DVD burners are becoming more common in computers today. As a result companies like Plextor have to come up with ways to set themselves apart from the rest. With the ability to write to both DVD + and DVD – formats, plus dual layer capabilities, the Plextor PX-740A has all the right stuff. Add to that fast writing speeds and you have the makings of a great DVD burner.
- Double layer allows you to record up to 4 hours of high-quality MPEG-2/DVD video on a 8.5 GB disc
- 16X DVD±R
- 8X DVD+RW 4X DVD-RW
- 16X DVD-ROM
- 48X/32X/48X CD-Write/CD-ReWrite/CD-Read
- Supports CD-TEXT and CD+G reading
- Buffer Underrun Proof Technology prevents buffer underrun errors
- Buffer Memory – 2MB
- Achieves 16x write performance with recommended 8x DVD±R media
- Support DVD+RW background format
- Support DVD±VR format for direct disc recording
- Horizontal or vertical mounting orientation
- One-year full warranty (parts and labor)
- Unlimited toll-free tech support
|Data Transfer Rate||CAV, PCAV, and ZCAV write / CAV read|
|Sustained Read/Write Speeds DVD||16X (read/write)||22.16 MB/sec|
|12X (read/write)||16.62 MB/sec|
|8X (read/write)||11.08 MB/sec|
|6X (read/write)||8.31 MB/sec|
|4X (read/write)||5.54 MB/sec|
|2.4X (write only)||3.32 MB/sec|
|Sustained Read/Write Speeds CD||48X (read/write)||7.2 MB/sec|
|40X (read/write)||6.0 MB/sec|
|32X (read/write)||4.8 MB/sec|
|24X (read/write)||3.6 MB/sec|
|16X (read/write)||2.4 MB/sec|
|12X (read/write)||1.8 MB/sec|
|10X (read/write)||1.5 MB/sec|
|4X (write only)||600 KB/sec|
|Burst Read/Write||16.6 MB/sec (PIO Mode-4/DMA Mode-2); 33 MB/sec (Ultra DMA Mode-2)|
|Typical CD/DVD Random Access||<150 ms|
|Error Rate||CD-ROM Mode 1: 1 block/10^12 bitsCD-ROM Mode 2: 1 block/10^9 bitsDVD-ROM: 1 block/10^12 bits|
The Plextor PX-708A comes with several pieces of software, including Nero 6 software suite for burning video, music, photos, and data to DVD or CD. The Plextor bundle includes Nero Express 6 for CD & DVD recording; NeroVision Express 3 for DVD video editing and authoring; Nero PhotoShow Express for photo management and editing; InCD 4.2 for drag & drop packet writing; Nero Showtime for video playback; and Nero Toolkit for drive test and speed control.
The program you will probably use the most is Nero Express 6. This program has all the functionality that you would expect from a CD/DVD burning package. This gives you the ability to burn Data, Music or DVD disks. You also have the ability to copy a whole disk from one CD/DVD to another or just save an image of a disk. Making DVD movies is probably the most exciting ability with this software. It will help you make menus, chapters and choose the encoding that is right for you so your video will fit on your disk with the best quality possible.
NeroVision Express 3 is a multi purpose movie making program. With this program you can burn movies you have on your hard drive already, make video CDs, record directly to VR, make a movie, make a slide show or capture video to your hard drive. The most useful of these is the making movies part. This gives you all the capabilities of a program like movie maker. Here you can import video from a file or capture it from a video camera or other source. Then edit it to your specifications. There are even transitions and video and text effects that you can add. When you are done you can burn your movie right from this program without having to open any other software.
Nero PhotoShow Express is a great program for managing your pictures and making them into projects like calendars and slideshows. With this program you can perform simple edits to photos like removing red eye and cropping. You can also add fun clip art to your photos. There is a lot more functionality but most of it is blocked and before you can use it you must upgrade to the full version of the software.
InCD 4.2 allows you to drag and drop files onto a rewritable disk. Rewritable disks are great because they can be written and erased may times just like floppy disks and memory cards. These disks are very useful for storing files until you have a full disk and burn them to a standard DVD or CD. These can also be useful for storing temporary files or file swapping between friends.
Nero Showtime is a simple to use DVD player. It functions just like all the other software DVD players on the market so there is nothing special to mention about it.
Nero Toolkit is useful for those that are interested in testing the quality of their disks or checking out the specs on their drive. You can only burn test disks with this group of programs. This is useful for testing the speed of your drive to see just how fast it can go.
I actually ended up using two machines to test this DVD burner. The first system that I used was my standard test system. The system has an AMD 1700+ processor on an Asus A7V-266e motherboard. I also have a 100GB hard disk and 768MB of RAM. Because of problems we will talk about later I ended up switching the burner over to another more power system. This new system is a Dell XPS GEN 5 and has a 3.20GHz Pentium Extreme Edition Dual Core processor, 500 GB of hard disk and 1 GB of Ram. The media that I am using all comes from Verbatim with the following model numbers, DVD-R #95093, DVD-RW #94836, DVD-R DL #95164, DVD+R #94916, DVD+RW #94520, DVD+R DL #94912.
When I installed this drive for the first time, I put it in my computer and it worked like a charm. When Windows booted up, it found the new hardware and installed the drivers. I was very pleased with the ease of installing the drive.
The first thing I did after I installed the drive, and before I started the tests was download and install the latest firmware upgrade on the Plextor web site. This upgrade ensures that I get the best possible tests and that the drive is compatible with the biggest variety of media.
To begin the tests I first wanted to see just how fast the drive really was. I started with a DVD+R disk because it had on of the highest speed ratings. Since a lot of you will be using the drive to backup your movies I wanted to go through the process myself. I downloaded and installed some freeware movie backup software; I picked the biggest movie in my collection which happens to be Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This movie took up 7.93 GB. I made two versions of the movie. The first one was full size for testing with the Dual Layer disks and the other was cut in half for testing with the regular DVD disks. If you read my last review of the Plextor PX-708A then you will remember that this is where I created several coasters because the Verbatim DVD+R disks and the Plextor PX-708A did not work well together. So as I started the burn process I had some reservations. The burn process took about 42 minutes and 15 seconds. I thought this was awful slow but the software reported that it was burning at a full 16x. Since everything finished fine I tested the disk with Nero CD-DVD Speed. Everything checked out just fine. I was still concerned about the speed since I remembered that it only took 6 minutes to burn during the before mentioned review. So I checked the requirements for the DVD Burner. Apparently my test system just squeaked by the minimum requirements. So that is when I moved the drive to the new Dell XPS GEN 5 machine. After installing it and the software I ran the same test again and this time it only took 5 minutes and 54 seconds. This was a huge difference and made me much happier. I again ran the Nero CD-DVD Speed program on the disk and again it checked out fine.
So I left the drive in the Dell machine and moved on to the DVD-R media. I copied the same movie to the DVD-R media and this time it took 6 minutes and 17 seconds. Again everything worked out fine and there were no errors.
Next I wanted to test the RW media, and I started with the DVD+RW. To burn a full 4 GB to a DVD+RW disk it took 14 minutes and 45 seconds. The read time was much less and the read test came back with no read errors.
I moved on to the DVD-RW media. Because the DVD-R burn time was slower then the DVD+R burn time I expected the DVD-RW to be slower then the DVD+RW. I was not surprised when I saw that it took 15 minutes and 39 seconds, almost a full minute longer, to burn the DVD-RW. It is nice to that the tests also reported that the burn was good and there were not reading errors.
Now we move onto the part that everyone has been waiting for, the testing of DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media. We will first start out with the DVD+R DL media. The total burn time for this disk was 21 minutes and 48 seconds. I found it interesting to see that the DVD burner actually had to pause and switch layers then start up again on the second layer. In the tests of the DVD you can see where the reader has to switch layers. The tests came back very positive with no read errors.
Moving on to the DVD-R DL I expect because of the previous tests that this will take slightly longer then the DVD+R DL. The total burn time for this disk was 29 minutes and 21 seconds. The tests also came out fine with no errors that prevented it from reading.
The write tests were are a huge success. I was very happy that I didn’t have a single coaster. Nobody wants coasters especially when you are sending a lot more on DVD disks then you do on CD disks. The DVD+ disks were slightly faster with burning so I recommend you use that format with this drive.
Plextor does not offer anything special as far as a warranty goes. They keep to the standard of one year for parts and labor, and they have an extraordinary unlimited toll-free tech support. This is better than some companies, but not the best in the industry either.
Overall this is a really great drive. All the disks worked great and they were very fast. I am happy with the results and I can confidently recommend this drive because it works great and has a great price too. At only $99 you really cannot go wrong.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|