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The CDSpeed showed that the average reading speed is 29.80X, and that the drive supports reading of SubChannel data. Leadin / Leadout data and CD Text.

- Ripping of 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Plextor PX-712A
99min

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used two audio discs with different audio copy protections. The areas we checked are for both recognition and ripping to the hard disk with Exact Audio Copy.

Key2Audio
CDS200
EAC
Plextor PX-708A
OK
OK
CyberDrive CX122D
Recognizes disc contents but cannot rip tracks
OK
Plextor PX-712A
OK
OK

The Plextor PX-712A is fully compatible with protected audio discs. Both discs were recognized and their contents were ripped accurately at the maximum speed.


7. CD Recording Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 7

CD Recording Tests

The Plextor PX-712A is the first DVD burner that supports 48X CD recording.

The drive supports 4X, 8X, 16X (CLV), 32X (P-CAV) as well as the maximum 48X CAV writing speeds. Below are the recording speeds as detected from Nero Burning Rom.

Despite the fact that the PX-712A has a wide supported media list, its possible that older media will not permit writing at the maximum speed due to the PoweRecII technology. This can be bypassed by disabling PoweRec, either under PlexTools or Nero Burning Rom:

According to Nero CDSpeed the drive reached the maximum 48X speed. The test started at 21.05X and finished at 47.90X having an average speed of 36.20X. Click on the image below to see the whole graph.

Click For Full Graph!

For the burning tests, we created an 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom, recorded the data on a 700MB disc. The Plextor PX-712A finished the task in 2:50 minutes, when we selected the 48X writing speed. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media, as our tests showed. The PoweRec II system will lower the writing speed, especially at the end producing a good and quality burn. Below is a chart demonstrating all recording times with various media.

The best performance came with CMC Magnetics 80min 52X media at 170secs (2:50mins), while the highest recording time was with TraxData 80min 52X media at 199secs (3:19mins). For comparison, we must note that its older brother (PX-708A) was slower by only 8 secs (178secs fastest burn)! For a complete list of supported CD-R media, please visit the Plextor Europe website.

- Other features

Overburning
Up to 99min
CD text reading/writing
Yes

The Plextor PX-718A supports 24X P-CAV maximum rewriting speed with Ultra High Speed rewritable media. The drive also writes at 4X CLV with NS CD-RW and 10X CLV with HS-RW discs. Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Click for the full graph!

The drive starts the writing task at 21.18X and reaches the maximum 24X around the 6:00 min area of the disc. According to CDSpeed, the average writing speed is 23.89X. We also used Nero Burning Rom in order to burn a data disc with 24x US-RW media from MC. The data compilation we burned had a size of 651 MB and the duration of the recording process was 3:34 minutes. The PX-708A for the same project needs 3:41mins.

We used Philips Mount Rainier Validation Suite v2.2 to test the drive's compliance with the Mount Rainier format. All three scripts loaded in the Validation Suite (mandatory command set, Light R'n'R and Heavy R'n'R) were passed successfully by the drive, indicating perfect results.


8. CD Writing Quality - Jitter Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 8

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

In the following page you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs using various media burned at 48X CAV writing speed.

- 3T Pit results

Generally the drive didn't perform very well, at least with the specific media. The highest 3T Pit jitter reached was 47nsec, which was a long way from the Red Book limit (35nsec). The best results came with BenQ 52X CD-R media.

- 3T Land results

The average 3T Land results were again high for the same media. The maximum 3T Land Jitter also reached 47nsec and the Fuji 40X CD-R media produced the best results.

- Conclusion

Thr Plextor PX-712A generally gave average results in the jitter measuring tests. The 48X writing speed does affect both 3T Pit/Land Jitter which sometimes reached even 47nsec. With some media (BenQ 52X , Fuji 40X) the 3T Pit/Land Jitter was much lower. Looking at the burning results, we will see that BenQ 52X media taking 3:07mins to burn, is among the highest burning times.

In the following page we check the C1 and C2 error rates of the same discs, to come up with more conclusive appraisal.


9. CD Writing Quality - C1/C2 Error Measurements

Plextor PX-712A dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 09

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate of the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is the PleXTools Professional v2.13, and particularly the built-in Q-Check utility. For comparison purposes, we also scanned the burned discs with Plextor Premium (firmware v1.05, 8X CLV reading speed).

BenQ 80min CD-R @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

CMC Magnetics 80min 48X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

Fuji 80min 40X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

Mam SGUltra 80min 48X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

Maxell 80min 48X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

MMore 80min 52X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

Plextor 80min 48X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

TraxData 80min 52X @ 48X (PoweRec Enabled)

- Summary

Generally, we can say that the PX-712A produced good quality burns with some exceptions. The biggest problems came with Mam SG Ultra and CMC Magnetics, where C2 errors were reported. Of course, C2 errors can be corrected but a good burn shouldn't include them afterall. Comparing the drive with the Plextor Premium, we saw that the PX-712A was more "sensitive" reporting higher C1 and also C2 error rates, where the Premium didn't.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
MMore 80min 52X
97m17s 6f
Moser Baer India
79m59s74f
Maxell 80min 48X
97m15s17f
Ritek Co.
79m59s70f
FujiFilm 80min 40X
97m26s45f
Fuji Photo Film
79m59s73f
CMC Magnetics 80min 48X
97m26s66f
CMC Magnetics
79m59s71f
Mam SGUltra 80min 48X
97m27s58f
Mitsui Chemicals
79m59s74f
BenQ 80min 48X
97m22s67f
Daxon Technology
79m59s74f
Plextor 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
TraxData 80min 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f

10. DVD Recording Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 10

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The Plextor PX-712A supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for the DVD+R is 12X (6X~12X P-CAV), 8X P-CAV for DVD-R and 4X CLV for DVD±RW media. Currently, no 12X certified DVD+R media is sold on the market. Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below. Notice that the drive burns CLV at 4X & 6X writing speeds for both DVD±R formats .

The Plextor PX-712A will burn at 12X using existing 8X certified DVD+R media. With the current firmware revision (v1.01) the following media are supported for the maximum burning speeds. Too bad Plextor's website doesn't post the exact media codes so users can identify if their media will be burned or not at max speeds:

Recommended Media
Recording Speeds
Disc Manufacturer
DVD+R
12X

Verbatim DVD+R (8X)
Prodisc Technology Inc DVD+R (8X)
MPO Media DVD+R (8X)
Taiyo Yuden DVD+R47TYA
Ricoh DRD-8XCW5
Plextor PX-DVD+R8JC1
Maxell D+R47C.1P

DVD-R
8X
Maxell DR47C.1P
Mitsubishi Chemical DHR47H1
Plextor PX-DVD-R8JC1
Taiyo Tuden DVD-R47TYA
TDK DVD-R47K
Sony DVD-R (8X)
Ritek DVD-R (8X)
Prodisc Technology Inc DVD-R (8X)
NAN-YA DVD-R (8X)
Fujifilm DVD-R (8X)
CMC DVD-R (8X)

The current version of Nero CD-DVD Speed had a problem, closing immediatly after completing the "create disc" function, therefore we run two simulation tests, one in Nero CDSpeed and one in Plextools Professional, using Maxell 8X DVD+R media.

The Plextor PX-712A starts writing at 6.03x, and gradually increases its writing speed until 2.7GB where it reaches the 12X writing speed until the end of the disc is reached. The average writing speed is around 10.62X, while the total burning time is around 6:09mins for a full DVD-5 project.

For the DVD-R format, P-CAV writing strategy is being used, as the Nero CD-Speed software reports:

Click for the full graph!

The time needed for 4316MB was 7:54min, making the PX-712A a fast burner. For the DVD±RW 4X CLV writing technology used.

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. We used the maximum allowed writing speed for each disc, with the PoweREC feature enabled. The best recording times for DVD-R format came from That's 8X media with 7:50mins. Its not a secret that Plextor uses Taiyo Yuden media for branded products, so it was natural the PX-712A to perform best with them. We can say that Plextor followed a rather strict policy with DVD-R media since it allowed 8X only with 8X rated media, with the exception of That's 4X DVD-R.

On the other hand, things changed when burning DVD+R media. The PX-712A allowed all tested 4X DVD+R media to be burned at 8X! For the absolute 12X P-CAV recording speeds, the supported media list , as we saw before is rather limited, and only three media managed to burn with many differences in the final recording time. The lowest burning time came from Maxell's 8X DVD+R media with 6:09mins, followed by Ricoh's 8X (6:12mins) and Plextor's 8X (6:24mins).

PX-712A burned Maxell 8X DVD+R at only 6:09mins!!!

Below are all the burning results from the various media types used.

Disc Label
Disc Information
Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
That's 8X
TYG02
8X
7:50
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
7:53
CMC 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
7:54
TraxData 8X
RITEKG05
8X
7:56
Maxell 8X
MXL RG03
8X
7:51
That's 4X
TYG01
8X
7:52
That's 6X
TYG01
6X
10:03
BenQ 4X
SONY04D1
4X
14:44
TraxData 4X
RITEKG04
4X
14:51
Verbatim RW
MCC01RW4X
4X
14:44
Traxdata RW
RITEKW04
4X
14:47
Disc Label
Disc Information
Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
Plextor 8X
YUDEN000T02
12X
6:24
Ricoh 8X
RICOHJPNR02
12X
6:12
Maxell 8X
MAXELL 002
12X
6:09
CMC 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
7:37
Verbatim 4X
MMC 002
8X
7:34
Traxdata 4X
RICOHJPNR01
8X
7:36
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
7:35
CMC 4X
CMC MAG F01
8X
7:36
Mitsubishi Kagaru 8X
MCC 003
8X
7:34
MMore 4X
MBIPG101R03
8X
7:34
Traxdata RW 4X
RICOHJPNW11
4X
15:12
Mitsubishi Kagaku RW 4X
MKMA02
4X
13:48

- DVD Overburning Test

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.00 we tested if the PleXWriter PX-712A can overburn using DVD-R and DVD+R media:

Unfortunatly, the PX-712A doesn't support overburning with DVD-R media.

For this test we used two media, RICOH 4X DVD+R and TY 8X DVD+R. Nero CD-DVD Speed automatically sets as test capacity 5GB and warns us that simulation is not possible, actual writing must be performed:

The PX-W712A was able to write up to 4616MB, an overall gain of 133MB. Not bad at all :-)
RICOH 4X DVD+R media
With TY 8X DVD+R, the additional space increased by 19MB.
Finally below we can see the tested media ID and the overall overburning capacity.
- DVD+MRW Tests

We used MRW Validation Suite 2.2 from Philips to test the compliance of the Plextor PX-712A with the Mount Rainier DVD+MRW format.

For the test we used 4X DVD+RW media from TraxData and 2.4X DVD+RW media from Sentinel. The test was terminated immediately after starting prompting us to insert a blank DVD+RW disc. Probably the problem lies with the testing software since we had similar problems testing other drives also. If and when MRW Validation Suite solves this issue, we will repeat the tests.


11. Kprobe PI/PO Quality Tests for DVD+R/RW

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 11

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the media we burned with the Plextor PX-712A. The software we used for all measurements is the KProbe v2.1.0, and the reader is a LiteOn LDW-811S with "patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.13 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences at the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combination, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). Its interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speed, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the asbolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

Maxell 8X DVD+R @ 12X

Plextor 8X DVD+R @ 12X

Ricoh 8X DVD+R @ 12X

CMC 8X DVD+R @ 8X

CMC 4X DVD+R @ 8X

MCC 4X DVD+R @ 8X

MKM 8X DVD+R @ 8X

MMore 4X DVD+R @ 8X

TraxData 4X @ 8X

TraxData 8X DVD+R @ 8X

TraxData 4X DVD+RW @ 4X

Mitsubishi Kagaku 4X DVD+RW @ 4X

- Summary

Most of the 4X DVD+R media burned at 8X without any serious problem. The reported PI/PIF error rate is low and most of the problems are focused on the outer area of the disc. The 12X DVD+R writing speed shows very good results, mostly with TY based media.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
Plextor 8X
YUDEN000T02
12X
6:24
Ricoh 8X
RICOHJPNR02
12X
6:12
Maxell 8X
MAXELL 002
12X
6:09
CMC 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
7:37
Verbatim 4X
MMC 002
8X
7:34
Traxdata 4X
RICOHJPNR01
8X
7:36
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
7:35
CMC 4X
CMC MAG F01
8X
7:36
Mitsubishi Kagaru 8X
MCC 003
8X
7:34
MMore 4X
MBIPG101R03
8X
7:34
Traxdata RW 4X
RICOHJPNW11
4X
15:12
Mitsubishi Kagaku RW 4X
MKMA02
4X
13:48

12. Kprobe PI/PO Quality Tests for DVD-R/RW

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 12

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the media we burned with the Plextor PX-712A. The software we used for all measurements is the KProbe v2.1.0, and the reader is a LiteOn LDW-811S with "patched" firmware, being able to read DVD±R/RW media up to 8X CAV. All scans have been performed at 8X with PI/PIF Sum8. Note that LiteOn drives cannot report PO but PIF errors, despite what KProbe reports. In addition all discs have been scanned with PX-712A v1.01 using PlexTools v2.13 for comparison levels.

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences at the reported PI/PIF error rates. The main explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combination, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speed, since when the error rate increases at a specific disc area, it should appear at both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the asbolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

BenQ 4X DVD-R @ 4X

CMC Magnetics 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

That's 8X DVD-R @ 8X

That's 4X DVD-R @ 8X

That's 4X DVD-R @ 6X

TraxData 4X DVD-R @ 4X

TraxData 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Verbatim 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Verbatim 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

Traxdata 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

- Summary

The best writing quality results came from 'That's 8X DVD-R' media. Most of the burned discs had low PI/PIF error rates. With the BenQ 4X DVD-R media, the drive produced a medium quality burn. Comparing LiteOn and Plextor scans, we can easily notice, that the Plextor drive, even reads at 2X CLV, will report a problem when it's there, where the LiteOn drive easily reports much higher PI/PIF error rates.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
That's 8X
TYG02
8X
7:50
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
7:53
CMC 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
7:54
TraxData 8X
RITEKG05
8X
7:56
Maxell 8X
MXL RG03
8X
7:51
That's 4X
TYG01
8X
7:52
That's 6X
TYG01
6X
10:03
BenQ 4X
SONY04D1
4X
14:44
TraxData 4X
RITEKG04
4X
14:51
Verbatim RW
MCC01RW4X
4X
14:44
Traxdata RW
RITEKW04
4X
14:47

13. VariREC Tests for CD Format

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 13

VariREC (CD Format)

Plextor improved VariRec and along with CD, now also supports the DVD format. The VariRec function in general, changes the laser power values producing changes of sound quality and playability with a player. The VariRec function can be used either inside PlexTools (Drive Settings ->VariRec) or under Nero Burning ROM.

When you attempt to access for the first time the VariRec tab, a wanring window prompts, giving details about the use of this function and restrictions:

When selecting VariREC, the burning speeds are limited to 4X/8X for CD-R and 2X/4X for DVD±R media. Mainly VariREC can be used with for CD-DA (CD) and DVD-Video (DVD) formats.

Below is a screenshot when a blank CD-R media is inserted in the drive. Users can select from -4~+4 values with 1 value stepping. There are two burning speeds (4X/8X), and change of recording strategy method according to the used dye material of the inserted disc:

For our tests we used:

We burned one media each VariRec value: -4, -3, -2, -1, +0, +1, +2, +3, +4. The burned media tested with a desktop mini system and a car CD player. Below are the test results

VariRec
Players
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
+1
+2
+3
+4
JVC LCX-257
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems
Disc was not recognized!
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems
JVC KD-SH9101

The test results were very good. Almost all produced discs were playable and without any problem (skipping, muting). The only problem comes from the -2 VariRec value, since it produced a disc that wasn't recognized by any of the two CD players. Generally speaking, we didn't hear any change in sound tone during our listening tests, Plextor claims that VariRec can change the music tone, maybe with a better system, such changes could be audible...

We measured the jitter levels on the same media, using our LEADER LE 1853 machine, in order to see the recording quality while using the VariREC feature and the normal mode. Below are the results:

As can been seen on the graphs above, the lower the step the better the quality is. The normal writing is placed exactly in the middle of the jitter levels. The -2 step is missing from our graphs since it was not recognized and so it was not possible to be measure.


14. VariREC Tests for DVD Format

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 14

VariREC (DVD Format)

A blank DVD-R media was inserted in the drive. The user can move the VariREC slider from -4 ~ 0 ~ +4 values, at the same time change the recording speed (4X/2X) and the recording strategy method!

As users can easily imagine, the combinations are too many for testing, so we decided to burn DVD-Video media with the following presets for all burning tests:

All burned media was measured with PlexTools v2.13 and PX-712A for Jitter and afterwards tested with a Sony PS2 for playback compatibility.

First lets see how VariREC affects the DCJitter trend line:
Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X (no VariRec)
Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X ( -4 VariRec )
Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X ( -2 VariRec )

Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X ( 0 VariRec )

Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X ( +2 VariRec )
Click to see the CDSpeed Graph!
Maxell 4X DVD-R @ 4X ( +4 VariRec )

The test results showed that VariRec does affect Jitter and in some cases improved its values by descreasing its trend line. The highest Jitter values come without the VariRec function enabled while the lowest from the +4 setting. The worst results came from the +2 setting, since PlexTools reported write errors during the lead-out process and the disc is unreadable near the end, as CDSpeed showed.

The CDSpeed transfer graphs showed that the -2 settingt produces the smoother graph, while the normal 4X writing the worst!

Playing back the test discs with PS2, showed that all discs were playable, the +2 disc wasn't. No problems were noticed during playback, but for sure the reduced Jitter of some settings will produce smoother playback with specific DVD players.


15. GigaRec Tests - Page 1

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 15

GigaRec - Page 1

GigaRec is another function from Plextor that increases/decreases the capacity of an empty blank disc, allowing more or less data to fit. The main idea behind GigaRec is to widen the Pit lenght that is burned to the disc improving playability (0.6X, 0.7X, 0.8X) with players, or reduce Pit lenght and fit more data on the disc. The outcome is supposed to be similar to Yamaha's AudioMASTER technology.

After inserting any 80min blank CD-R media, PlexTools automatically fills up the table, notice that the 1.4X selection is grayed out, and therefore cannot be selected. The user can move the slider from 0.6X ~ 1.3X. From the table we can see how much more/less data will fit on our disc. After enabling GigaRec, we can proceed to the CD/DVD Maker tab and add our data (mode1/mode2 or audio).

To our surpise, when we inserted a TDK 800min CD-R disc, the disc increased capacity up to 1051MB or 119mins of Audio data! Again the 1.4X slider was not available...

For our tests we used .wav files to create non-compliant Audio discs. The main use of GigaRec is with Audio discs so we only burned such projects:

#1st Test

The drive didn't have any problems burning the 0.8X/1.2X/1.3X with the 8X writing speed. However we didn't manage to burn the 0.6X/0.7X rates at that speed (8X) since either drive stopped responding or returned power calibration errors. At the 1.3X rate, we managed to store up to 105:12mins of Audio!

#2nd Test

When selected the 4X burning speed for 0.6X/0.7X GigaRec rates the burning process completed without any problems.

#3rd Tests

The drive didn't have any problems writing up to 119:24mins of Audio CD! Again for the 0.6X/0.7X and 1.3X we used the 4X burning speed.


16. GigaRec Tests - Page 2

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 16

GigaRec - Page 2

- Playback Tests

In order to test the GigaRec function we used three CD players and the results are presented in the following table:

#1st Test Disc Batch (SKC 80min 48X)

GigaRec Rates
Players
0.6X
0.7X
0.8X
1.2X
1.3X
JVC LCX-257
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems
TOC recognized correctly, high seek times when try accessing last tracks especially at 1.3X. When playback performed sequentially at last tracks no problems occured.
JVC SH-D9101

Below are the BETA/Jitter scans for all GigaRec tested media:

SCK 80min 0.8X Rate

SKC 80min CD-R 1.2X Rate

SKC 80min CD-R 1.3X

#2nd Test Disc Batch (BenQ 80min 52X)

GigaRec Rates
Players
0.6X
0.7X
0.8X
1.2X
1.3X
JVC LCX-257
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems
JVC KV-9101

BenQ 80min CD-R 0.6X Rate

BenQ 80min CD-R 0.7X Rate

#3rd Test Disc Batch (TDK 90min 40X)

GigaRec Rates
Players
0.6X
0.7X
0.8X
1.2X
1.3X
JVC LCX-257
TOC recognized correctly, cannot playback any track (disc keeps spinning all the time focus lost)
TOC recognized correctly, some problems with last tracks
TOC recognized correctly, high seek times when try accessing last tracks especially at 1.3X. When playback performed sequently at last tracks no problems occured.
JVC KV-9101
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems
TOC recognized correctly, no playback problems

TDK 90min CD-R 0.6X Rate

TDK 90min CD-R 0.7X Rate

TDK 90min CD-R 0.8X Rate

TDK 90min CD-R 1.2X Rate

TDK 90min CD-R 1.3X Rate

- Summary

If someone asked us directly, "does GigaRec work?", our answer would be definantly yes. It does work and pretty well especially with 80min CD-R media. The produced discs will playback correctly at some rates and won't at others. The used media does affect the playability as was shown from our test results.

Using the BenQ 80min 48X CD-R media, the 0.6X/0.7X/0.8X rates had no problems while the other two (1.2X/1.3X) produced minor problems. The system had problems focusing from first to the last two tracks, high seek times, but when playback was sequential no problem occured.

Using the TDK 800MB CD-R media enabled higher GigaRec rates, which however weren't that impressive since the burned media isn't playable at some parts or at all. For the two lowest GigaRec rates (0.6X, 0.7X) the only working burning speed is 4X, normally since laser needs to stay focused when producing the higher pit lenghts.

For the remaining GigaRec rates (0.8X,1.2X,1.3X), 8X burning speed is selectable, we would suggest however using again the 4X speed with the highest (1.3X) rate.

Of course as you may understand, using other CD-R media and maybe combined with VariRec can produce totally different results...;-)

- Appendix

For testing we also used Mam SGUltra 80min 48X CD-R media with the 1.3X rate. The produced disc had all the usual symptoms of the 1.3X rate but the interesting part is that the PX-712A couldn't scan the disc for Beta/Jitter error rates...

Mam 80min CD-R 1.3X Rate


17. Q-Check Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 17

Q-Check

Q-Check functions was first introduced by Plextor with the Premium drive. For the first time, an optical storage manufacturer sold a device with built-in media measurement software/features. Plextor, as was expected, added to the PX-712A series the ability not only to check C1/C2 error rates but also PI/PO errors with DVD recordable/re-writeable/pressed media! Let's see the new functions.

First of all, a new option has been added within the Q-Check Beta/Jitter Test, the Q-Check PIPO Test. The PlexTools v2.13 intoduced improved PI/PO tests according to the standards, making the PX-712A ideal solution for measuring error rates from DVD media, or not?...We plan to find out :-)

The PlexTools v2.13 gives a brief description about the three subtests of Q-Check PI/PO test:

The bold black line represents the DVD standard error limit (280 for PISum8).

At the log window we can see the realtime statistics (average/maximum/total) of the measurement values.

What exactly is being measured and reported varies from test to test:

The Basic test reported error rate is not very useful since it doesn't exactly comply with any DVD standard. The Limits error according to the DVD standards are:

As Plextor explains, the existence of PI errors on DVD media is normal, those errors are NOT physical defects and can be corrected by the player's error correction mechanism. It should be noted that the number of reported errors is a combination of specific media + player and usually when we measure a media with many readers we will get totally different results. In case PlexTools reports POF errors, there is a chance that data will become unreadable.

The Q-Check PI/PO test options are not exactly we would have liked. You can only select the displayed Error Limit (100/500 defaults, but you can type any number and automatically scale changes!), the Time Lengh Indication (5GB/10GB) and the Start/End position of the test.

As it stands currently, the Q-Check PI/PO test is performed at 2X CLV, making each subtest last around 30mins (depends on the written data). While at this speed, Plextor promises high accuracy, however we would like to have more reading speed options...

Summarizing our critisim towards Q-Check PI/PO test we would like to:

The Q-Check FE/TE and Beta/Jitter tests were also updated to support the DVD format.

Under the Beta/Jitter Test there is the option to set the sample lenght from 8ECC Blocks to 16ECC Blocks, we are not very sure which should be used for comparing, for our comparison tests we used the 8ECC Blocks option.

And last but not least, we shouldn't forget that the PX-712A can also report/measure C1/C2 and CU errors. Nothing new here (compared with Premium), the same reading options (4X/8X CLV and 10~24 CAV):

For the C1/C2 scans we would like the average/max/total values also printed with the graph instead of a pop up window.


18. PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 1

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 18

PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 1

For checking exactly what the PX-712A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. These three media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system. For your comparisons, we post the PIPO and Beta/Jitter measurements. We post only the SUM8 and SUM1 test results along with BETA/Jitter. In order to fully test a disc, you need 30mins for SUM8, 30mins for SUM1 and 15mins for BETA/Jitter, which equals a total of 75 mins, more even than the CATS!

#1st Test Disc - PISum8 Comparison

The PX-712A reported un-correctable read error when it reached 3.5GB. Already the PIE error rate was increasing and if the drive continued reading, the PIE error rate line would be similar with the SA300 series.

#1st Test Disc - PIF Comparison

The PIF error rate trend line looks like the SA300, however with totally different value level.

#1st Test Disc - POF Comparison


#1st Test Disc - DCJitter/BETA/ASYM Comparison

We can easily see that the BETA/Assymetry trend lines are very much the same, while the DC Jitter trend line isn't.


19. PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 2

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 19

PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 2

For checking exactly what the PX-712A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. These three media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system. For your comparisons, we post the PIPO and Beta/Jitter measurements. We post only the SUM8 and SUM1 test results along with BETA/Jitter. In order to fully test a disc, you need 30mins for SUM8, 30mins for SUM1 and 15mins for BETA/Jitter, which equals a totsl of 75 mins, more even from the CATS!

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8 Comparison

The PISum8 trend line is very close to what the SA300 series reported. Again the value level is not the same.

#2nd Test Disc - PIF Comparison

The PX-712A doesn't report too many PIF errors, but returns them where also the SA300 series did.

#2nd Test Disc - POF Comparison


#2nd Test Disc - DCJitter/BETA/ASYM Comparison

This time both the BETA/Jitter trend lines look exactly the same as the SA300 series.


20. PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 3

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 20

PleXTools vs. SA300 - Page 3

For checking exactly what the PX-712A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. These three media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system. For your comparisons, we post the PIPO and Beta/Jitter measurements. We post only the SUM8 and SUM1 test results along with BETA/Jitter. In order to fully test a disc, you need 30mins for SUM8, 30mins for SUM1 and 15mins for BETA/Jitter, which equals a totsl of 75 mins, more even from the CATS!

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8 Comparison

With the third test disc, the PISum8 error rate looks like the SA300 series. The values compared with the CATS results aren't at the same levels, but in general we are satisfied.

#3rd Test Disc - PIF Comparison

The PIF error rate with the SA300 series doesn't exceed the limit (4) but did with the PX-712A. Its interesting to see that at the same points the SA300 and PX-712A returned high spikes of PIF error rates.

#3rd Test Disc - POF Comparison


#3rd Test Disc - DCJitter/BETA/ASYM Comparison

The BETA trend line looks very close to what the famous CATS reported. PlexTools reports increased Jitter error rate at the outer areas of the disc and the CATS agreed, however with much smoother line than what the PX-712A reported.

- Summary

After having compared three test disc results measured with CATS and with PX-712A, we are happy that finally end users can do accurate measurements, and close to what proffesionals are using. From the first place we didn't expect any miracles, remember PX-712A costs only few hundred Euros when CATS costs thousands. For sure, we would like to have other reading speeds options than the default 2X CLV, since if you decide to do PISum8/Sum1 and Beta/Jitter scans, for one disc you must spend around 1:15hours. If only PlexTools could report PISum8/Sum1 and Beta/Jitter with one pass would be great :-)


21. SilentMode / SecuRec

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 21

SilentMode / SecuRec

The last two important features of the PX-712A are SilentMode and SecuRec.

- SilentMode

SilentMode is a very good feature, especially for those who seek quiet, noiseless operation from their PC. In short, what SilentMode does is described in the following screenshots:

As you have read, the user can set the drive's maximum write/read speed, the access times and most important, the tray's loading/eject speed, producing even lower noise!

- SecuRec

This feature allows you to password-protect the contents of your written disc. SecuRec can be accessed under the "Drive Settings->SecuRec". There, you can enter the password you would like to use on your disc. In order to read the contents of a SecuRec protected disc, the SecuRec function needs to be activated with the corresponding password for the disc.

As we can see, the Label of the disc changed to "SecuRec_Disc).

In order to read the contents of a SecuRec protected disc, the SecuRec function needs to be activated with the corresponding password for the disc. The SecuRec function will automatically be de-activated once you have powered down, rebooted the system/drive or closed PlexTools. The password will also be removed once the SecuRec function has been manually de-activated.


22. BookType Setting Tests

Plextor PX-712A Dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 22

BookType Setting

Unfortunaly the Plextor PX-712A doesn't support the BookType setting with current firmware/bulked software. We don't have any news if this will be added with future firmware updates or PlexTools updates...


23. Conclusion

Plextor PX-708A dual DVD±RW recorder - Page 23

Conclusion

After having finished almost all tests for the PX-712A, one thing crossed my mind..."Swiss Army Knife". What exactly does Plextor offer with the new PX-712A series? Many unique features, along with the good writing quality that most Plextor drives include. Currently, the drive is the fastest DVD burner at 12X but other 12X recorders are just around the corner. Of course, none of them support what Plextor offers, but most of them offer what Plextor didn't offer, and maybe play a big role for many users..."Double Layer" burning feature. We know the media isn't out yet, we know that the initial DL media prices would be high, but ...we would love to see PX-712A having this feature. Unfortunately dreams don't always come true so lets get back down to earth :-)

Usually, we start with the positive, this time we will start with the negative. What is the most negative point of the PX-712A? We said it before, we will say it again, the lack of DVD+R DL burning format. If this doesn't bother you much, the price is another negative, but as someone said, "you get waht you pay for". Plextor offers unique features and developing costs. There are several other negative points (doesn't support SD2 v2.8+ builds, no BookType bitsetting, doesn't support Premium's special writing mode for SecuRom games and CD Error correction could be better) but at the end, we are judging the drive too harshly, although the Plextor name demands it.

Returning to the question at hand, why should you buy PX-712A? There are many good reasons. It has FAST DVD reading/ripping speeds, supports many media (especially DVD+R) at 8X, has no problems with protected Audio titles and offers many unique features (Q-Check, GigaRec, etc...) along with overburning ability for DVD+R media!

The Plextor PX-712A is expected to hit the market at a price of around 180 Euros. We know the price is high, but all CD/DVD recording fans should buy this drive, it's a one of a kind.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed

 



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