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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Monday, September 05, 2005
Plextor PX-716AL

1. Introduction

Several months ago, Plextor released the PX-716A drive, an internal DVD burner with many features and capabilities. Today we will be reviewing its "slot in" twin, the PX-716AL, also an internal IDE interfaced DVD burner but with a different loading mechanism and firmware. The PX-716AL DL burner supports up to 16X burning speed with DVD±R media and 8X/4X with DVD±RW media. Last but not least, the 716AL can support up to 6X burning speed with both DL formats (DVD±R DL media).

Note here that the drive will not be posted as a full review, since several tests reported the same results as the 716A drive. Hence, we will be taking a thorough look at what the drive can do for the tasks related to its firmware such as some DVD error correction tests and mainly writing quality. For further investigation of the drive's capabilities, you can take a look at the full review of the PX-716A which can be found here.

- Features

The Plextor 716AL supports the same features as the 716A version...

supported for recording at high-quality and optimum speed.

is a self-learning writing technology that determines the standard deviation of any blank disc and automatically optimizes the write strategy for unknown media, enabling high-quality disc recording. AUTOSTRATEGY technology is the culmination of five years of research and development by Taiyo Yuden, a leading Japanese supplier of quality CD and DVD recording media.

controls the laser in three dimensions, to ensure high quality writing and reading if the disc surface has imperfections. Below is a graph, which according to Plextor shows the Jitter improvement with the IntelligentTilt technology:

The VariRec feature can be applied not only to Audio CD-R discs but also 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 from 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.

- GigaREC allows high capacity storage of up to 900 MB on a 700 MB CD-R disc. With this advanced feature, you can increase the maximum writing capacity by up to 30%.

- SecureREC offers password protection for your disc and other valuable data

- Q-Check checks and reports written disc quality - C1/C2 for CD, PI/POF and TA for DVD (Time Analyzer checks T3-T11 and T14), track and focus errors, beta and jitter.

- Silent Mode which enables users to vary tray load/unload speed, spin up/down speed and write/read speeds

- Specifications

Data Transfer Rate
16x: 22.160KB/s (CAV) 12x: 16.620KB/s (PCAV) 6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV) 6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV) 4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV) DVD+R DL 6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV) 4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV)
16x: 22.160KB/s (CAV) 12x: 16.620KB/s (PCAV) 6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV) 6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV) 4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2x: 2.770KB/s (CLV) DVD-R DL 6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV) 4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2x: 2.770KB/s
48x: 7.200KB/s (CAV) 32x: 4.800KB/s (PCAV) 16x: 2.400KB/s (CLV) 8x: 1.200KB/s (CLV) 4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
6-8x: 8.310-11.080KB/s (PCAV) 6x: 8.310KB/s (CLV) 4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2.4x: 3.324KB/s (CLV)
4x: 5.540KB/s (CLV) 2x: 2.770KB/s (CLV) 1x: 1.385KB/s (CLV)
24x: 3.600KB/s (PCAV) 10x: 1.500KB/s (CLV) 4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
6-16x CAV 5-12x CAV 3-8x CAV 2-5x CAV 2x CLV
20-48x CAV 17-40x CAV 14-32x CAV 10-24x CAV 8x CLV 4x CLV
Access Time <150ms (DVD) <100ms (CD)
Data Buffer 8MB
Error Rate Mode1: less than 10-12bits Mode2: less than 10-9bits
Eject Auto Eject / Manual Emergency
Disc Loading Slot Loading mechanism (caddy)
Power Supply DC +5V and DC +12V
Audio Connector Rear: Analog output
Rear: Digital SPDIF output
Dimensions 146 x 41,3 x 178,7 mm
Weight 1 kg
MTBF 60.000 POH
Disc Loading Eject 20.000 times
Warranty 2 year Fast Warranty Service (in EU, Norway and Switzerland: Collect & Return); 1 year in other countries

Specifications as reported with the aid of various tools...

As we can see from the report by Nero Info Tools and DVDInfo Pro, the drive uses the RPC II Region control which allows up to five region changes. Soon after, we changed the region to "Region 2" for our review needs.

- Tested Kit / Software Bundle

The retail package includes an IDE 80pin cable, four mounting screws, an extra jumper, an emergency eject pin, an installation guide and one disc which includes the following for both retail and demo releases:

The drive uses the caddy loading mechanism (slot in) and on the front black faceplate, you can clearly discern the Plextor logo while on the far right, the model name. A green led is also there which changes colour depending on the state of the drive.

On the rear panel of the drive, you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input.

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

The drive is Sanyo based using the following chipset.

- Installation

The drive was installed under WindowsXP and was recognized as "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-716AL". The drive arrived with firmware revision v1.01. Below is a screenshot from Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

For comparison reasons, we will be reviewing the PX-716AL along with two other drives of similar caliber, the Asus 1608 and NEC 3520A DVD Burners.

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