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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  • Moonbeam - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    In the sentence:

    " As far as performance is concerned, the drive out-performs the ASUS DRW-0402P/D and the Pioneer A06 in virtually every way. Media recognition, compatibility and just raw burn times were all better on the A06."

    I got the impression the author meant, instead of that last AO6 to put 7o8A.

  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    #6 - Correct I didnt mention Sony, but thats because Sony doesnt make their own drives =). I have an upcoming review to deal with that.

  • tazdevl - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Couple things... I have a Sony 510A, 510UL and the Plex 708A. Buffer size is pointless. Those comments regarding the buffer size that folks are making and are mentioned in the review don't mean squat. Buffer underrun prevents coasters from happening and based on the review it's obvious it's doing its job. A 8MB buffer is just a way to differentiate a drive from its competitors for ignorant consumers that have "bigger is better" Best Buy logic.

    -R has greater compatbility at this point with all DVD players. +R has compatibility issues with some older players. That's the nice thing about having a dual format drive. One format doesn't work, try the other.

    Lastly the reviewer forgot to comment on Sony as being one of the DVD burning elite. They set the standatd for the industry when they released the Sony 500A/X which was the first dual format burner on the market for months. Also, with firmware 2.0F that enabled 4X burning for both formats (nice free bump for consumers), they started the speed wars in the DVD burning market.
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Anyone who buys a dual format drive is foolish. DVD+R only drives allow booktype settings to be set to dvd-rom, increasing compatibility SIGNIFICANTLY. Once the drive becomes dual format however, the feature gets scrapped.
  • Mday - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    2.4x DVD burning is over 3MB ps. obviously 6x or 8x is 2-3 times that, or roughly 6MB to 9MB per second. with a 2 MB buffer, that's less than 1/3 of a second time. in computing terms, 1/3 of a second is a lot of time. however, since when do programs that access disc space only last 1/3 of a second...

    sony has an 8MB buffer. while burning at 4x, and with certain programs running, it hardly dips below 90%. of course i do implement a hefty disk cache and memory cache for nero as i burn. i would like to see nero have more than just 80 MB max dedicated for buffering in system memory.
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    I'm waiting for 8X DVD-R burners to come out. DVD+R discs do not work on any of the IBM T20-22 Laptops we use at my office. All of them play DVD-R fine so I consider that a negative towards +R. My friends DVD player from Sony works great with -R but not +R as well.
  • Budman - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    My 2X burner's getting slower. :(
  • AgaBooga - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Its good to see 8x burners. I want to see how this affects the current 4x burner prices...
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