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

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Plextor PX-760A

1. Introduction

Plextor recently released the 755A. It now follows with another new drive, breaking the barrier of 16X burning speed. The PX-760A offers 18X writing speed for DVD+/-R media, which makes it the only drive to date that offers this speed. However, the DVD-R DL writing speed remains at 6X, while it can burn DVD+R DL at 10X.

So, let's move on and have a look at the drive's main features and specifications as found on Plextor's web-site.

- Features

For the best writing quality, the drive's AUTOSTRATEGY technology selects the optimized write strategy for every DVD disc and, if necessary, creates a new write strategy for unknown media (DVD+/-R). A separate database stores all strategies that are created by the AUTOSTRATEGY function for media that is not currently supported in the firmware. A maximum of 31 write strategies can be held in the drive's non-volatile memory. The entries can be activated or de-activated, and deleted. The list of database entries can be viewed and saved or printed.

The user can select the write strategy from the AUTOSTRATEGY database or from the database that resides in the drive's firmware by activating a different Mode.

Remark: This function is only available for DVD+R and DVD-R media (4X and higher).

  • Auto Selection Mode:
    The drive will select the best write strategy, whether it is located in the AUTOSTRATEGY database or in the firmware database. If no suitable strategy is found, AUTOSTRATEGY will create a new, optimized strategy in the database.
  • AUTOSTRATEGY On Mode (Forced):
    The drive will create a new write strategy for every new recording, whether a corresponding strategy exists already in the firmware or not.
    The drive will use the write strategies from the AUTOSTRATEGY database for recording. If no suitable strategy is found, a corresponding write strategy from the firmware's database will be used.
    The drive will only use the write strategies from the firmware's database for recording. If no corresponding write strategy is found, the default write strategy will be used.

Media Quality Check
To assure you're getting the best results with your drive, this function checks the quality of blank media.

Write strategy creation
This function offers to create a new write strategy for your blank media. The drive will create a new write strategy in the AUTOSTRATEGY database without recording on a disc. It is possible to create several write strategies for the same media, which can be useful if there is a quality difference among media with the same MID code.

PlexEraser is a data destruction utility that makes a recorded CD-R or DVD disc unreadable. The drive will "re-record" over the Lead-in and data sectors of a write once disc rendering the disc data unusable. Initially, this feature will support DVD+/-R and CD-R media. Firmware upgrades will add support for DVD+/-R DL media.

The SecureRecording function lets you write on a CD-R disc and protect the data with a password. To view the contents of a password-protected disc-or even to see a catalog of files-the user must enter the correct password. The password can be entered via PlexTools Professional software, or with SecuViewer software.

Buffer underrun proof
The buffer underrun proof technologies offer a solution to prevent writing failures during the burning process for CD and DVD by pausing the burn if the data to the drive write buffer is slowed or stopped. The drive resumes the burn process after the drive write buffer is refilled.

Silent mode
If the drive needs to be used in a quiet environment, the drive can be switched to silent mode. Unique technology that sets the drive for super-silent operation. By controlling access speed, read/write speed, and tray opening and closing speed, you reduce drive noise to a whisper. This technology is excellent for recording studios or offices where low noise is required.

Enable reading CD-R media up to the maximum speed of the drive. Discs that may be damaged due to mishandling or improper use may shatter due to the higher rotational forces reached at the maximum read speed of the drive. The drive's maximum read speed is therefore limited as a safety function. SpeedRead enables the user to increase the read speed of the drive to the maximum possible. Plextor recommends examining each disc before enabling this function.

GigaRec lets you change the recording capacity of a standard CD-R disc from 70 percent up to 130 percent of its standard capacity. You can use GigaRec for CD-DA or data writing at 4X and 8X disc-at-once (DAO). The feature allows you to get that extra storage on a single disc for a larger project. For smaller projects, like an audio master, the feature enables you to use the entire capacity of the disc, increasing the size of the pits and lands for higher reproductive quality.

VariRec provides user adjustment of the recording power above or below a default level. The default level reflects an optimized laser power setting with reduced jitter. Changing this setting will result in a change of sound or sound quality and may increase the playability or compatibility with existing players.

PlexTools Professional software provides a suite of diagnostic tests for blank and recorded media. The pre-recording tests of blank media allow you to choose the best media brands and recording parameters for your drive. The post-recording tests quantify the recording session and provide analyzer-type results to guarantee you're getting the best recording possible.

Plextor Optimized Writing Error Reduction Control (PoweRec) adjusts laser power and writing speed so they're at the optimum settings for that particular disc. Using real-time monitoring of the write data, PoweRec can increase or decrease write power and speed to guarantee the best possible writing quality with whatever brand media is used.

- Specifications

Model Plextor PX-760A
Write Speed DVD+R 18X
CD-R 48X
Read Speed DVD-ROM 16X
Technical Specifications
Interface IDE/ATAPI
Data buffer 2 MB
Access Time <100ms (CD); <150ms (DVD)
Mean time between failures (MTBF) 60 000h
Disc Loading Tray (50.000 times)
Bezel replaceable Black bezel included in retail version
Digital Audio S/P DIF output
Dimensions 146 x 41,3 x 170 mm
Weight < 1Kg
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-ROM, DVD-Video, Multi-Border, Multi-Session, DVD+VR, DVD-VR, DVD+MRW (by firmware upgrade), DRT-DM
CD: CD-DA (CD-DA/CD+G/CD-TEXT), CD-ROM (Mode1/Mode2), CD-ROM XA (Mode2 Form1/2), Audio CD, Data CD, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-I, CD-I Ready, Mixed CD, CD-Extra, Multi-Session CD, Packet Write CD (Mount Rainier by firmware upgrade)), Bootable CD
Performance DVD+R 18x: 24,930KB/s (CAV), 16x: 22,160KB/s (CAV), 12x: 16,620KB/s (PCAV) ,6x-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 18x: 24,930KB/s (CAV), 16x: 22,160KB/s (CAV), 12x: 16,620KB/s (PCAV) ,6x-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-10x: 8,310-13,850KB/s(PCAV), 6x-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), 2x: 2,770KB/s (CLV)
DVD+RW 6x-8x: 8,310-11,080KB/s(PCAV), 6x: 8,310KB/s (CLV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2.4x: 3,324KB/s (CLV)
DVD-RW 6x: 8,310KB/s (CLV), 4x: 5,540KB/s (CLV), 2x: 2,770KB/s (CLV), 1x: 1,385KB/s (CLV)
DVD-ROM 6-16x (CAV), 5-12x (CAV), 3-8x (CAV), 2-5x (CAV), 2x (CLV)
CD-RW 24x: 3,600KB/s (PCAV), 10x: 1,500KB/s (CLV). 4x: 600KB/s (CLV)
CD-ROM 20-48x (CAV), 17-40x (CAV), 14-32x (CAV), 10-24x (CAV), 8x (CLV), 4x (CLV)

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

- Retail Package/Drive

We received the retail package of the drive, which includes an extra black bezel, an IDE cable, a multi language installation manual and two CDs with software.

- White front panel view

- Black front panel view

- Rear panel view

- Top view

We do not recommend removing the drive's cover, since this will void the manufacturer's warranty. You can take a look inside the drive with the pictures below. Click on the image below for a larger and more detailed photograph.

The previous model, PX-755A, used the Sanyo chipset, which was also found in the 716A. The PX-760A now uses the LC897496K chipset, which according to Sanyo's official datasheet, offers DVD±R 16X, DVD ±RW 12X writing speed, DVD-ROM 16X reading speed, DVD-RAM 5X reading/writing speeds and 52X/32X recording speeds for CD-R and CD-RW media respectively. It seems that Plextor continues not to support DVD-RAM media, and all that has changed is an increase in the writing speed, up to 18X.

- Installation

The drive came to our labs with the firmware 1.00, which at the time of the review was the latest available. The drive was identified as "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-760A " under WinXP. Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

We compared the performance of the Plextor PX-760A against three other latest model drives, the BenQ DW-1655, the LiteON SHM-165P65 and the NEC ND-4550A.

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