Below is a quick overview of specifications on the drive:

 Plextor 708A DVD-/+R Drive
Interface IDE
CD Write Speed 40X, 32X, 24X (CAV)
16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speed 24X, 16X (CAV)
12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
CD Read Speed 40X Max (CAV)
DVD-R Write Speed 4X, 2X, 1X (CLV)
DVD-RW Rewrite Speed 2X, 1X (CLV)
DVD+R Write Speed 8X (Z-CLV)
4X, 2X (CLV)
DVD+RW Rewrite Speed 4X, 2.4X (CLV)
DVD Read Speed 12X Max (16,620KB/s) (CAV)
Supported Modes DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
SAO / SAO 16 & 96
Packet Write
Supported Formats DVD+R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD+RW (random)
DVD-R (DAO, incremental, seq)
DVD-RW (random)
CD-ROM XA, Mixed Mode, CD Extra
Photo CD, CD Text, Bootable CD, UDF
Access Time CD: 130ms
DVD: 180ms
Buffer 2MB

Specifications on the drive are quite impressive. Aside from 8X DVD+R, also note that the drive is capable of high speed 40X CD-R (something the Pioneer A06 severely lacks), DVD+RW 4X (again, something the A06 lacks), and 40X CD read. We were a little disappointed that the drive only came with 2MB of cache. Plextor made a name for themselves with 8MB buffers on their CDR drives. It’s a shame that they did not continue the tradition with the 708A.

In fact, just by looking at the stats, the only thing we are concerned with is the DVD access time, which seems a little high at 180ms. Remember, access times are typically “best time” specifications, so testing the device might yield much higher results. Also, for whatever reason, the website access times are much lower, claiming CD response times under 100ms and DVD response times under 130ms.

Click to enlarge.

At time of publication, we were stuck with the 1.00 BIOS. Plextor has been fairly good about regular BIOS updates on their other drives, so we expect a full line of continuing support.

Construction Testing the Drive
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  • blackjack - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link

    well in response to your response, I also have a plextor 24/10/40a cd writer. Also the cd tray is really slow to eject, don't know if that is a common thing with plextor although the new dvd writer is quite fast (well in comparison). I could never get it to work with easy cd creator and it always used to create problems using cds with computers at work. The fact that plextor bundles nero and not easy cd creator says something to me. Also it seems that for re-writing, you have to have INCD which I'm positive isn't compatible with roxio because I got a message saying I had to uninstall it. Please direct me to an appropriate webpage and put me out of my ignorance.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link

    "For years, Plextor took an approach to optical storage that was only duplicated by a few manufacturers. 8MB buffers, extra features and rock solid performance put Plextor on the high end of CDR and CDRW drives."

    those 8MB buffers were in yamaha's drives when plextor still used 4MB.

    Also burnproof technology doesn't mean a small buffer is as good as a bigger one. Why ?, because when the drive actualy uses its burnproof to recover the disc this process costs extra time so the average burning speed goes down. Therefore to achieve a high burn speed there should be very little (none at best) recovering by the burnproof circuit and the bigger the buffer the smaller the chance the burnproof technology needs to recover.
  • Falco. - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link


    bah.. i'd rather u test the tdk branded one then the oem, even if they are the same.....
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link

    #13: The TDK drive is nice, but TDK doesnt make it ;) We have the OEM drive in a future review coming up.


  • Anonymous User - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link

    futureshop canada has a sale on LG 4x dvd-r drive (does all the formats) for 200$ cdn after rebate...8x can wait for that price..
  • Falco. - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    plextor hardware doesn't like ezcd ??? since when ?? ezcd is all i have ever used for my plextor 12/10/32 scsi cd writer, and i have had no problems with it..

    and WHY wasn't the tdk dual format mentioned at all in this review??? and will it be included in the round up ????????????????????
  • AgaBooga - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Well, its good to see DVD drive coverage also being added to reviews along with occasional LCD screen reviews. I think this will help AT reach out to more people than just those interested in computer components like the CPU, motherboard, video card, etc.
  • blackjack - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    I already own this drive and am very happy with it. I was tempted by the pioneer a06 but the cd-r was only 16x which they could have easily made 32x surely? Apart from a few coasters using imation 2.4x write once dvd+r media, it is quite happy with dvd-r and of course dvd+rw. Yet to get hold of some decent tdk dvd+r but they should be fine at 6-8x.
    All in all, given its good price (£158 + VAT), I have no complaints although plextor hardware does not like roxio easy cd creator (although I'm getting quite used to nero now)
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Will the buying code of "Anandtech280" works :)
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Oops. Thanks #8: Fixed.

    As far as the question about booktypes: Nero, ImgTools, and pretty much everything else we tried did not allow us to change the booktype. We have a pretty strong suspicion that a future firmware upgrade will fix this though.



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