Model: Plextor PX-740A 16x DVD±RW
Manufacturer: Plextor
Provided By: Plextor America

When it comes to optical storage, there are few companies as well known as Plextor. For more than a decade, they've produced some of the best drives the industry has seen. Known the world over for their quality, performance and features, these drives have become favorites among consumers and professionals alike. To keep ahead of the competition, Plextor has continued to lead the way, bringing cutting edge technologies to market. Today, their product lineup includes a number of high performance CD and DVD writers, many with features found nowhere else.

Earlier this year, we took a look at Plextor's first 16x DVD±RW, the PX-716A. While the drive shipped later than many expected, it was definitely worth the wait. An impressive performer, the PX-716A offered some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available at the time. What really blew us away though, was its features. Along with old favorites like VariRec and PoweRec, the PX-716A supported a number of more advanced technologies like GigaRec, Q-Check and Autostrategy. Unfortunately, this drive also came with a fairly large price tag that made many think twice, especially if they didn't have a need for some of its advanced features.

Earlier this year Plextor surprised many by announcing another 16x DVD±RW, the PX-740A. Designed with the cost conscious consumer user in mind, the PX-740A offers impressive performance without all of the bells and whistles found on the PX-716A. Based loosely on the BenQ DW1640, the drive is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW and 6x DVD-R DL writing speeds and has a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. On top of that, the PX-740A can write to DVD+R DL media at 8x, the fastest speed currently available.

With store shelves already packed full of DVD writers, Plextor's new drive is up against some stiff competition. To give you an idea of what to expect from the PX-740A we'll take a look at some of its features and then see how it stacks up against some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Can the PX-740A deliver the performance we've come to expect from Plextor? Is it the best bang for your buck? Read on as we find out.


What's in the box?:

  • Plextor PX-740A 16x DVD±RW Drive
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Plextor DVD Writing Software - Revision 13.00
  • IDE Cable
  • Bag of screws and emergency eject tool

Physical Features:

The drive Plextor sent us for this review was manufactured in May of 2005 and had firmware version 1.00. It was also manufactured in China and had a TLA# of "0000".For this review we updated the firmware to version 1.01.

While the PX-740A shares the same basic color scheme as Plextor's previous DVD writers, it looks quite different. This is primarily due to the fact that it's based on the BenQ DW1640 and not one of Plextor's own designs. As you can see, the PX-740A still has plenty of logos. Along with the large "Plextor" logo, you can see a few showing off its support for DVD+R DL, DVD+ReWritable, DVD-R/RW and Ultra Speed CD-RW media.

Below the tray you can see the PX-740A's single LED. Off by default, this LED lights up green whenever the drive is reading or writing.

The rear of the PX-740A looks very similar to some of the other BenQ based DVD writers we've reviewed. By looking at the picture below you can see the drive's IDE interface, power connector and analog audio output connector.

Starting from the left of the IDE connection you'll see the jumper switch for master, slave and cable select. By default it comes set as master. Next to the jumper block is the analog audio connector. The connector on the far left is the digital audio output.

Technical Specs:

Most of the specs below have been taken from Plextor's website and the manual that came with the drive.

   Plextor PX-740A 16x DVD±RW
CD Write Speeds 48x, 40x (CAV)
32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 12x, (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speeds 32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x, 10x, 4x (CLV)
DVD+R Write Speeds 16x (CAV)
12x, 8x (P-CAV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD+RW Write Speeds 8x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R Write Speeds 16x (CAV)
12x, 8x (P-CAV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-RW Write Speeds 6x, 4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD+R DL Write Speeds 8x (P-CAV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R DL Write Speeds 4x (Z-CLV)
2.4x (CLV)
CD Read Speeds 48x Max (CD-ROM/CD-R)
40x Max (CD-RW)
DAE Speeds 48x Max
DVD Read Speeds 16x Max (DVD-ROM Single Layer)
12x Max (DVD-ROM Dual Layer)
16x Max (DVD±R)
12x Max (DVD±RW)
12x Max (DVD±R DL)
Buffer Size 2 MB
Access Times
150 ms (CD)
150 ms (DVD)
CD Formats CD-DA
CD-ROM Mode-1
CD-ROM Mode-2
CD-ROM XA
CD-Extra
Video CD
Photo CD
Multi-session
CD-I
CD+G
CD-Text
CD-R
CD-RW
DVD Formats DVD-ROM
DVD-Video
DVD+R/RW
DVD-R/RW
DVD+R DL
DVD-R DL
DVD+VR
CD Recording Modes Track At Once
Disc At Once
Session At Once
Variable and Fixed Packet Writing
DVD+R Recording Modes Disc At Once
Multi-session
DVD+RW Recording Modes Sequential Write
DVD+R DL Recording Modes Disc At Once
Multi-session
DVD-R Recording Modes Disc At Once
Multi-border Recording
DVD-RW Recording Modes Disc At Once
Multi-border Recording
Restricted Overwriting
DVD-R DL Recording Modes Disc At Once
Multi-session

More Features:

By looking at the picture below, you can see that Plextor's new DVD writer is identified as a "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-740A."

The Nero screenshot also shows that the PX-740A has a maximum CD writing speed of 48x and a 2048KB buffer. This buffer is also backed up by Sanyo's BURN-Proof buffer underrun protection. Technically, this isn't true as the drive uses a chipset from Philips, not Sanyo. According to Nero, the drive can also write CD-Text and overburn. When testing the drive's capacity, it had no problems overburning up to 99 minutes with our CompUSA media.

Like the BenQ DW1640, the PX-740A can do EFM encoding correctly. Using CloneCD version 4.2.0.2 with AWS disabled, Iwas able to reproduce older SafeDisc 2 protected titles like Max Payne along with some of the newer ones protected by SafeDisc 2.51 like Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.

Here is a screen shot from Nero's InfoTool. This program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. InfoTool had no problems detecting the PX-740A's maximum reading and writing speeds, recording modes, buffer underrun protection and 2MB buffer.

InfoTool also shows that the PX-740A is a RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The drive's region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore. A patched RPC-1 firmware can be downloaded here. Just keep in mind that it is not supported by Plextor nor by CDRLabs. Use it at your own risk.

While InfoTool gives us a quick glance at the PX-740A's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities. By looking at the screenshot above you can see that while Plextor's new drive can read and write to both DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media, it does not support the Mt. Rainier format.

The PX-740A also supports a feature called "bitsetting." While the drive automatically sets the book type of DVD+R DL media to "DVD-ROM", you can manually do the same with single layer DVD+R and DVD+RW media using CD Speed. This feature comes in handy if you have an older DVD player that has problems playing recordable media.


For the PX-740A's software bundle, Plextor America has turned to Nero. The CD that comes with the drive contains copies of Nero Express 6, NeroVision Express 3, Nero ShowTime, Nero Recode 2, InCD, BackItUp and PhotoShow Express.

Nero Express 6 - With Nero Express, Nero has taken the features and performance people have come to expect from Nero Burning Rom and combined them with a user friendly interface. While the interface has been simplified, Nero Express still supports more advanced features like VCD and DVD creation, CD/DVD duplication, overburning, CD-Text and realtime audio filters

The version of Nero Express that Plextor included with their new DVD±RW drive is 6.6.0.8. You can download the latest version of the software from Nero's website.

NeroVision Express 3 - NeroVision Express 3 is the latest version of Nero's video authoring application. Using a user friendly interface very similar to that of Nero Express, NeroVision Express makes it easy for users to capture, edit and then burn their favorite videos to VCD, SVCD or DVD or export it to Nero Digital format.

NeroVision Express also lets users add things like transitions, custom backgrounds, animated menus and text effects. You can even use it to turn your photos into custom slide shows.

Nero Recode 2 - This new program from Nero can copy unprotected DVD videos onto recordable DVD media. If the source disc is larger than 4.7GB, Nero Recode 2 has the ability to remove unwanted material and compress the contents so that it will fit onto a single blank DVD disc.

Nero Recode 2 will also let you convert your DVD movies to Nero Digital. Using Nero's own MPEG-4 audio and video encoder, an entire DVD movie can be compressed so that it will fit onto a CD. Better yet, Nero Recode 2 does this without any loss of quality.

Nero BackItUp - If you're looking for a way to quickly and easily backup your data, Nero BackItUp is the answer. This new program from Ahead Software lets you backup your data to CD/DVD, hard disc, image recorderor another computer on your LAN.

Nero ShowTime 2 - Nero ShowTime is Nero's software DVD player. Along with support for DVD's, ShowTime can be used to play back VCD's, SVCD's and miniDVD's as well as any MPEG or AVI files you might have on your hard drive.

Nero Media Player - Nero Media Player features on-the-fly encoding of audio CD's to MP3, HE-AAC, TwinVQ, WMA, and WAV format.The MP3 encoder uses the latest audio codec technology from Fraunhofer.While most of the plugins are unrestricted, the MP3 encoder included with this version of the program is limited to only 30 audio tracks.If you need to encode more you will probably want to upgrade to Nero's NeroMIX.

InCD 4 - InCD is Nero's packet writing software. Like Roxio's Drag-to-Disc or Sonic's DLA, it allows a person to use their CD-RW drive as a big floppy disk. The person can then drag and drop files onto a CD-RW or DVD±RW disc. Many people consider InCD to be one of the best packet writing tools because of its simplicity and performance.

PhotoShow Express - Toshiba's new drive also comes with Nero's all in one photo suite, PhotoShow Express. This software can do a number of things including edit and touch up your photos and organize them into various albums. PhotoShow can even be used to create musical slideshows. These slideshows can then be burned to disc or published to the web.

While aimed at mainstream PC users, Plextor's new DVD writer still delivers a good number of features. Like the BenQ drive it's based on, the PX-740A sports some pretty impressive specs. The drive is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL and 4x DVD-R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. The PX-740A also includes useful features like buffer underrun protection and bitsetting, but lacks the more advanced technologies found in Plextor's other DVD writers. Even then, the Plextor PX-740A scores a solid 9 out of 10 for its features.


Installing Plextor's new DVD writer in our test computer took only a couple of minutes. I took the PX-740A out of the box, left the jumper set to master and installed it on the secondary IDE chain by connecting the IDE cable and power connector. When I turned on the computer the BIOS saw it as a UDMA 33 device and Windows had no problems automatically detecting the drive.The only thing left to do was to go into the Device Manager and make sure DMA was enabled.

Software Installation:

As I mentioned earlier, the PX-740A comes with a CD full of software from Nero. If you have autorun enabled on your computer, the menu shown below will automatically come up when you insert the disc.

As you can see, this menu is pretty straight forward. To install the writing software, you will want to choose the "Nero 6 and Express Suite" option. After that, you will be taken to the Nero installation menu.

By now most of you should be pretty familiar with this menu. From here you can install Nero,NeroVision Express 3, Nero Media Player, Nero PhotoShow Express or InCD 4. You can install each component individually, or everything but InCD and PhotoShow Express in one shot. Once you reboot, you'll be ready to start burning your own discs.

Documentation:

With the PX-740A, Plextor has tried to make the drive as affordable as possible. To do so, they've had to cut costs in a few areas. One example of this is the documentation. Instead of large printed manual, most of the drive's documentation is located on the software CD in electronic format. Similar to the ones included with Plextor's other DVD writers, the manual starts out by getting the user familiarized with their new DVD writer. The first section goes over the drive's capabilities, features and system requirements.

The next section of the manual jumps right into the physical installation of the PX-740A. It starts out by going over how to open up your computer and determine your existing IDE configuration. If you're not sure about how to configure your computer, Plextor has provided a few examples along with the corresponding jumper settings. For more experienced users, there are also a few recommended configurations that will get you up and running quickly. The rest of the installation section walks you through the process of mounting the drive in your computer and hooking up the cables.

The guide finishes up by going over the basic operation of Plextor's new DVD writer. Along with information on how to use and maintain the drive, there is a short list of frequently asked questions. Last but not least, you have a list of specifications and recommended media for the PX-740A.

The PX-740A also comes with a small, fold out "Quick Reference Guide." On one side of the guide Plextor has provided some instructions that walk you through the installation process. While brief, they cover all the basics including how to set the jumpers, hook up the cables and install the drive in your computer. If you flip over the guide, there are instructions on how to install and use some of the bundled software.

Like Plextor's previous DVD writers, the PX-740A was very easy to install. Thanks to the great documentation, most people won't have any problems getting the drive or the software installed and working correctly. My only real beef is that the manual is in electronic format. However, it does help keep the price of the drive down.

Like the other Plextor drives I've reviewed, the PX-740A was very easy to install. I had no problems getting the drive or the software installed and working. If you need help for some reason, the documentation Plextor has provided is quite good, even though it is in electronic format. Overall, I give the installation a solid 9 out of a possible 10.


While CPU, memory, OS and other variables don't often make a huge difference, there are some nonetheless. We have a computer that is used only for testing hardware. We do this so all tests can be compared reliably.

Test System:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz
Motherboard: ASUS K8V SE Deluxe with BIOS 1003
Memory: 2 x 256MB Kingston PC3200
Video Card: XFX NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 - ForceWare v56.72
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar 7K80 80GB SATA 7200RPM
Operating System: Windows XP SP1 - VIA Hyperion 4in1 v4.51

For DVD writers the performance tests are broken down into four sections: CD read, CD write, DVD read and DVD write tests. Each benchmark test has been run three times. The score given is an average of the three. DMA has been enabled in device manager for all IDE devices supporting it.

CD Read Tests: For the read performance section of the CD-ROM benchmarks, CD WinBench 99 v3.0 and CD Speed v4.00 are used to test read speeds, seek times and CPU usage. For DAE testing both CD Speed and CD DAE are used. CD Speed is used to give an overall DAE speed rating and CD DAE is used to give the track by track extraction speeds and to check the extracted tracks for errors the drive may have created.

CD Write Tests: To test the write speeds, Nero Burning Rom is used to write 650MB and 700MB to our test media. Times are recorded. To test rewrite scores, Nero is used again to time how long it takes to write 400MB of random files and directories. Then Sonic's DLA is used to test packet writing speeds. The same files are copied and pasted in Windows Explorer and timed.

DVD Read Tests: For the read performance section of the DVD benchmarks CD Speed v4.00 is used to test read speeds, seek times, and CPU usage.

DVD Write Tests: To test the DVD write speeds, Nero Burning Rom is used to write 4GB to our test media. Times are recorded. Then Sonic's DLA is used to test packet writing speeds. The same files are copied and pasted in Windows Explorer and timed.

CD Winbench 99 Scores:

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
CD Winbench 99 1398 KB/sec 1798 KB/sec 2125 KB/sec 2065 KB/sec
Transfer Rate: Inside 2940 KB/sec 3215 KB/sec 2773 KB/sec 3140 KB/sec
Transfer Rate: Outside 6520 KB/sec 6373 KB/sec 6520 KB/sec 6360 KB/sec
Random Access Time 121ms 116ms 114ms 96ms
CPU Utilization 0.26% 0.24% 0.25% 0.31%

The CD Winbench test is as close as we can get to testing every day usage. It fires off eight different applications using scripts. This tries to mimic the activities of a person loading these programs onto their own computer.

Plextor's new DVD writerdid pretty well in the CD Winbench portion of our tests. While the PX-740A's overall score wasn't as high as some of the other drives, it had some very good transfer rates. The drive started reading at 19.6x (2940 / 150) and reached a maximum speed of about 43.5x (6520 / 150) on the outside.

CD Speed v4.00 - Pressed CD:

For this test I used a pressed CD containing one Mode 1 data track. The disc is 74:38 in size and is full of data and directories.




   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

36.37x
20.65x
48.14x

35.60x
20.56x
47.07x

36.37x
20.74x
48.10x

35.46x
20.50x
46.90x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

109ms
125ms
179ms

125ms
137ms
213ms

125ms
141ms
216ms

102ms
120ms
172ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

1%
2%
3%
6%

0%
1%
3%
6%

1%
2%
4%
7%

0%
1%
2%
3%

The PX-740A performed even better in our CD Speed tests. Plextor's new DVD writer flew past the drives from the competition, reaching a maximum transfer speed of 48.14x. While not as low as the PX-716A's, the PX-740A's seek times were also quite good.

CD Speed v4.00 - CD-R Media:

For this test I made a copy of our pressed test CD. I used 12x rated Memorex Gold 74 minute media for the tests.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

37.17x
20.89x
49.30x

36.29x
20.73x
48.06x

37.16x
21.32x
49.26x

36.24x
20.73x
48.03x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

107ms
119ms
173ms

142ms
157ms
237ms

130ms
161ms
238ms

105ms
130ms
191ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

1%
1%
3%
6%

0%
1%
3%
6%

1%
2%
4%
7%

0%
1%
2%
4%

The PX-740A was a little faster when reading CD-R media. Thanks to this small speed boost, the drive was able to reach a maximum transfer speed of more than 49x. On top of that, its seek times were again quite good.

Plextor's new DVD writer had no problems recognizing our 99 minute CompUSA media. The drive read our test disc from start to finish, reaching a maximum transfer speed of 52.88x! This is pretty good for a drive rated at only 48x.

CD Speed v4.00 - CD-RW Media:

For this test I made a copy of a pressed test CD. I used some PNY 80 minute CD-RW media for the tests.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

30.72x
17.57x
40.56x

30.79x
17.92x
40.12x

23.78x
13.87x
31.41x

31.53x
18.32x
41.64x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

106ms
116ms
171ms

128ms
138ms
217ms

134ms
165ms
243ms

101ms
118ms
174ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

1%
2%
3%
6%

0%
1%
3%
5%

1%
3%
4%
8%

0%
1%
2%
4%

Like the ND-3540A and PX-716A, the PX-740A's CD-RW read speeds are limited to only 40x. As you can see, the drive had no problems reaching this speed in our tests.

CD DAE and CD Speed v4.00 - Pressed CD:

For this test I used Pure Funk. The CD is almost exactly 74 minutes. This helps to squeeze the maximum performance out of the CD.

Exact Audio Copy can tell us a lot about a drive's capabilities. You can see from the screen shot that while the Plextor PX-740A supports accurate stream and has the ability to cache audio data, it does not have the ability to retrieve C2 error information.



CD Speed Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Average:
Start:
End:
DAE Quality:
Accurate Stream:
36.74x
20.89x
48.54x
10
Yes
30.92x
17.99x
40.11x
10
Yes
36.75x
21.32x
48.58x
10
Yes
31.45x
18.20x
41.55x
10
Yes

Like Plextor's previous DVD writers, the PX-740A performed very well in our DAE tests. The drive flew past the PX-716A, reaching a maximum DAE speed of 48x. .

To get a better look at the quality of the extracted audio we use CD DAE. CD DAE is actually designed to be an audio ripping program. It converts the CD-DA on the CD to .wav files. We use it in our testing because it can also be used as a quick and easy way to test the quality. Where CD Speed tests the DAE as one large session, CD DAE extracts each CD track individually. It actually extracts each track twice and then compares them to check for any errors. Every error a drive creates could be a hiss or pop you would hear later in the audio tracks.

CD DAE Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Average:
Min:
Max:
34.7x
22.0x
47.0x
29.3x
18.7x
39.6x
33.8x
22.1x
47.4x
29.6x
18.6x
40.2x
Errors 0 0 0 0

Plextor's new DVD writer was a little slower when extracting our test disc track by track with CD DAE. The drive started out at an impressive 22xbut came up a little short of 48x in the end.

CD DAE and CD Speed v4.00 - CD-R Media:

For this test I used a copy of the Pure Funk CD. It's burned onto the same Memorex Gold 74 minute media I used in the CD Speed tests.

CD Speed Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Average:
Start:
End:
DAE Quality:
Accurate Stream:
36.40x
20.90x
47.98x
10
Yes
30.66x
17.93x
40.12x
10
Yes
36.39x
21.17x
47.98x
10
Yes
31.50x
18.32x
41.64x
10
Yes

The PX-740A was a little slower when ripping audio CD-R discs. While the drive still performed well, it wasn't able to reach 48x this time around. So how did it do in CD Speed's advanced DAE tests? Take a look below.

Plextor's new DVD writer completed CD Speed's advanced DAE tests with an average score of 34.62x. The drive had no problems passing all of the on-the-fly tests and did not create any errors. In the advanced tests, the PX-740A was able to read the CD-Text, subchannel data and lead in section of the CD, but for whatever reason was not able to read the lead out.

CD DAE Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Average:
Min:
Max:
33.7x
22.0x
46.5x
29.1x
18.6x
39.5x
33.8x
22.1x
46.9x
29.9x
19.1x
40.8x
Errors 0 0 0 0

To see how well Plextor's DVD writer can read scratched and dirty discs, I used CD Speed's ScanDisc utility to see how many sectors were damaged or unreadable. This is a very rough, but good way to test the drive's error correcting abilities.


CD Speed - ScanDisc

Like the BenQ drive its based on, the PX-740A cannot retrieve error information. Without this ability, the drive is unable to determine whether a sector is damaged or unreadable. This causes all of the sectors to show up as being "bad" in ScanDisc.

You can also get an idea of how well the drive can read scratched and dirty discs by using CD DAE. CD DAE will extract the audio tracks twice and then compare them. From this information we can see what the drive's average speed was and how many errors it generated.

CD DAE Avg. Speed Errors % of Disc

Plextor PX-740A

5.7x 6098120 0.79%

Sony DRU-800A

1.5x 2113435 0.27%

Plextor PX-716A

23.2x 57330566 7.31%

Plextor's new DVD writer gave some mixed results in this test. While the number of errors was very low, the scratches on the disc caused it to slow down considerably.


CD Write and ReWrite Tests - Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.12 and DLA 4.95:

For this test I randomly generated 650MB and 700MB of files and directories to test the time it takes the drive to write and close a CD. All of the files are between 1MB and 25MB in size and no more than 10 directories deep. All of the times below include not only the actual writing time, but the lead in and out times too. This gives a more realistic idea of how long it takes to write a CD.

 

Like the other drives, the PX-740A has a maximum CD writing speed of 48x. To reach this speed, it uses CAV, or Constant Angular Velocity. With Fuji's 48x media, the drive started writing at about 21.24x and reached a maximum speed of 47.86x at the end of the session. This gave Plextor's new DVD±RW an average writing speed of about 36.24x.

To test the drive's writing times, I wrote our test data to some Taiyo Yuden manufactured Fuji media rated at 48x. The results are below.

Size in MB Size in Time Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
651MB 74:02:55 2:54 2:51 2:38 2:38
701MB 79:44:21 3:01 2:59 2:46 2:44

Plextor's new DVD writer did fairly well in our tests. While no match for the DRU-800A and PX-716A, the PX-740A took less than 3 minutes to write an entire 650MB CD.

To test the drive's writing quality I used Lite-On IT's KProbe2. Written by Karr Wang, this utility can be used to test the number of C1 and C2 errors on a disc. For these tests I used a Lite-On LTR-52246S (firmware 6S0F) and read the discs at 32x.


Fuji 48x (Taiyo Yuden)


Memorex 52x (CMC)


Verbatim 52x

The PX-740A's writing quality is very good. By looking at the KProbe screenshots, you can see that the discs burned by the drive had a low number of C1 errors and there were no C2 errors at all.

For the rewriting tests I created 400MB of files on the hard drive and wrote them in DAO mode using Nero. To test the packet writing speeds I copied and pasted the same files off the hard drive onto a CD-RW disc using DLA from Sonic. Verbatim's 24x Ultra Speed CD-RW media was used for these tests.

ThePX-740A is one of the first DVD writers to feature 32x rewriting speeds. To reach this speed, the drive uses P-CAV, or Partial CAV. By looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the drive starts rewriting at about 21.32x and accelerates, reaching its maximum speed at about the 22 minute mark.

Software Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Nero 2:09 2:05 2:54 2:21
DLA Write 1:53 2:05 2:39 2:25
DLA Read 1:17 1:15 3:12 2:24

Plextor's new DVD writer did very well in our rewriting tests.While not as fast as the drive from NEC when rewriting with Nero, the PX-740A turned in some very good times when packet writing with DLA.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Quick Erase 35 seconds 33 seconds 47 seconds 42 seconds
Full Erase 3:44 3:22 4:17 3:52

The PX-740A also erases at 32x. While it didn't have the fastest quick erase time out of the four drives here, it was able to do a full erase in 3:44.


Nero CD Speed v4.00 - DVD-ROM:

A little editorial note here. Like a CD-ROM, you will get different benchmark results depending on what kind of discs you are using. You are probably going to get varying results from a full data disc to a single layer movie disc. You're also going to get different results for single and dual layer discs.

The DVD Speed website recommends using a single layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of at least 4GB. If you use a dual layer disc you probably won't get the best results because most DVD-ROM drives slow down to read them. Some even slow down to read single layer DVD-Video discs. To make a long story short, I am using a 4.37GB single layer, single sided disc for this test.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

12.04x
6.57x
16.10x

11.94x
6.55x
15.97x

12.13x
6.54x
16.23x

12.07x
6.63x
16.14x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

101ms
109ms
171ms

122ms
136ms
221ms

113ms
128ms
203ms

101ms
111ms
187ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
12%
24%
47%

8%
15%
28%
51%

6%
10%
20%
94%

4%
8%
16%
31%

The PX-740A performed very well when reading single layer DVD-ROM's. In the transfer rate tests, it started reading at 6.57x and reached a maximum transfer speed of about 16.10x.Like in our CD read tests, the drive's seek times were also quite good.

Nero CD Speed v4.00 - DVD-R and DVD-RW:

First, we'll look at the drive's DVD-R and DVD-RW reading performance. For this I made copies of our DVD-ROM test disc using some general use 4x DVD-R and 2x DVD-RW media from Verbatim and then ran our usual DVD read tests with CD Speed. The results are below.


Verbatim DVD-R

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

12.07x
6.59x
16.16x

12.00x
6.61x
16.04x

6.07x
3.38x
8.13x

9.04x
4.99x
12.09x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

107ms
122ms
180ms

122ms
148ms
244ms

130ms
154ms
240ms

101ms
112ms
178ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
13%
24%
53%

9%
16%
32%
69%

10%
11%
17%
95%

4%
8%
15%
30%


Verbatim DVD-RW

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

9.35x
5.11x
12.51x

9.84x
5.41x
13.16x

6.09x
3.38x
8.14x

9.06x
4.98x
12.12x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

106ms
121ms
174ms

121ms
151ms
254ms

126ms
146ms
212ms

101ms
114ms
197ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
13%
24%
49%

8%
15%
28%
51%

10%
11%
17%
95%

5%
8%
15%
30%

The PX-740A performed very well when reading DVD-R and DVD-RW media. In our tests, the drive read DVD-RW discs at 12x and DVD-R media at an impressive 16x.


Verbatim DVD-R DL

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

9.05x
5.01x
12.07x

5.46x
3.03x
7.25x

4.27x
2.39x
5.72x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

111ms
123ms
173ms

174ms
191ms
275ms

113ms
125ms
201ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:

6%
12%
24%

7%
12%
n/a

5%
9%
n/a

The PX-740A had no problems reading Verbatim's 4x DVD-R DL media. In our tests it started reading at 5.01x and reached a maximum transfer speed of 12.07x.

Nero CD Speed v4.00 - DVD+R and DVD+RW:

Next we'll look at the drive's DVD+R and DVD+RW reading performance. For this I made a copy of our DVD-ROM test disc using some 4x DVD+R and 2.4x DVD+RW media from Verbatim. I then ran our usual DVD read tests with CD Speed. The results are below.


Verbatim DVD+R

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

12.06x
6.59x
16.14x

11.96x
6.58x
16.00x

6.19x
3.43x
8.28x

9.04x
4.98x
12.09x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

105ms
120ms
176ms

131ms
156ms
255ms

110ms
130ms
201ms

101ms
110ms
194ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
12%
24%
48%

11%
16%
30%
68%

8%
9%
17%
n/a

5%
8%
15%
30%


Verbatim DVD+RW

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

9.35x
5.12x
12.50x

9.83x
5.41x
13.14x

6.20x
3.45x
8.29x

9.06x
4.99x
12.11x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

105ms
121ms
176ms

121ms
146ms
254ms

132ms
169ms
221ms

100ms
108ms
193ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
12%
24%
47%

15%
27%
55%
97%

8%
10%
18%
n/a

5%
8%
16%
30%

The PX-740A's performance with DVD+R and DVD+RW media was very similar to what we saw with DVD-R and DVD-RW media. The drive read DVD+R discs at 16x and DVD+RW media at 12x.


Verbatim DVD+R DL

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

9.05x
5.01x
12.08x

5.46x
3.03x
7.29x

4.29x
2.39x
5.73x

6.06x
3.35x
8.09x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

111ms
121ms
177ms

126ms
165ms
277ms

111ms
123ms
198ms

101ms
111ms
188ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:

7%
13%
26%

7%
12%
n/a

4%
9%
n/a

4%
7%
n/a

Reading Verbatim's double layer DVD+R media wasn't an issue for the PX-740A either. With a maximum speed of 12.08x, the drive had no problems taking the top spot in CD Speed's transfer rate tests.

Nero CD Speed v4.00 - DVD-Video:

For these tests I am using the US version of Transformers: The Movie on DVD. The disc is over 4GB and single sided.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
Transfer Speed
Average:
Start:
End:

11.92x
6.50x
15.95x

5.91x
3.26x
7.91x

12.01x
6.65x
16.07x

12.07x
6.63x
16.14x
Seek Times
Random:
1/3:
Full:

101ms
110ms
171ms

117ms
129ms
214ms

108ms
123ms
198ms

103ms
111ms
179ms
CPU Usage
1x:
2x:
4x:
8x:

6%
12%
24%
47%

7%
13%
24%
87%

5%
10%
20%
95%

4%
8%
16%
31%

The PX-740A didn't slow down very much when reading single layer DVD videos. It started out at about 6.50x and reached a maximum read speed of 15.95x. Plextor's new drive was also fairly quick when reading dual layer discs. By looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the drive's transfer speeds peaked at about 8x.

To see how well the PX-740A worked as a DVD player, I watched a few scenes from Transformers: The Movie and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace using WinDVD 4 and PowerDVD 5. The drive had no problems playing back these movies with either program and was fairly quiet.


DVD Write and ReWrite Tests - Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.12 and DLA 4.95:

To test the DVD writing performance of Plextor's new drive I used Verbatim 16x DVD+R, 16x DVD-R, 6x DVD-RW and 4x DVD+RW media. To get the writing times, a 4.38GB image was burned to our test discs using Nero.


Verbatim 16x DVD+R


Verbatim 16x DVD-R

When writing to DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16x, the PX-740A uses CAV. By looking at the screenshots above, you can see that Plextor's new drive starts writing at about 5.6x and accelerates, reaching its maximum speed as it reaches the end of the disc.


Verbatim 8x DVD+RW


Verbatim 6x DVD-RW

The PX-740A also features 8x DVD+RW and 6x DVD-RW writing speeds. While the drive uses CLV when writing to DVD-RW media, it uses Z-CLV to reach its maximum DVD+RW writing speed.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
DVD+R 5:57 6:05 6:08 5:59
DVD-R 6:27 5:57 6:21 6:01
DVD+RW 7:43 7:19 7:46 7:35
DVD-RW 10:19 10:56 10:17 14:46

The PX-740A performed pretty well here. While not as fast as some of the other drives when writing to DVD-R discs at 16x, it turned in some very good times with DVD+R and DVD-RW media.

While Plextor has a list of recommended media on their website, I wanted to see for myself how well the PX-740A worked with some of the DVD+R and DVD-R media currently available.

   Manufacturer ID Max
Write Speed
Average
Write Time
Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD+R YUDEN000T02 8x 8:12
Fuji 16x DVD+R PHILIPS C16 16x 5:57
Memorex 16x DVD+R RICOHJPN R03 16x 5:52
Optodisc 16x DVD+R OPTODISCR16 16x 6:09
RiDATA 16x DVD+R RITEKR04 16x 5:54
Verbatim 16x DVD+R MCC-004 16x 5:57
Maxell 8x DVD-R MXL RG03 8x 8:41
Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD-R TYG02 8x 8:42
Memorex 16x DVD-R CMC MAG.AM3 16x 6:24
Optodisc 16x DVD-R OPTODISCR016 8x 8:39
RiDATA 16x DVD-R RITEKF1 16x 6:17
Verbatim 16x DVD-R MCC 03RG20 16x 6:27

So what about writing quality? Testing a drive's DVD writing quality isn't easy. Until now, there were very few options, unless you wanted to shell out thousands of dollars for a certified test machine. Thanks to KProbe, we can test a disc's PI (Parity Inner) and PIF (Parity Inner Fail) rates.For these tests I used a Lite-On SOHW-1673S (firmware JS07) and read the discs at 4x with the PI and PIF ECC sums set to 8 and 1 respectively. For comparison, I also tested the discs on a BenQ DW1620. When combined with Nero CD Speed, the DW1620 is able to report PI Errors, PI Failures, Parity Outer Failures and even jitter levels. For this test, the discs are read at 8x with both the PI and PIF ECC sums set to 8.

So what are "good" results supposed to look like? With KProbe, the PI errors should not exceed 280 and the number of PIF errors should stay below 4. When testing with CD Speed, the number of PI errors should stay below 280 as well. However, because it scans with an ECC sum of 8, a higher number of PIF errors is acceptable, as long as they do not exceed 32. Since POF errors are uncorrectable, we really don't want to see any of them at all.

I also put these discs through a "stress test" by reading them back with a Lite-On XJ-HD166S. By default, this DVD-ROM drive reads recordable media at only 8x. However, thanks to a firmware patched by The Dangerous Brothers, I was able to boost the drive's read speed to 12x. By reading these discs back at this speed, we can see if there are any readability issues caused by the number of errors or high levels of jitter.


Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD+R @ 8x
(
YUDEN000T02)

Max Ave Total
PI 8 0.77 12878
PIF 2 0.01 244
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Fuji 16x DVD+R @ 16x
(PHILIPSC16
)

Max Ave Total
PI 19 2.99 50095
PIF 4 0.13 2253
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Memorex 16x DVD+R @ 16x
(RICOHJPN R03
)

Max Ave Total
PI 18 1.93 32008
PIF 4 0.09 1488
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Optodisc 16x DVD+R @ 16x
(
OPTODISCR16)

Max Ave Total
PI 18 4.80 79694
PIF 7 0.08 1385
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


RiDATA 16x DVD+R @ 16x
(RITEKR04
)

Max Ave Total
PI 15 3.33 55878
PIF 5 0.04 735
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Verbatim 16x DVD+R @ 16x
(
MCC-004)

Max Ave Total
PI 15 0.95 15838
PIF 5 0.09 1577
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate

The PX-740A's writing quality was pretty good with most of the DVD+R media we tested. In most cases, the PI/PIF rates stayed within acceptable limits. The only exception being Optodisc's 16x DVD+R media. When scanned with the BenQ DW1620, the PI/PIF rates were fairly high near the end and there were a considerable number of PO Failures.


Maxell 8x DVD-R @ 8x
(
MXL RG03)

Max Ave Total
PI 21 1.69 27972
PIF 3 0.06 1041
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Taiyo Yuden 8x DVD-R @ 8x
(TYG02)

Max Ave Total
PI 15 2.67 44702
PIF 2 0.00 54
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Memorex 16x DVD-R @ 16x
(CMC MAG.AM3)

Max Ave Total
PI 164 31.29 525283
PIF 2 0.06 1027
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Optodisc 16x DVD-R @ 8x
(
OPTODISCR016)

Max Ave Total
PI 78 16.71 277297
PIF 2 0.03 492
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Ritek 16x DVD-R @ 16x
(RITEKF1)

Max Ave Total
PI 26 2.71 45473
PIF 8 0.15 2459
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate


Verbatim 16x DVD-R @ 16x
(
MCC 03RG20)

Max Ave Total
PI 53 3.90 65295
PIF 6 0.01 91
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate

Lastly, here are some results from our DVD-R test media. The PI/PIF rates were pretty good for the most part. However, if you look at the transfer rate graphs you can see that there were still slow downs with a few of the discs.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
DVD+RW Quick 14 seconds 28 seconds 18 seconds 32 seconds
DVD+RW Full 7:41 7:20 7:51 7:46
DVD-RW Quick 32 seconds 53 seconds 1:05 1:03
DVD-RW Full 10:16 14:39 10:37 15:09

To test the PX-740A's packet writing performance I used DLA 4.95. Verbatim 4x DVD+RW and 6x DVD-RW media were used once again.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
DVD+RW Write 6:42 6:27 6:58 6:33
DVD+RW Read 6:01 5:50 9:04 5:47
DVD-RW Write 8:42 9:02 8:32 12:44
DVD-RW Read 6:12 14:52 9:22 6:05

Plextor's new DVD±RW performed pretty well in our packet writing tests. While not as fast as some of the other drives when writing our test data to disc, the PX-740A took about 6 minutes to read back all 4GB of files and directories.

Double Layer DVD Write Tests - Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.12:

To test the double layer DVD writing performance of the PX-740A, I used Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL, Verbatim 2.4x DVD+R DL, Memorex 2.4x DVD+R DL and Verbatim 4x DVD-R DL media. I created about 8GB of random files and directories on my hard drive and then burned them to our test discs with Nero.

According to Plextor, the PX-740A writes to DVD+R DL media at 8x. Using CD Speed, we can see that the drive uses P-CAV to reach this speed. It starts rewriting at about 6x and accelerates, reaching its maximum speed at about the 0.5GB mark. It writes at this speed until it reaches the 7.5GB mark. At this point, the PX-740A slows back down to about 6x.

Plextor's new drive had no problems writing to Verbatim's 8x and 2.4x DVD+R DL media at 8x. Unfortunately, Memorex's Ritek manufactured discs would not work at anything faster than 2.4x.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
DVD+R DL Write 15:06 18:19 26:23 18:17

The PX-740A had no problems taking the top spot in this test. Thanks to its 8x DVD+R DL writing speed, the drive took a little more than 15 minutes to write 8001MB of data. If you do the math, this is a good three minutes faster than both the ND-3540A and PX-716A. So what about writing quality? Take a look below.


Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL @ 8x
(MKM 003)

Max Ave Total
PI 17 1.69 50565
PIF 3 0.05 1488
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate - Lite-On SOHW-1633S
Transfer Rate - Plextor PX-740A


Verbatim 2.4x DVD+R DL @ 8x
(MKM 001)

Max Ave Total
PI 21 4.31 129148
PIF 5 0.18 5349
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate - Lite-On SOHW-1633S
Transfer Rate - Plextor PX-740A


Memorex 2.4x DVD+R DL @ 2.4x
(RITEK D01)

Max Ave Total
PI 138 23.93 716811
PIF 5 0.32 9586
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate - Lite-On SOHW-1633S
Transfer Rate - Plextor PX-740A

The writing quality was quite good with Verbatim's 8x and 2.4x DVD+R DL media. Even at 8x, their 2.4x rated discs yielded some pretty good results with both KProbe and CD Speed. The results with Memorex's Ritek manufactured media were also better than I expected. While higher than what we saw with the Verbatim media, the PI/PIF rates remained for the most part within acceptable limits.

The PX-740A also features 4x DVD-R DL writing speeds. To test the drive's writing times, Verbatim's new 4x DVD-R DL media was used.

Plextor's new drive had no problems writing to Verbatim's DVD-R DL media at 4x. Using CD Speed we can see that aside from the small dips caused by the drive's OPC technology, the PX-740A writes at this speed from start to finish.

   Plextor
PX-740A
NEC
ND-3540A
Sony
DRU-800A
Plextor
PX-716A
DVD-R DL Write 29:28 20:34 27:27 19:01

With its 4x writing speed, the PX-740A was no match for the ND-3540A and PX-716A. As you can see, it took the drive 29:28 to write 8001MB of data. So what about writing quality? Take a look below.


Verbatim 4x DVD-R DL @ 4x
(
MKM 01RD30)

Max Ave Total
PI 77 4.52 137962
PIF 5 0.17 5330
BenQ DW1620 - CD Speed
Transfer Rate - Lite-On SOHW-1633S
Transfer Rate - Plextor PX-740A

The PX-740A's writing quality was pretty good with Verbatim's 4x DVD-R DL media. Aside from a few small spikes, the PI/PIF rates stayed within acceptable limits when tested with both KProbe and CD Speed.

Performance Revisited:

For the most part, the PX-740A performed as expected. While not as fast as some of the other drives when writing to DVD-R DL discs, it turned in very good times with DVD±R, DVD±RW and DVD+R DL media. The PX-740A was also very fast when reading DVD's. In our tests, the drive was able to read single layer DVD-ROM's and DVD±R discs at 16x and other types of recordable media at an impressive 12x.

The PX-740A also did very well in our CD reading and writing tests. The drive had no problems reading all types of media at its rated speeds and had some very good seek times. Writing CD's wasn't a problem for the PX-740A either. The drive turned in some impressive times and its writing quality was quite good. With all things considered, the Plextor PX-740A gets a 9 out of 10 for the performance section of this review.


Without a doubt, Plextor produces some of the best DVD writers around. Offering impressive performance and innovative features, their drives have repeatedly raised the bar for the rest of the industry. Unfortunately, they also come with a hefty price tag, putting them out of the reach of many consumers. For these people, Plextor has introduced the PX-740A. Based on the BenQ DW1640, the PX-740A delivers the performance people have come to expect, but at a more affordable price.

The PX-740A didn't disappoint when it came to writing DVD's. Thanks to its 16x DVD+R and DVD-R writing speeds, it took the drive about 6 minutes to burn an entire 4.7GB DVD. This level of performance carried over to our rewriting tests where Plextor's new drive turned in some very goodtimes with both DVD+RW and DVD-RW media. Writing to DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media wasn't a problem for the PX-740A either. While the drive's 4x DVD-R DL writing speed put it at a disadvantage in some of our tests, it made up for it by burning an entire DVD+R DL disc in a little more than 15 minutes.

When it came to media compatibility, the PX-740A gave us some mixed results. The drive wrote tomost of our test media at its rated speed, but would not write to any 8x DVD±R media at 16x. This is becoming less important as more 16x media becomes available. However, it's still a nice feature to have. The PX-740A's writing quality was also pretty good for the most part. With most of our test media, the PI/PIF rates stayed well within acceptable limits, even when writing to Verbatim's 2.4x DVD+R DL media at 8x.

The PX-740A also did very well in our DVD read tests. The drive was able to read single layer data and video DVD-ROM's at speeds as high as 16x and had some pretty good seek times. The PX-740A also reached some pretty impressive speeds when reading recordable media. In our tests, it read DVD±R discs at 16x and both DVD±RW and DVD±R DL media at 12x.

Like Plextor's other DVD writers, the PX-740A is more than capable when it comes to reading and writing CD's. In our tests, the drive had no problems reading pressed and CD-R media at 48x and CD-RW discs at 40x. On top of that, it was able to rip audio CD's at an impressive 48x. Thanks to its 48x CD-R and 32x CD-RW writing speeds, the PX-740A also did very well in our writingand rewriting tests. The drive not only turned in some impressive times, its writing quality was pretty good.

The biggest difference between the PX-740A and Plextor's previous DVD writers is the number of features. While the drive supports things like buffer underrun protection and bitsetting, it lacks many of Plextor's more advanced technologies like Q-Check, GigaRec and Autostrategy. To keep costs down, the PX-740A doesn't come with a lot of extras either. The manual is on the CD and instead of Roxio's Easy Media Creator, the drive comes bundled with the Nero 6 suite.

For most people, it usually comes down to price. While the PX-740A is more affordable than Plextor's other DVD writers, it's still not exactly cheap. With prices on Pricegrabber hovering around $90, it's still one of the more expensive 16x DVD±RW drives currently available. At this price, you could pick a drive like the BenQ DW1640 and still have money left over for a few spindles of your favorite media. As usual, I'll leave the decision up to you.

Plextor PX-740A
16x DVD±RW
Features:
Installation:
Performance:
9
9
9
Overall: 9

Highs:

  • Writes to DVD±R media at 16x
  • Writes to DVD+RW media at 8x
  • Writes to DVD-RW at 6x
  • Writes to DVD+R DL media at 8x
  • Writes to DVD-R DL media at 4x
  • Reads single layer DVD-ROM's at 16x
  • Reads DVD±R media at 16x
  • Reads DVD±RW and DVD±R DL media at 12x
  • Features 48x CD-R and 32x CD-RW writing speeds
  • Very good transfer speeds with all types of CD media
  • Excellent DAE speeds
  • Good CD writing quality
  • Includes buffer underrun prevention technology
  • Supports 99 minute media
  • Good selection of writing and rewriting speeds
  • Includes software from Nero
  • Supports bitsetting for DVD+R/RW and DVD+R DL media
  • Good documentation

Lows:

  • Cannot write to 8x DVD±R media at 16x
  • Cannot do write quality testing
  • Has a 2048KB buffer
  • Still expensive