I got ahold of Plextor Tech support and found out some interesting things. . . at least according to the Tech I talked to.
He says, (and I quote) - "The PX-716AL is not meant to be a high speed drive. It contains different hardware than the PX-716A, and it not actually meant to write at 48x."
I replied "Interesting. Specs say it is capable of 48x writing?"
He responded, "Yes, but why do you need to write at 48x?"
"If the drive says it can write at 48x, I want to be able to write at 48x. If it can't do it, they shouldn't say it can." I replied.
Finally he responed, "The drive is capable, but it just doesn't do it because the drive is built for quality, not speed."
I asked him if I could record and quote the conversation, and he consented, and that's why I've laid it out as above. So until a real firmware comes out that lets the drive burn at its rated speed, it seems that it's "stuck" at 40x. If anyone else has this drive, I'd love to hear your buring experiences. Also, if the 1.00 firmware is still floating around, I'd appreciate a link. This drive shipped with 1.00 but I flashed it up to 1.01 before I started playing around with it.
Thanks for all your input so far, and that which is to come as we get to the bottom of this issue.