While once the top dog in the optical storage industry, Plextor is now a shadow of its former self. It's parent company, Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., has scaled back its operations and partnered with companies like LG and Pioneer to provide its drive designs.

In early 2007, we reported that Plextor had turned to Lite-On to fill at least some of their orders. These Lite-On manufactured drives never materialized and reports of their existance eventually ceased. Thanks to an unnamed source, we've learned that Plextor's first Lite-On manufactured DVD writer is finally on the way.

Based on the Lite-On DH-20A6S (iHAS120), the Plextor PX-806SA features an SATA interface and is capable of 20x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R and 12x DVD-RAM writing speeds. By itself, this isn't very exciting. However, Plextor is trying to recapture some of the enthusiast market by offering a new utility that will allow users to tap into the drive's more advanced features. Like PlexTools, this utility will perform various write quality tests and can measure things like FE/TE and jitter rates. Most likely, it will also control Lite-On's SmartWrite and SmartErase functions, which are already very similar to Plextor's own AUTOSTRATEGY and PlexEraser technologies.

No word yet on pricing or availability. However, our sources indicate that the PX-806SA is ready to go into mass production and will be shipping very soon. We'll keep you posted as we find out more.