Plextor PX-716A DVD Recorder


  Review: Plextor PX-716A (IDE)
Reviewer: Dennis
Provided by: Plextor Europe
Firmware: version 1.02/1.03
Manufactured: November 2004 (China)
TLA: #0202

Anyone who's ever used an optical drive before must have heard of the brand name Plextor. This company has been active in the optical storage industry for years and has built up a good reputation throughout these years. Plextor has always been one of the main players in this industry and although they were quite late with releasing their first DVD recorder, their second DVD recorder, the PX-708A, was the world's first recorder to support 8x recording speeds.

Now, several months later, Plextor is one of the last companies to release a 16x and dual-layer (DL) capable DVD recorder. This latest addition to the Plextor family, model PX-716A, was already released a couple of weeks ago in the United States but us Europeans had to wait before we could buy this new drive in the stores. The reason for this can be read here. In short: there were quality problems with the drive and thus Plextor Europe decided to postpone the release of the drive.

Today we can finally buy the Plextor PX-716A and in this review we'll be looking at TLA revision 0202. The TLA number found on Plextor recorders indicates two things. The first two digits indicate the hardware revision (so we're looking at hardware revision two in this review) while the second two digits indicate the installed firmware of the drive, so in this case; firmware 1.02.

Test Machine:

Before we start our tests it's always nice to know what kind of machine we'll be using this drive in. The Plextor PX-716A has been installed in a Shuttle SN95G5 barebone computer (Small Form Factor). Here are the hardware specs:

System set-up:

The Plextor DVD recorder was hooked up as Master to the secondary IDE-controller and identifies itself as "PLEXTOR DVDR PX-716A". DMA (Direct Memory Access) and autorun were enabled for every device. What's interesting to note here is that the Plextor PX-716A uses UDMA mode 4 instead of mode 2 once it's installed.

Drive Specifications:

The Nero InfoTool screenshot reveals us that our drive can read and write most formats out there. The only things missing are DVD-RAM and Mount Rainier write support. From the screenshot we can also see that DVD+R DL is supported and in the future Plextor will release a firmware update that will add 6x DVD+R DL and 6x DVD-R DL support! Let's continue with the specifications of the PX-716A as posted on the Plextor website:

  • Writing:
    • DVD+R: 16x
    • DVD-R: 16x
    • DL DVD+R: 4X
    • CD-R: 48x
  • Rewriting:
    • DVD+RW: 8x
    • DVD-RW: 4x
    • CD-RW: 24x
  • Reading:
    • DVD-ROM: 16x
    • CD-ROM: 48x
  • Buffer Underrun Proof Technology: Stops buffer underrun errors
  • GigaRec Technology
  • Intelligent Recording:
    • 'AutoStrategy' is a self-learning writing technology to optimise the writing quality on any type of media
    • 'Intelligent Tilt' controls the laser in three dimensions, to ensure high quality writing and reading if the disc surface has imperfections
    • 'PoweRec' is a complex piece of writing intelligence ensuring superior recording quality at high speeds on certified media
  • SecureRecording Technology
  • Silent Mode
  • Q-Check
  • VariRec Technology
  • Supports Lossless Linking (DVD+R/RW)
  • Zero Link (DVD-R/RW)
  • Supports Background Formatting
  • Access Time <100 ms for CD; 150 ms for DVD
  • 8MB Buffer
  • E-IDE (ATAPI) interface
  • PC Compatibility:
    • Pentium 4 1.4Ghz or higher
    • 256MB Memory
    • 10GB of free disk space
  • Compatible with:
    • Windows 98 SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP
  • MultiRead Compatible
  • Supports SPDIF (Digital Audio Output)
  • High Quality Digital Audio Extraction
  • A black tray, to reduce the jitter and to increase the quality of the burned CD
  • Two year fast warranty service (EU, Norway and Switzerland: Collect & Return); 1 year in other countries.
  • Compatible formats:
    • CD (Read/Write)
      CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-ROM Mode-1, CD-ROM Mode-2, CD-ROM XA, Photo-CD, Video-CD, Multisession, CD TEXT, CD-I, CD+G, Mixed CD
    • CD-R/RW (Write)
      Track at Once, Disc at Once, Packet Write (variable and fixed), Session at Once
    • DVD (Read/Write)
      DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Multiborder, Multisession, DVD+VR, DVD-VR
    • DVD+R/RW (Write)
      DVD+R: Disc at Once, Multisession, Incremental Recording
      DVD+R DL: Disc at Once
      DVD+RW: Sequential Write, Random Access Write
    • DVD-R/RW (Write)
      DVD-R: Disc at Once, Multiborder recording, Incremental recording
      DVD-RW: Disc at Once, Multiborder recording, Incremental recording, Restricted Overwriting, DRT-DM

That's quite a list! We'll get back to some of the supported features later on in this review.

Inside the Box:

So, what do you get when you buy the European retail version of the PX-716A drive? Let's have a look!

Inside the box we can find the following items:

  • Plextor PX-716A drive
  • Quick installation guide
  • Front bezel replacement guide
  • Extra black bezel
  • Flatcable (80 wire)
  • Mounting screws, emergency eject pin, extra jumper cap
  • Drive application CD-ROM, containing;
    • PlexTools Professional (full version)
    • Ahead
      • Nero Express 6 SE
      • Nero Vision Express (30 days trial)
      • Nero ShowTime (30 days trial)
      • Nero Media Player
      • Nero Recode 2 (30 days trial)
    • CyberLink
      • Power2Go 3.0 (30 days trial)
      • PowerDirector 3.0 (30 days trial)
      • PowerProducer 2.0 Gold (30 days trial)
      • PowerDVD 5.0 (30 days trial)
      • Medi@Show 2.0 (30 days trial)
      • PowerBackup 1.0 (30 days trial)
    • Pinnacle
      • InstantCD/DVD 8.3 LE (limited edition)
      • Studio 9 (30 days trial)
      • Instant Cinema (limited edition)
      • Instant Audio
      • Instant Copy
      • Instant Backup
    • Sonic
      • RecordNow! (30 days trial)
      • MyDVD (30 days trial)
    • Ulead
      • Burn.Now (30 days trial)
      • Video Studio 8 (30 days trial)
      • DVD Movie Factory 3.5 SE (30 days trial)

The first thing that struck me when I received the Plextor PX-716A package was that it was much smaller than previous retail packages. Luckily Plextor hasn't cut back though in the number of items found inside the retail box. As we're used to from Plextor they have put together a good package and even though there is no recordable media inside the box, this is compensated by an extra front black bezel. Good news for people with a black computer case (or people with a white computer case thinking of getting a black case). The Plextor application CD-ROM has a lot of software on it but unfortunately most of them are 30 day trial versions. To me personally, the only software items of interest are Nero Express 6 and PlexTools Professional and these can both be found on the disc as full versions.

Look and Feel:

The Plextor PX-716A is shorter than its brothers, the PX-504A, PX-708A and the PX-712A. This is good news for people with a barebone computer, such as the one we're using in this review, because space is always limited in these kind of machines. Here's an image that shows the PX-716A right next to a PX-708A drive that clearly shows the decrease in length:

The installation of the Plextor PX-716A was very easy to do. Before we installed the drive into our review computer we first removed the white bezel on the drive and replaced it with the black one. The printed manual on replacing the front bezel was very easy to follow and replacing the bezel took less than two minutes.

Black bezel

White bezel

Back of the drive

Sticker on top of drive

There isn't much else to tell about the Plextor PX-716A's looks as it looks the same as the previous Plextor models. Let's continue with taking a look at some of the features that the drive supports.

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