The Test

Our benchmarks include a few tests to show the performance of each of our test drives. We first use Nero CD-DVD Speed to create a data disc, which tests the write capabilities/performance of the drive. We then run a transfer rate test to benchmark the read capabilities as well as verify the data on the disc.

Finally, we use our Plextor PX-712A drive to read the media for PI/PO errors. According to the ECMA standard...
A row of an ECC Block that has at least 1 byte in error constitutes a PI error. In any 8 consecutive ECC Blocks, the total number of PI errors before correction shall not exceed 280.

A row is 182 bytes long where the last 10 bytes contain PI (Parity Inner) information. An ECC block is 208 rows long where the last 16 rows contain the PO (Parity Outer) information. This gives us a maximum possible PI error amount of 208 errors per block and for 8 blocks after each other, this sum is of course 8 times higher giving a maximum possible amount of 1664 PI errors.

If a row of an ECC Block contains more than 5 erroneous bytes, the row is said to be “PI-uncorrectable” or PIF (Parity Inner Failures).

In any ECC Block, the number of PI-uncorrectable rows should not exceed 4.
Now, some writers may create discs with more than 208 PI errors and they are not necessarily unreadable, but they are not the best quality discs around.

Our test bed:

AMD Athlon64 3500+ (2.2Ghz)
Giga-byte GA-K8NXP-SLI
NVIDIA 6600GT SLI Edition (single 128MB card)
1GB (512MBx2) Corsair XMS4400
Plextor PX-712A, Firmware v1.07

Microsoft Windows XP SP2
Nero CD-DVD Speed 4.00
PlexTools Professional XL 3.03

The Competition

  Firmware Access Time
DVD +/-R Write DVD +/-RW Write DVD +/-R DL Write CD-R/RW Write CD/DVD Read Buffer Size
BenQ DW1640 BSHB 120ms/
16x/16x 8x/6x 8x/NA 48x/32x 48x/16x 2MB
LG GSA-4163B A104 125ms/
16x/16x 8x/6x 4x/NA 40x/24x 40x/16x 2MB
NEC ND-3540A 1.01 120ms/
16x/16x 8x/6x 8x/6x 48x/32x 40x/16x 2MB
Pioneer DVR-109D 1.55 120ms/
16x/16x 4x/6x 6x/NA 40x/24x 40x/16x 2MB
Sony DRU-720A JY03 140ms/
16x/16x 8x/6x 4x/NA 48x/24x 40x/16x 2MB
Toshiba SD-R5372 TU55 100ms/
(200ms DVD-RAM)
16x/16x 8x/6x 5x/NA 48x/24x 48x/16x 2MB

Index 16x -R - MCC 03RG20
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  • trance - Friday, July 22, 2005 - link

    Ordered mine from Still haven't recieved it yet though...
  • Gage8 - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    "Any clue as to when the new BenQ will be available?"

    That's my question. It seems like the BenQ is the drive to have...yet no one has it.
  • trance - Sunday, July 17, 2005 - link

    Any clue as to when the new BenQ will be available?
  • vtqanh - Saturday, July 16, 2005 - link

    No Plextor drive? What kind of optical drive review that doesnt include a Plextor drive?
  • USAF1 - Friday, July 15, 2005 - link

    #48 - Apparently, there are some pretty serious compatibility issues with the Plextor PX-712SA/PX-716SA and some of the NEWER controllers. For example, from what I've read on various forums, the native nForce4 SATA controller has some pretty serious issues with burning CD's and DVD's. Plextor's tech support department has commented on the issue and blamed nvidia's SATA implementation/drivers. Check out this compatibility matrix from Plextor's website:

    See any nForce4 boards on there? I imagine compatibility issues would explain the two star newegg rating.
  • PuravSanghani - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    #47: Its a slow and painful process isn't it? We would all like to be done with those wide flat annoying IDE cables and hook ourselves up with the thin, easy to work with SATA cables.

    The fact is, as long as the more critical [hard] drives are being manufactured with the IDE interface, there will still be a demand for the IDE interface on motherboards.

    For optical drives, there really isn't a need for the switch to the SATA interface because 1)there wouldn't be any performance increases due to the limitations of current DVDR hardware and media, and 2)because the IDE interface is still around on motherboards.

    I'm sure that once all HDD manufacturers have converted fully to SATA, optical drives will follow suit much more quickly since all we need is basically a SATA bridge. But until then...let us begin to give IDE an extended good-bye starting...nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-now!
  • Anton74 - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    ...and speaking of the Plextor PX-716SA/SW (SATA), it has a customer rating of 2 out of 5 on newegg (based on 341 votes). Yet all but 3 of the 40 customer reviewers rate it 5 out of 5.

    Apparently the drive needs an updated BIOS and an appropriate up-to-date motherboard to function properly. Maybe that's what caused the low customer rating?

    Just wondering.

  • Anton74 - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    On a side note, why is it that nearly all of these drives are still PATA, and not SATA? There's 3 such SATA drives listed for sale on newegg, the Plextor 712 in 2 different colors, and the Plextor 716. They are of course more expensive than most at $83 (with $20 mail in rebate) and $126 respectively.

    I'm just wondering why we can't get rid of IDE altogether. Is a SATA interface more expensive to make? Can't be that big a difference looking at hard drive prices.

  • Miggle - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    BTW, how come the sony 800A wasn't reviewed? Its being sold here but I chose the LG drive over it
  • RMSe17 - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    PuravSanghani, sorry didn't see your first post when I posted

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