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         Plextor PX-708A DVD±RW

Product :

 DVD±RW

Manufacturer :

 Plextor

Reviewed by :

 Wayne Brooker

Price :

 £142.95 + Vat

Date :

 December 17th, 2003.

 

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Introduction:::...

It doesn't seem all that long ago we were getting excited to see CD-R speeds hitting 8x and wondering where it would all end. Now we have more or less reached the limits of CD-R technology with drives peaking at 52x and unlikely to push beyond this any time soon. The good news though is that this doesn't sound the death knell for the optical drive market because following hot on the heels of the CD-RW drive comes the next generation of optical storage, the DVD-RW.

DVD-RW, like their CD-RW brethren, have quickly moved from being an incredibly expensive niche technology to an affordable mainstream solution that not only offers all the benefits and convenience of the CD-RW but also comes with significantly more storage space.

Although the vast majority of DVD-RW drives are currently specified to run at 4x, this summer saw new 8x drives announced from Plextor, Samsung and Toshiba. As we often saw with the developing CD-R market the media is lagging behind somewhat but we hear that regular 4x media from Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi Chemicals and Ricoh can handle 8x recording speeds.

So why is it that we can burn a CD at 52x but we're still only just hitting 8x for a DVD? What we tend not to realise is that 8X DVD±R is roughly equal to burning a regular CD at 72x which for the record would involve spinning your blank CD media at a rather scary 12000 RPM!! So does this mean you can theoretically use your new 8X DVD±R to burn CDs at 72x then? Well unfortunately no. There's more to burning a CD than just spinning it faster otherwise we'd be seeing 72x CD-RWs on the shelves right now, the motors are certainly up to the task, it's the media and the pickups that are letting the side down. And the pickup in your DVD burner has an even bigger disadvantage than the one in your CD-RW because its primary function is to write DVDs which means it must focus its lazer to deal with 0.6mm of substrate. Throw in a CD and suddenly it has to adjust itself to focus through 1.2mm of substrate.

These difficulties with the pickup have tended to peg CD writing speeds at a fairly pedestrian 24x though Plextor's PX-708 drives have already pushed on and hit the 40X mark for CD-R and 24X for CD-RW. Achieving high CD and DVD write speeds within a single drive was a challenging achievement and it's perhaps not surprising to find Plextor once again setting the standards pretty much as they did with their CD-RW drives.

With great quality, impressive warranties, regular firmware updates. a superb website and a reputation that comes only with hard work and great products today's drive already has a strong pedigree, time now see if it's a mongrel!

 

  • Writing DVD+R: 8x
  •           DVD-R: 4x
  •           CD-R: 40x
  • Rewriting DVD+RW: 4x
  •              DVD-RW: 2x
  •              CD-RW: 24x
  • Reading DVD-ROM: 12x
  •            CD-ROM: 40x
  • Buffer Underrun Proof Technology: Stops buffer underrun errors
  • VariRec Technology
  • PoweRec Technology (Plextor Optimised Writing Error Reduction Control)
  • Supports Lossless Linking (DVD+R/RW)
  • Zero Link (DVD-R/RW)
  • Supports Background Formatting
  • Access Time <100 ms for CD; 150 ms for DVD
  • 2MB Buffer
  • E-IDE (ATAPI) interface
  • PC Compatibility:
    • Pentium III 700Mhz or higher
    • 128MB Memory
    • 800MB-1GB 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* full-warranty (parts, labor and replacement) with On-Site Collect & Return** service
  • 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, UDF
    CD-R/RW (Write)
    Track at Once, Disc at Once, Packet Write (variable and fixed), Multisession, Session at Once, CD-MRW (Mt. Rainier)
    DVD (Read/Write)
    DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Multiborder, Multisession, DVD+VR, DVD-VR (Read only)
    DVD+R/RW (Write)
    Sequential Write, Multisession, Random Access Write DVD+MRW (Physical formatting in background)
    DVD-R/RW (Write)
    Disc at Once, Incremental recording, Multiborder recording, Restricted Overwriting
  • Wide CD-R and CD-RW media compatibility
  • Wide range DVD+R/RW media compatibility
  • Includes PlexTools Professional


Specifications

PX-708A

 
CD
DVD
Disc
Usable Formats
Write
ReWrite
Read
Play
Write
ReWrite
Read
Play
-- CD-DA
*
*
*
*
-- CD-ROM
*
*
*
-- CD-ROM + CD-DA
*
*
*
*
-- CD-ROM XA
*
*
*
-- CD-I
*
*
*
-- PHOTO-CD
*
*
*
-- VIDEO-CD
*
*
*
-- CD-Extra
*
*
*
*
-- CD-TEXT
*
*
*
-- MULTISESSION
*
*
*
*
-- DVD-ROM
*
*
*
-- DVD-VIDEO
*
*
*
*
-- CD+G
*
*
*
 
Writing Modes Track at once
Session at once
Disc at once Disc at once
Multisession Multisession (only for DVD+R)
Packet writing Packet writing
Random Access Write
Sequential Write
 
Media list link
VariRec
PoweRec Explanation link
Buffer Underrun Proof Technology  
Lossless Linking  
Zero Linking  

Performance
 
Data Transfer Rate
-- Burst (UDMA/33) 33MB/s
-- Write DVD+R DVD-R CD-R
6X-8X: 8.100-10.800KB/s (ZCLV) 4X: 5.400KB/s (CLV) 40X: 6.000KB/s (PCAV)
4X: 5.400KB/s (CLV) 2X: 2700KB/s (CLV) 32X: 4.800KB/s (PCAV)
2.4X: 3.240KB/s (CLV) 1X: 1350KB/s (CLV) 16X: 2.400KB/s (CLV)
8X: 1.200KB/s (CLV)
4X: 600KB/s (CLV)
-- ReWrite DVD+RW DVD-RW CD-RW
  4X: 5.400KB/s (CLV) 2X: 2.700KB/s (CLV) 24X: 3.600KB/s (CAV)
2.4X: 3.240KB/s (CLV) 1X: 1.350KB/s (CLV) 10X: 1.600KB/s (CAV)
4X: 600KB/s (CLV)
-- Read DVD-ROM   CD-ROM
5X-12X: 6.750-16.200KB/s (CAV) 17X-40X: 2.710-6.000KB/s (CAV)
14X-32X: 2.170-4.800KB/s (CAV)
10X: 1.600-3.600KB/s (CAV)
8X: 1.200KB/s (CLV)
4X: 600KB/s (CLV)
Access Time <100ms (CD) <150ms (DVD)
Data Buffer 2MB
Error Rate Mode1: less than 10-12bits
  Mode2: less than 10-9bits

Front Panel
Eject Auto Eject/Manual Emergency
Disc Loading Tray, Auto load/auto eject
Headphone Jack Stereo mini-jack, 0.7V at 100 Ohms

Rear Panel
Power Supply DC +5V and DC +12V
Audio Connector Rear: Analog output
Rear: Digital SPDIF output

Dimensions & Weight
Dimensions 146 x 41,3 x 190 mm
Weight 1,1 kg

Reliability
MTBF 60.000 POH
Tray Loading Eject 50.000 times
Warranty 2 year *
Service On-Site Collect&Return Service **

*only valid in Europe, Middle-East and Africa.
**(EU-Countries + Norway and Switzerland)
 

 

There are already mumblings about the next step in the evolution of DVD recording which would be dual-layer recording. Dual-layer recordable technology has already been demonstrated but the release has been and continues to be delayed by the inevitable concerns of the movie industry who see it as just another useful piracy tool. No doubt when dual-layer drives make it to the shelves Plextor will be right there heading up the pack but for now the PX-708A is the pinnacle in DVD burning, so let's take a closer look at it.

 

 


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