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Plextor PlexWriter PX-708A Review

Highs

  • Fast DVD R write times
  • reliable and constant performance

Rating

Our Score 9
User Score 8

Lows

  • For the typical user the 8X DVD R speed does not warrant an extra $60 over the PX-504A
If you have been waiting to make a DVD writer purchase, now is the time and the PX-708A is what you will want.

Summary

The Plextor PlexWriter PX-708A is currently the fastest DVD+/-RW drive on the market with its 8X DVD+R write performance. We experienced no problems burning content to any of our test media and were able to heavily multi-task while doing so. The included software suite is very robust and complete compared to other DVD writers on the market. It should be a while until we see the next generation of dual format DVD writers hit the market so if you have been waiting to make a DVD writer purchase, now is the time and the PX-708A is what you will want.

Introduction

 

While other manufacturers were quickly producing their own dual format DVD writers, Plextor took their time bringing the PX-708A to market, all in the name of better performance. The PX-708A is capable of writing DVD+R media at a blazing fast 8X and +RW media at 4X speeds making it the fastest consumer based DVD writer currently on the market. The PX-708A is also capable of writing CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW formats. Add to the mix a robust software package, a one year warranty and a reliable burn and good things truly come to those that wait.

Features and Design

 

Plextor is currently selling two internal DVD writers: the PX-504A and the PX-708A. Both drives can read and write DVD+R/RW formats. The the PX-708A is capable of writing both +/- formats and does it at faster speeds, which makes it cost about $45-$50 more than the PX-504A. Here is a comparison of the two drives:






































Formats

PX-504A

PX708A

DVD+R

4X

8X

DVD+RW

2.4X

4X

DVD-R

4X

DVD-RW

2X

CD-R

16X

40X

CD-RW

10X

24X

DVD-ROM

12X

12X

CD-ROM

40X

40X

When compared to the fastest DVD+/- drive available from TDK, Pioneer, Sony and NEC, the PX-708A is capable of faster write speeds on both the DVD+R/RW and CD-R/RW fronts. And while the PX-708A might have been to market later than their competitors, the benefit is all yours. If you look at the software packages of other DVD Writers you will notice that either Nero 5 or Easy CD Creator 5 DVD Edition is what you get for burning software. Plextor was able to package Roxio’s Easy CD and DVD Creator 6 with the PX-708A as well as PhotoSuite 5 SE and Dant’z Retrospect trial version.

Also included in the PX-708A package is an IDE cable and a blank DVD+R media disc. There is no audio cable or +/- RW media with the writer. Apple users will have to skip the PX-708A and opt for Plextor’s PX-708UF external drive which has the same specs as their internal drive but with Apple support. Plextor did the same thing with their PX-504 drives. If you have a black computer case and would like to find a matching DVD writer, the Plextor PX-708A is also available with a black faceplate.

The Plextor PX-708A features Buffer Under Run Proof technology to prevent buffer underrun errors as well as Plextor’s PoweRec writing error reduction control, which is designed for stable recording at maximum speed. The PX-708A features a 2MB memory buffer which is typical for most DVD writers, but we would have liked to have seen a larger memory buffer, especially for Plextor’s top-of-the-line writer. For complete drive specifications please click on the specifications links above and below the review.

Performance

In our transfer rate tests it was clear that the PX-708A had a significant advantage over the TDK 440i and Plextor PX-504A nearly doubling the speed of the other two drives. But when it came to our writing and reading tests, the PX-708A just barely held an edge over the competition.

On the smaller size files the PX-708A was only slightly faster, but on the larger files and directories, the PX-708A showed its true performance difference.

Plextor PX-708A Tests

PX-708A test 2

PX-708A test 3

PX-708A test 4

PX-708A test 5

System Configurations:

 

Windows XP Pro; AMD Athlon 1700+; Abit AT7 Max 2 motherboard; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; PNY GeforceFX 500 video adapter.

Use and Testing

 

Installation of the PX-708A drive is as basic as any other CD-ROM or CD-Writer drive. For best performance we recommend installing the PX-708A on its own IDE cable if available or as the master drive if there is more than one drive sharing the same IDE cable. We also recommend downloading any updates to the included Easy CD Creator software to help improve stability and performance. We noticed that the tray on the PX-708A opens and closes considerably faster than on previous Plextor products, a feature we would like to see more of.

The first thing you will want to do after installing the PX-708A is to head on over to Plextor’s website and download their latest Firmware update. We noticed faster writing times and better media compatibility after upgrading our test drive. In our previous tests we had problems with buffer under run errors on the PX-504A drive, but experienced no ill-fated attempts at writing media with the PX-708A; even while surfing the web.

In our transfer rate tests it was clear that the PX-708A had a significant advantage over the TDK 440i and Plextor PX-504A nearly doubling the speed of the other two drives. But when it came to our writing and reading tests, the PX-708A just barely held an edge over the competition. It seemed liked the PX-708A would write at the 8X speed reaching 99% completed in record times, but then would just hang there for several seconds before completely finishing the process. Hopefully a future firmware update will address this problem. But in any case, the PX-708A still proved to write at record speeds. In Easy CD Creator 6 and Nero CD-DVD Speed we reached the 8X rating of the PX-708A drive. For complete test results please click on the performance tab and link above and below this review.

Conclusion

The Plextor PlexWriter PX-708A is currently the fastest DVD+/-RW drive on the market with its 8X DVD+R write performance. We experienced no problems burning content to any of our test media and were able to heavily multi-task while doing so. The included software suite is very robust and complete compared to other DVD writers on the market. It should be a while until we see the next generation of dual format DVD writers hit the market so if you have been waiting to make a DVD writer purchase, now is the time and the PX-708A is what you will want.

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