Well, I bought three of them at my local BestBuy for $139 ea. less $30 rebate.
Since the Plextor site said delivery was delayed to Nov 8., I was a bit surprised to be alerted on Nov. 2 Anandtech Forum that they have been avail already for a week. As it turns out, according to link that follows, Plextor delivered drives they apparently knew were not functioning perfectly to US vendors only - due to an obligation to deliver by a cetain date.
I automatically assumed that since the Plextor 712a was the reference drive of most sites (even tho it doesnt do DL), that the 716a would even be better. Needless to say, I am pissed, since the drives faults are not correctable by FW updates. I guess I will have to ship all three back to Plextor for replacement.
In the meantime, I have updated the FW to 1.01 on the drive I started to use. I have been burning Fuji DVD+R (Japan) 8X @ 8X since I am scared to burn at 12X or higher - with any media.
Also noticed in Nero 184.108.40.206 that booktype is auto set to DVD-ROM when burning. Since this is a new vers. I havent had a chance to play around with options yet. I assume I will be able to alter booktype.