I just got my Plextor PX-716SA on Monday. I bought it from Newegg.com--it is TLA #0203, made in China in January 2005. I immediately flashed the drive to the 1.04 firmware (not 1.04u) using the firmware updater I downloaded from www.plextor.com. I have installed Plextools Professional 2.19A--I haven't had the chance to download 2.20 yet. Some people who frequent this forum may remember that I purchased the Plextor 48/24/48A drive two years ago and had lots of trouble with it. I only went back to Plextor this time for three main reasons:
1) Because of my need for a SATA optical drive--I have only one IDE channel on my new Dell XPS Gen 3 and 4 onboard SATA ports. How can you use 3 external drive bays with *one* onboard IDE controller? Answer: get a SATA optical drive or an offboard IDE controller that supports ATAPI. Since offboard IDE controllers waste PCI slots, the SATA option was much better.
2) Plextor drives have the cool Plextools Pro software, which is really nice and can do so much. Now I can use Plextools software to do quality testing instead of Kprobe.
3) I want faster double layer and DVD- write capability.
With that said, here is what I have found. I think my problem may be with media. I have two other optical drives in my PC--an LG GRA-4120B 12X DVD+RW drive (Dell OEM GSA-4120B with DVD- capability removed) and a retail Liteon 52327S. I bought a ten pack of Fuji DVD+R 8X made in Japan TY made from Best Buy for my LG drive. I burned one of those Fuji 8X discs with the LG drive @ the 12X speed and write quality was perfect (according to Kprobe). Then I got my Plextor drive. The Plextor drive *cannot* write to this media above 8X. Well, that doesn't sound surprising--it is 8X media! I made one Fuji coaster (burned at 12X) and one good Fuji disc (burned at 8X)--I've only burned two of these discs with the Plextor drive. The good Fuji 8X burn had this quality:
PlexTools Professional V2.19a Q-Check PI/PO Test
Copyright (C) 1999-2004 Plextor SA/NV
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
PIE POE POF
Avg 0.12 - -
Max 9 - -
Total 17202 - 0
All Fuji discs I have tested so far using AutoStrategy Media Quality Check in Plextools Pro indicate that nothing more than 8X can be used. The Q-Check FE/TE Test indicates the same thing with the Fuji discs--except that it tells me that I cannot write to the media at full speed (16X)--no surprise, since I cannot write it at 12X! Next issue, is this drive's performance with Verbatim 16X DVD+R media that is made in Taiwan (MCC 004 code). The Verbatim 16X DVD+R disc that came with the drive was an instant 16X coaster (burned at 16X)! I didn't run the AutoStrategy Media Quality Check or FE/TE Test prior to burning this disc--the Q-Check PI/PO test indicates that the disc quality becomes awful after the 3 Gig mark--400+ PIE errors and some POF errors, but quality at the beginning of disc is fine. It become obvious that I needed more Verbatim 16X DVD+R media to determine if the drive is good or bad. So I visited Best Buy again and bought a 25-pack spindle of the Verbatim 16X DVD+R media--this Best Buy had only the Made in Taiwan Verbatim 16X DVD+R media, so that is what I got. The results were interesting. I tested every disk in the spindle with the AutoStrategy Media Quality Check and found that 50% (13 discs) were *not* "judged as good" at 16X. One of the poor quality discs had to be lowered to 6X before AutoStrategy Media Quality Check would say "media judged as good." So I have proven with this test what has been said many times in these forums: even media within the same spindle can vary in quality! Is the Taiwanese Verbatim 16X +R media this inconsistent in quality, or is my drive ***extremely*** picky? I suspect the latter--I can't imagine that the drive *should* be that picky! I will return this spindle to Best Buy tonight and try another spindle. I tried the drive with the Verbatim 24X CD-RW discs that gave me such a headache with the 48/24/48A and caused 3 of those drives to be RMA'd. The drive consistently re-writed to those discs, but the quality is beyond awful. Again, Taiwanese Verbatim media. I happen to know that this same media now gives similar results in my Liteon 52327S. My LG DVD burner is the only drive I have that can re-write to the Verbatim 24X discs with good quality--and even the LG burner sometimes needs to re-write the disc a few times before good quality can be achieved. So it is obvious that the 24X CD-RW discs I have are crap. Anyone notice a pattern here? Poor quality Taiwanese Verbatim media! Could this (inconsistent/poor quality media) be the cause of my bad experience with the Verbatim 16X DVD+R media, or is the Verbatim 16X media consistently good and therefore my drive is crap? I will post the results of my second spindle of this 16X DVD+R media ASAP. Thanks in advance for all the replies.