Plextor PX

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2004-05-25 Print this article Print

-712A"> 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.
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.
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.
Product Plextor PX-712A
Web Site
Pros Excellent overall performance; can burn 8x CD+R media at 12x speeds; superb software suite
Cons Expensive
Summary This is the Porsche of DVD recordable drives.
Price $190, check prices

Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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