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In House Review - Plextor PX-716A 16x DVD±RW

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In House Review - Plextor PX-716A 16x DVD±RW

Postby Ian on Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:09 pm

CDRLabs finishes up the week with an in depth look at Plextor's new double layer DVD burner, the PX-716A. This highly anticipated drive features some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available. The PX-716A is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW and 4x DVD-RW writing speeds and has a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. More importantly, it's one of the first drives to offer 6x DVD+R DL and 2x DVD-R DL writing speeds. Of course, Plextor hasn't stopped there. The PX-716A also boasts features like an 8MB buffer, 48x CD reading and writing speeds and support for new technologies like AutoStrategy and Intelligent Tilt.

In this review we'll take a look at the features found on the PX-716A and see how it compares to some of the DVD±RW drives from the competition. Can the PX-716A deliver the performance and features that we've come to expect from Plextor? You'll have to read the review to find out.

[url=http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index.php?reviewid=254]
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Plextor PX-716A 16x DVD±RW[/url]

I must admit, the new 1.04 firmware really changed my opinion of the PX-716A. If you remember back, my early impressions were not exactly positive. Anyway, if you have any comments or questions about this review or the Plextor PX-716A, please post them in the forum using the link provided below.
Last edited by Ian on Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Justin42 on Fri Feb 04, 2005 4:20 pm

Hrm, interesting.. I just ordered a Plextor Premium, because I've wanted a newer Plextor for CD-R and DAE use but have been avoiding their DVD drives as they haven't been quite right.

Wonder if I should be thinking of returning it and getting a 716 instead.... :/ Anyone have experience with both? I'm not so much worried about benchmarks/speed, but in real world tests, is the 716A as good of a CD ripper as a Plex Premium? For scratched or copy protected discs? (for personal use.. I have a player that doesn't like some forms of copy protection so I rip and re-burn.. gotta love it, I make a copy so my LEGAL CD purchase can be played on a CD player.) Is burn quality about the same?

BTW, on the Performance page, on the DAE tests, you refer to it as an LG- 4160 (just a cut-and-paste sort of error) :), then as a PX-712SA under the C1/C2 errors.
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Postby Scour on Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:12 pm

Hello!

Great review again, Ian :)

It´s the first Plextor DVD-writer with only 9 of 10 points, but the conclusion is still better than all other writers.

Seems that Plextor improved the drive with the FW, great support from Plextor.

What I said here in the forum earlier, Plextor will beat the other drives, because their FW-support is the best :)

And the drive will getting better, I guess, while other manufacturers bring every 2-3 month new models in Beta-stage instead of FW-updates for the "older"-drives
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Postby dodecahedron on Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:19 am

Scour wrote:It´s the first Plextor DVD-writer with only 9 of 10 points, but the conclusion is still better than all other writers.

nope....the Plextor PX-504A !
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Postby RJW on Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:46 am

ok. review however I do have a comment and I hope that it is taken into account for future reviews. Since the difference between cdrlabs and cdfreaks is while cdrlabs reviews are the better ones when it comes to media testing. CDfreaks do seem to take comments more seriously and have become supperior on most other posts. At least that's my Opinion (ANd Ian please don't be as chilidish to censor this one once again because I say something is better as your stuff. It's my opinion and I think I am allowed to have that opinion on this board even while your moderating it and may not like it !!)

So here's my comment about the review:

Why o why if you got a drive that can do more as PI/PO testing when it comes to media testing are these features not used. Yeah I would like to know the assymetry values of a disc. Also Benq scans with jitter would be more then welcome for the final judgement.
Still it's nice that now the values of the burning quality are put under the pages. (A table would be even more nice. Yeah I'm lazy and want as much info as possible. )
What could have been a excellent review turned up to as a good review and plextor got away once again with there decent but probally not worth 9 points drive.

Ohwell let's hope the next review does try to fix these issues.
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Postby dodecahedron on Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:42 am

when has Ian ever censored your comments ???
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Postby Gabe on Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:54 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Scour wrote:It´s the first Plextor DVD-writer with only 9 of 10 points, but the conclusion is still better than all other writers.

nope....the Plextor PX-504A !


Maybe he mean the first real Plextor. The 504 was only a rebadged NEC 1100
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Postby Ian on Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:29 am

RJW wrote:Why o why if you got a drive that can do more as PI/PO testing when it comes to media testing are these features not used. Yeah I would like to know the assymetry values of a disc. Also Benq scans with jitter would be more then welcome for the final judgement.
Still it's nice that now the values of the burning quality are put under the pages. (A table would be even more nice. Yeah I'm lazy and want as much info as possible. )


Two reasons: time and consistency. When you review as many drives as I do, you have to make choices as to what you're going to include in your testing. The guys at CD Freaks might what, review one drive a month and spend that entire time testing it? I don't have that luxury.

Also you have the consistency factor. I'd like people to go from one review to the other and see similar results.. not PI tests using CD Speed in one, KProbe in another, etc. However, if others would find BenQ scans useful, I might add those to future testing.

As far as taking criticism.. there's criticism and then there is rudeness. This here is constructive criticism. You have valid points. I took your other comment (if its the one I'm thinking about) as being kinda rude. But hey, that might be a language barrier thing. My only answer to all critics is to try reviewing yourself. It's not as easy as some might think. :wink:
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Postby RJW on Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:46 am

Glad you took it good this time and about time I know it's a critical factor and what you say that time is limitating is a true factor.
Also I know that the language barier sometimes make my posts a bit more rude as I mean.

Well cdfreaks have a bigger testing team so they have some more luxuary when it comes to time then again they do have the problem that quality thanks to the different reviewers is more inconsistant.

While your not delivering the best reviews out there the quality however is allways good and for most people it has the complete information.
I allways appreciate the work and time you spend in this site.
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Postby oslik3 on Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:52 am

RJW wrote:
While your not delivering the best reviews out there.........


I think this one last post as a whole was hilarious ! :D :o
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Postby Ian on Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:11 pm

Yes, RJW is brutally honest. But hey, everyone has their opinion. Personally, I'd like to see him try his hand at reviewing. I think he'd be good at it. :-k
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Postby Scour on Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:32 pm

Gabe wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:
Scour wrote:It´s the first Plextor DVD-writer with only 9 of 10 points, but the conclusion is still better than all other writers.

nope....the Plextor PX-504A !


Maybe he mean the first real Plextor. The 504 was only a rebadged NEC 1100


Yes, I only talked about the real Plextor´s.

@Ian:

The 716 supports Bitsetting, I know. But can it set the DVD-Rom-flag (I think it´s not the same? When I used a DVD+R with Bitsetting to DVD-Rom all my PC-drives "see" that it´s not a DVD-Rom and don´t read it at the same speed like a real DVD-Rom. Can this be?
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Postby ClayBuster on Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:41 pm

Ian I think you're being paid off :D . Cause this drive sucks ass. it deserves maybe a 5 out of 10. It does burn the media at rated speed fine I guess but if I try to over speed anything forget it, It wouldn't even do the 16x verbatim that it came with at 16x WTF is up with that?

What really pissed me off was my 712sa beat the 716sa at 12x in both speed a write quality.



Edited Cause I forgot a smiley :o
Last edited by ClayBuster on Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gen-An on Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:02 pm

ClayBuster wrote:Ian I think you're being paid off. Cause this drive sucks ass. it deserves maybe a 5 out of 10. It does burn the media at rated speed fine I guess but if I try to over speed anything forget it, It wouldn't even do the 16x verbatim that it came with at 16x WTF is up with that?

What really pissed me off was my 712sa beat the 716sa at 12x in both speed a write quality.


The drive will lower the speed if it detects that errors are getting too high. Would you rather it have burned at 16x and produced a coaster? Also, perhaps the drive Ian got for review just works better than the one you got. I've had five different PX-712As and they did not all perform the same even on the same batch of media. Overall though, performance of the PX-716A with firmware 1.04 is very good.
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Postby Ian on Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:05 pm

Scour wrote:The 716 supports Bitsetting, I know. But can it set the DVD-Rom-flag (I think it´s not the same? When I used a DVD+R with Bitsetting to DVD-Rom all my PC-drives "see" that it´s not a DVD-Rom and don´t read it at the same speed like a real DVD-Rom. Can this be?


No, I don't think it does. Even with book type enabled, it read back DVD+R DL discs it had burned at only 8x.. when it read other double layer DVD's at 12x. In theory, if the DVD-ROM flag was set, it should read them at 12x, right?

ClayBuster, I can't speak for your results, but the PX-716A did better than a lot of other 16x DVD writers I've tested. What made the biggest difference was the 1.04 firmware. If I had used earlier firmware for the DVD writing tests, the drive probably would have gotten a 7 or 8 for performance.

Paid off? Gimme a friggin break. Plextor doesn't even let us keep their damn drives.
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Postby MonsterMan on Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:51 pm

Hmm..., well this review has me rethinking the BenQ 1620 vs. PX-716.
You mention that their are two revs of this drive...any way to tell them apart in the store?

Also a suggestion for future reviews: the "Performance" page has gotten huge since the advent of DVD drives. How about breaking it up? Maybe a CD/DVD read page, CD writing, DVD+R writing, and DVD-R writing?

That would really, really help those on 56K; even on DSL it takes too long to load - especially when I just want to see one section (for me, DVD writers are for one thing only: writing. Reading discs is the job of my DVD-ROM drive).
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Postby RJW on Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:26 pm

Off topic
oslik3 wrote:RJW wrote:
While your not delivering the best reviews out there.........


I think this one last post as a whole was hilarious ! :D :o


I think this one is a bit lost in translation. What i ment THE best.
And with the best I mean the best singles source.
So there's only one.
At this time I would say C't is better. I say at this time !!
It just could be that Ian and the staff could turn it in the next review.


Also this will be my final comment about this one since I think running this discussion longer. Isn't for the better.

So let's get this post back to topic.
However if people still want to argue about me about stuff or my opinion use p.m and don't spoll this topic. I know I spoiled it partially so just let me try to end it here.

On topic.
Ian wrote:No, I don't think it does. Even with book type enabled, it read back DVD+R DL discs it had burned at only 8x.. when it read other double layer DVD's at 12x. In theory, if the DVD-ROM flag was set, it should read them at 12x, right?

It might be that it still detects some parts of the MID which makes it choose for the lower speed. I will forward this one to some people who should know this.

claybuster wrote:Ian I think you're being paid off. Cause this drive sucks ass. it deserves maybe a 5 out of 10. It does burn the media at rated speed fine I guess but if I try to over speed anything forget it, It wouldn't even do the 16x verbatim that it came with at 16x WTF is up with that?

What really pissed me off was my 712sa beat the 716sa at 12x in both speed a write quality.


If you would check some other sources then you would see that 1.04 firmware did some massive improvements like Ian said and that it with 1.02 firmware might have had some speed issues but that the performance allready wasn't that bad compared to the competition.
Still a lot of people bashed it because of the speeds and the premium price they paid for it. Would you look it that a writer that is twice as expensive
as the competition didn't seem to justify it's price.

About the 9.
Also a review isn't just numbers in the end there is also something like a conclusion and I think that one was excellent.
I have seen people haveing problems with scores from other media befor however most times people just look at the score.
How can people justify a score if they didn't read the article or at least the conclusion, so they know what the person was thinking when he wrote it and what he was looking at. Based on cdrlabs score system and knoweing how Ian rates drives you should say that his 9 is a fair score. And you also know that cdrlabs reviews are allways fair !

About verbatim. Verbatim quality of 16x media has quite some fluctuations this incombination with plextor being very picky (the drive will lower the speed as soon as it thinks things are going wrong.) can justify the non 16x burn. Would you prefered a 16x coaster like some of the competition would give you. Yeah plextor technology still might make a not so good disc out of it but at least the drive seriosly tried and most times it succeeds actually.
Last edited by RJW on Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby RJW on Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:32 pm

Benq 1620
+ Better firmware support
+ Can meassure jitter
+ twice as cheap.
+ For the moment a bit better single layer burner(because it supports more media !)

Plextor
+ Can meassure assymetry (beta)
+ autostrategy
+ faster dual layer (at least at this time since I don't know what's Benq next move.)
+ For the moment a bit better dual layer burner.
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Postby Ian on Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:54 pm

MonsterMan wrote:Also a suggestion for future reviews: the "Performance" page has gotten huge since the advent of DVD drives. How about breaking it up? Maybe a CD/DVD read page, CD writing, DVD+R writing, and DVD-R writing?


I agree. The system in place has been used for years and we are working on revamping it. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be done in the process though. I'd also like to get rid of the scoring system. :evil:

Going back to Verbatim media.. The PX-716A had no problems with their 16x +R media. No slow downs, etc. Unfortunately, their new 16x -R media didn't work as well. Early samples or something? Maybe.

RJW.. PM and let me know what sorts of things you'd like to see in our next review. I can't promise all will be done, but I'll see what I can do.
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Postby Scour on Sat Feb 05, 2005 5:27 pm

RJW wrote:Benq 1620
+ Better firmware support
+ Can meassure jitter
+ twice as cheap.
+ For the moment a bit better single layer burner(because it supports more media !)

Plextor
+ Can meassure assymetry (beta)
+ autostrategy
+ faster dual layer (at least at this time since I don't know what's Benq next move.)
+ For the moment a bit better dual layer burner.


Benq has a better FW-support than Plextor? Not really. Benq make more FW´s than Plextor, like Liteon does. I don´t think taht more FW-updates are better than less updates, but Plextor proove with every update better performance/quality
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Postby BuddhaTB on Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:19 pm

Ian, really nice review and just backs up why I bought the PX-716A in the first place for Christmas.


BTW, I did see some spelling mistakes on the feature page.
1.) On the feature chart, you have the cache buffer listed as 2MB instead of 8MB.
2.) On that same page, you meant to type PX-712A but typed PX-716A instead.
Like the PX-716A, the PX-716A can do EFM encoding correctly. Using CloneCD version 4.2.0.2 with AWS disabled, I was able to reproduce older SafeDisc 2 protected titles like Max Payne along with some protected by SafeDisc 2.51 like Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:18 pm

Scour wrote:
RJW wrote:Benq 1620
+ Better firmware support
+ Can meassure jitter
+ twice as cheap.
+ For the moment a bit better single layer burner(because it supports more media !)

Plextor
+ Can meassure assymetry (beta)
+ autostrategy
+ faster dual layer (at least at this time since I don't know what's Benq next move.)
+ For the moment a bit better dual layer burner.


Benq has a better FW-support than Plextor? Not really. Benq make more FW´s than Plextor, like Liteon does. I don´t think taht more FW-updates are better than less updates, but Plextor proove with every update better performance/quality


BenQ doesn't just put out more firmwares, they spend a LOT more time tweaking a greater amount of media. In fact BenQ probably works twice as hard as Plextor on their firmware support, going off of some of what I know about how they do things.

Yes, it's true BenQ makes mistakes on their firmwares sometimes... but last I checked, when I e-mail Plextor asking for a disc to be better supported in the next firmware upgrade, I don't get an e-mail within a week with a new firmware with the requested support (Yes, BenQ *DID* do this for me once).
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Postby Ian on Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:56 pm

Thanks BuddhaTB. They're fixed now.
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Postby Scour on Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:01 pm

Hello!

@dolphinius_rex

I don´t say that Benq isn´t bad :)

Seems to be that Benq is one of the best manufacturer for DVD-writers now. But I wonder why Benq brings out new FW sometimes in regular temporal times. Plextor brings new FW when they make some improvements.

BTW, can you tell me why Benq make so extremly ugly drives? When I see a Philips Reatil-drive with the same technic like Benq, I don´t understand it.

Maybe I buy a Philips and try to flash to Benq?
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Postby M17 on Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:23 pm

On the Conclusion page for this drive.
Second paragraph. Third sentence.
Last 'are' should be 'and'.

I might be wrong.

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