Plextor PX-810SA review (Full Version)

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tszyn -> Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 11:31:06 AM)

Hello all,

The Plextor PX-810SA DVD-RW SATA drive that I bought yesterday was not easy to find and it cost nearly 3 times the price of "run-of-the-mill" DVD burners from NEC, LiteOn or Samsung.

However, I figured that, in exchange for a premium price and a little effort, I would be getting the legendary Plextor quality. I had always wanted a reliable drive with good error-correction that can read anything you throw at it.

I submitted the Plextor PX-810SA to informal testing and the results have been quite poor. Here are the disadvantages of the product:

- The error-correction seems to be WORSE than my NEC ND-4571A, which I randomly picked up at a computer store without any research at all. To test this, I took a Verbatim CD-R disc, scratched it by sliding it on my desk while pressing on it with my hand, and attempted to copy a 700 MB file off it. Both the NEC and my old Pioneer DVD-ROM drive managed to read the file quite quickly. The Plextor would stop reading about halfway through, with the added "bonus" of freezing my system (see next point).

- On Windows XP (fully updated SP2 in good condition), whenever the Plextor has trouble reading or writing a disc, it freezes the entire system. You can move the mouse pointer, but you can't access the Start menu, use any application, cancel the copying process or even launch the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del. The only solution is to press Eject on the drive, which makes everything go back to normal. Now, I don't know what's to blame -- whether it's the drive's firmware or perhaps faulty SATA support in Windows XP. All I know is that my old NEC drive (IDE) does not do this.

- The Plextor PX-810SA is not DVD region-free, unlike many drives available today. This is very inconvenient for Europeans or Asians who want to watch DVDs purchased in the US. You can only change the region 5 times, or perhaps use DeCSS to rip the DVDs to your hard drive (which, of course, is a criminal act that I would never, ever, commit myself).

- There is no way to change the reading speed. Want to hear something funny? The supplied PlexTools software enables me to change the speed of my NEC drive, but NOT the Plextor drive it came bundled with.

What's good about the PX-810SA? Not too much:

- It it much quieter than my NEC. In fact, the NEC sounds like a vacuum cleaner next to the Plextor. The noise from the NEC is unbearable when watching DVD movies.
- 2-year warranty, not that I plan to exercise it.
- The durability may be higher, but that's just me trying to rationalize a bad purchasing decision.

In short, I would call the performance "disappointing" if I had paid $40 for the drive. Given that it cost me $100 (these are Polish prices, mind you), it is a complete disaster. The only reason I'm not returning this is that I don't want to bother with the RMA procedure and I need a working burner (my NEC has gotten unreliable after 1.5 years). If I could make the choice again, I would probably look at a Samsung.



P.S. Since the PX-810SA is based on Pioneer DVR-212, some of the problems I have described may apply to the Pioneer as well. Caveat emptor.

GenAn -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 2:54:30 PM)

I hate to say, you wasted your money.  The 810SA isn't based on the 212D, it is a 212D.   You could have gotten one a lot cheaper online.  Without the Plextor-exclusive features, there's no point.  I'm a fan of Plextor drives...original Plextor drives, not rebadged drives. 

MP3Mogul -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 3:51:21 PM)

Yes the Plextor drives of old were quality drives.  The last two "actual" plextor drives I bought lasted just over a year and crapped out.  Their quality control seemed to go down hill with the company in it's end.

And yes, as stated above, the drive you bought is just a rebadged drive, not an actual plextor drive.

SithTracy -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 3:52:22 PM)

Couldn't have said it better... I have a Pioneer DVR-212D (paid roughly $30 a year ago for it)... very nice drive for DVD-R/+R and +R DL, but I also have a Plextor PX-716A and PX-755SA... Great scanning drives, decent DVD burner, and exceptional CD burners...

tszyn, I suggest you reconsider returning that drive.  You can get a Pioneer DVR-212D (or the newer 215D) and a Samsung SH-S203B and have a little beer money left over.

GenAn -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 4:15:12 PM)

I'm a fan of all of Plextor's original DVD burners with the exception of the 708A (never used one before).  My 716SA in particular is an exceptional burner, but my 712As, 712SA, 712UF, 716UF, 716UFL, 755SAs, 760As and 760SA drives are pretty good too [;)]

tszyn -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 7:58:17 PM)

A little update: I tested my scratched CD-R on two other drives at my friend's place (a cheap, one-year old Sony DVD-RW burner and the built-in DVD-RW drive in a HP notebook) and they both managed to read the disc without any problems.

So the Plextor is the ONLY ONE, out of the FIVE drives I checked, that cannot read the CD-R. I'm sorry Plextor, but that is just pathetic. If, as you guys say, the PX-810SA is identical to the Pioneer DVR-212D, then I'm afraid the Pioneer is a crappy drive as well. (Which comes as little surprise when you look at the steadily declining quality of their standalone DVD players...)

In short, I went for a renowned brand, paid a premium price for it, and got ripped off badly. I will certainly do my best to avoid Plextor products in the future. Seeing what the company has recently been doing to independent enthusiasts, I can't help but think it will not last long under this sort of management.

SithTracy: I would love to return the drive, but I ordered it from an online store and the hassle of arranging the RMA, having it mailed by courier, and then waiting for the bank transfer (I paid COD, not by credit card) is not worth the $40 I would save by going for a cheaper drive. Plus, there is always the chance that the store will find some scratch on the drive and refuse to issue me a refund (this is not America and good customer service cannot be assumed). So I will keep the drive for purely practical reasons. I posted my review so that others might learn from my mistake.



MP3Mogul -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/25/2008 8:44:45 PM)

Just remember, a little homework would have let you know that it's not an actual "Plextor" drive, but a rebadged drive with "Plextor Firmware" which probably is not very good.

I, as SithTracy, recommend returning the drive, getting a refund and buying another drive.  I understand your peril, as it used to be, when you ordered a Plextor, you got what you paid for, but it's just not that way anymore, unless you find an actual Plextor drive....

GenAn -> RE: Plextor PX-810SA review (1/26/2008 8:26:24 AM)

There's always ebay.  I've gotten some pretty sweet deals on some brand new (checked the burn times with PXinfo) real Plextors, and if one is bitter about Plextor's current rebadging strategy, buying from ebay doesn't net Plextor any profit, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

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