Plextor created something of a stir late last year, when they shipped a drive that could burn at 8x speed on certified 4x media. The company returns with the 712A, which can burn at 12x speeds, on certain, certified 8x DVD+R media. The drive is rated at 8x for DVD-R and 4x for DVD-RW/+RW. We tested the ATAPI version of the drive; the company will be shortly shipping a Serial ATA version.
PlexTools itself offers some interesting options. You can use it to set different parameters on the drive, including a "silent mode," which throttles down the drive but enables much quieter operation. You can also use the softwares SecuRec feature to create password-protected discs. Also, the GigaRec feature will let you burn up to 913MB on a standard, 700MB-rated CD. Overall, the Plextor was the speediest drive in the roundup--although it was edged out slightly by Sony and Lite-On in the average seek time test. Still, the Plextor drive acquitted itself exceptionally well. We did have concerns about the Nero DVDSpeed test crashing when burning DVD+R media, but the discs themselves were burned correctly, so its probably a software issue, not a drive or media problem. The drive also includes an impressive 8MB of buffer. As we noted in the performance section, the burn curve itself was different--climbing steadily to a single plateau at maximum speed, rather than having a step-function appearance. All this speed comes at a price; the average street price for the PX-712A is about $190, so youll pay for the performance. Its nearly as expensive as the Sony DRU-700A dual layer drive. But while its not dual layer capable, it is extremely fast. Whether the added performance is worth it is your call. But the PX-712A continues Plextors tradition of building superbly performing, premium quality hardware.
Plextor continues to ship the capable Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator software, plus PhotoSuite 5, the useful PlexTools utility package and a copy of Dantz Retrospect for data backup. The manual included in the box is easily the best installation guide of any of the drives we reviewed here and includes operational details of the PlexTools software.
|Pros||Excellent overall performance; can burn 8x CD+R media at 12x speeds; superb software suite|
|Summary||This is the Porsche of DVD recordable drives.|