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How trustworthy are the PlexTools scans?

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How trustworthy are the PlexTools scans?

Postby Justin42 on Sat Feb 19, 2005 3:49 pm

Hi all,

I just got a Plextor 716UF. Part of it is because of the Plextools quality scans (I don't have a drive that supports the scans), part of it is to get the Plextor DAE, and part is I just wanted a fairly decent DVD burner.

Well, I've been playing around with Plextools and scanning some old discs just to get a feel for what's going on and I'm seeing weird results.

Older discs that I've burned with my Sony DRU500a (the scourge of the earth, according to some) have been looking VERY good. There tends to be a bit high PIE error rate (~100ish) at the very beginning, but then settles down pretty low (<40) for the rest of the scan. No POF, PIF. Beta and Jitter both look excellent, and the TA tests are either "Very Good" or "Excellent" depending on the disc. Transfer rate tests look good, as well.

Strangely, the Plextor takes FOREVER to recognize a disc burned in the 500a -- like 30 to 40 seconds after putting a disc in I can finally access it in Windows. It takes under 15 seconds for Pioneer or LG discs.

In a few tests with discs from a Pioneer A07, the TA tests are coming back "bad" or "very bad", although PI/PO looks much better than the 500a (usually <30 PI). Jitter starts out pretty high.

Discs from an LG4163 look quite good, and get "Good" from TA tests, good PI/PO results, but jitter is high (~10%) at the start of the disc although it settles down the farther into the burn it gets. Again transfer rates are good.

Now, common wisdom (in my understanding) is the DRU500a is a dog of a writer, the Pioneer A07 should be stellar, and the LG 4163 is somewhere in the middle. But my 500A is showing to be the best writer, and the Pioneer A07 the worst (!).

This is ALL with good media-- TYG01/TYG02/MXLRG02 (whatever the Maxell 4X DVD-R code is, I don't remember off the top of my head)

How should I interpret these results? Obviously, I haven't scanned EVERY DISC but there seems to be an early pattern showing up here. Would posts of some scans help? (Which ones?) I think I am reading the charts correctly although this is fairly new to me.

(EDIT: I may have had the beta and jitter lines backwards in my head. Does it matter where on the scale Beta is as long as it's a mostly straight line? It looks like mine start out around +.10 on the PlexTools scale and drop towards 0. And Jitter you want as low as possible? Is there a guide for where jitter is "too high"? I am scanning an A07 disc right now and jitter starts at a 'peak' of -.25 and is steadily marching down to -.35/-.4)

Is my Plextor bad? Is my Pioneer bad? Can I RMA to Pioneer based on what PlexTools is telling me? (I do notice sometimes the burns don't play as well as I'd like from the Pioneer, so maybe it is defective).

Thanks for any tips about reading this stuff!

[edit again: Is there any way to directly post the scans, or do I need to host the images off-site?]
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Postby Justin42 on Sun Feb 20, 2005 2:28 am

I'm starting to think this drive is bad. I've tried 2 burns, one on good media (TYG01), one on iffy-er RITEKR03. Both have had HUGE POE spikes (in many places across the disc, not just one or 2 spikes on totally different areas), which I know shouldn't mean much but it seems weird NONE of the other drives show this many errors when tested on the Plextor than Plextor-burned discs.

Here's a TYG01 burned at 4x (rated speed):
PIE POE POF
Avg 0.55 0.98 -
Max 20 323 -
Total 75291 132585 0

Seems ridiculous it's burning with more POE's than PIEs. So there's either something wrong with it as a reader, or a writer, or both. I'll try to pick up a new one and see what happens.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Sun Feb 20, 2005 3:29 am

I don't think that POE errors mean anything personally... and until I find some info that shows they report something worth looking at, I won't bother with them. They seem FAR too misleading.

The Plextor only reports what it sees for PIE and PIF and POE errors (or any other kind). So it doesn't surprise me at all to hear that a disc with high errors showing at the beginning (according to the Plextor) has problems being recognized in the drive.

Welcome to the fun of media testing! The more drives you get that can do testing, the more conflicting data you will receive, and the more questions you'll have! :wink:
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R

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Postby Justin42 on Sun Feb 20, 2005 3:40 am

Thanks for the comments. While you may be right and POE errors aren't a huge deal, it seems weird that the Plextor is burning discs with massive POE spikes (both in relative height and amount of places). Doesn't seem like it's a GOOD thing, especially when none of the other drives are burning discs that get scanned like that.

You're probably right that the more I test the crazier I'll go. I'm starting to understand why a simple read test tells you just as much (or more) -- if everything else conflicts, can the stupid shiny disc be read? ;)

I love how the Plex will show me these horrible PIE/POE scans on discs it burned, but you run the TA tests and it comes back as 'excellent'. sigh.

I still think I'll return it and try another drive.... This one seems really picky. Maybe if it has the same issues I'll take it up with Plextor and see what they say..

I understand what you mean about it having trouble due to the fact it reads errors on the beginning of the Sony discs, but they are in the VERY low 100s (like, 120MAX) which should be "fine", shouldn't it? (or are we in the world of "should" not meaning "reality is"? :) )

Sheesh, this all started as I just *assumed* that *any* drive would be better than the Sony DRU500a. I'm starting to think that sucker's the best drive I own! ;) (I really never had any problems with it, no drives had issues reading from it or anything, I just was thinking it could be retired to another machine due to its age and I *assumed* given the 500a's reputation that it probably wasn't the best writer..)
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New drive much better..

Postby Justin42 on Mon Feb 21, 2005 3:26 am

Well, this is interesting... I took my drive back to Best Buy and got a new one (with a shiny new rebate to make it even cheaper!). This drive seems much better so far. It still takes forever to recognize DRU500a media, but the burns are MUCH better. I haven't had time to test a lot of media, but I just burned a TYG01 and had ZERO POE's and very, very low PIE's (max spike of 12).

Much better: (TYG01 @ 4x):
Avg Max Total
PIE 0.28 12 29058
POE 0.00 0 0
POF - - 0

Strangely, this drive was packaged much differently. Both drives had their boxes properly stickered shut, but the original drive had a USB cable that was rubber-banded (instead of twist-tied), the AC adapter was packaged together with the cord (the wall cord was in a different part of the original's box than the AC adapter itself).

Seems like somehow, that other drive was opened and resealed. Everything LOOKED perfect but it definitely was packaged entirely different (and much less professionally).

I'm still testing (Been gone most of the day) but so far so good on the new one. :)
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:10 am

What's the TLA# on your new drive?
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R

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Postby Justin42 on Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:23 pm

They were both TLA 0203, immediately upgraded to firmware 1.04. I made sure to find the most recent. Their serial numbers were only a few hundred apart (although my new one didn't come with the coupon for $25 in free DVDs from DiscMakers :(.. didn't notice no sticker on the front til much later). Oh well, I'd rather have a good drive and a $30 rebate than a bad drive and a bunch of iffy media from a place I'd never heard of! :)

So theoretically there shouldn't have been any difference. Although it seems like with the 716s there are definitely good drives and bad drives out there.

Plextor tech support emailed me back about the Sony recognition issue (middle of the night on a Sunday??) and they said they've seen the same thing and semi-blamed the Sony. (it was more of a "Yeah, you're right... hell if we know" sort of answer)
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:34 pm

Well, it looks like there are just quality fluctuations between Plextor units... just like every other drive.

I wonder what Plextor support would say about the POE errors on your burns (old drive having lot's, the new drive none at all) ??
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R

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