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Plextor PX-716UF

DVD Dual Layer drive

By Terry Currier

Plextor has always been know for high quality products, and the PX-716UF drive is no different. The Plextor PX-716 is a 16X DVD ±RW Plextor PX-y16UF DVD Dual lay driveburner available in both internal (716A - ATAPI) and external. With an 8X DVD+R media it can burn a 4.7GB DVD in less than six minutes. The drive will also do dual-layer DVD media allowing the user to put up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2 video on a single 8.5GB DVD disc. The PX-716UF is an external drive, connectivity is either USB 2.0 or Firewire/IEEE 1394. Plextor includes everything in the box, both types of cables, utilities CD for the drive, a blank DVD, even an emergency pin to open the drive.

Back side showing connectionsIt comes in a sleek silver color plastic casing. On the back panel contains is a self-test switch, the IEEE 1394/Firewire and USB 2.0 connections, a switch to toggle between the two connection types, the power port and the power switch. They even give you a plastic stand for putting the drive on its side if you are space limited. I tried it both ways and had no problems.

Plextor includes Roxio Easy Media Creator™ 7 suite for burning discs, and organizing digital photos, music, and data. It also includes VideoWave for easy editing of your home movies. Plextor also gives you the Roxio DVDMax Player 2.0 for watching DVD movies with the drive. Also on the CD are USB drivers for Window 98SE if needed, Adobe Acrobat Reader, the user guide and manual (they also give you a printed copy), and a 30 day trial of Retrospect for backing up your computer. For Macintosh users, Toast Lite versions is included.

Integrated features for the drive are:

Plextor ToolsThey also give you PlexTools Professional. It allows you to control the functions of the drive with a Graphical User Interface (GUI.) Modules of it are:

When I read about the GigaRec I just had to try that. They explain it like this; “CD disc are manufactured with special information about the manufacturer, model name, disc feature, and maximum write capacity written to a Plextor GigaRec toolnarrow strip along the inner margin of the disc. The Plextor PX-716UF can ignore and even overwrite this information, which extends the disc capacity.” They go on to say that the disc has to be burned at a fixed speed of 4X or 8X, and that the disc may not work in other drives. With the GigaRec I put 93 minutes onto a 80 minute disc. I was not too surprised when it played in another computer’s drive. I was really surprised though when it actually played in the CD player in my car.

I hooked it up and tested it on both of my computers. My main computer (clone) is a 3.0GHz with 1GB of RAM, the eMachines is a 2.66GHz Intel Celeron with 768MB RAM. Both of my computers have a DVD read only drive. My main computer has a internal Mad Dog dual layer 16X DVD ±RW drive. The eMachines has a external (USB) LITE-ON 8X DVD drive. For these test I used a DVD RW disc (okay I’m cheap), here are some of the comparison test results:

To compare speeds of USB to Firewire I did another DVD disk copy:

To be accurate I defragged my drive and rebooted the computer in between each test. Helps to have Executive Software Diskeeper for the defragging. I also ran Nero CD-DVD speed test on all of the drives. To run these test I used a Memorex 52X CD. It was most interesting to see the results in the amount of CPU power each needs. I was surprised the external Plextor used less, and was faster. For speed rating the higher the number the faster it is, so I was really surprised the Lite-On being faster then the newer Mad Dog. Random seek times the lower the times the faster the drive will find the data.

Lite-on test run

Mad Dog test run

Plextor test run

Comes with a one-year full warranty (parts and labor)

Minimum Systems Requirements

 CPU: Pentium® 4 1.4GHZ (minimum)
 
HDD 800 MB - 1 GB free space for copying CD to CD image
 10 GB-10 GB free space for DVD authoring
 
RAM 256 MB
 
Monitor Display Resolution 1024 X 768 at 16-bit color
 
OS Support - Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP™
 Mac OS 9.1 or above
 
Interface: Dual IEEE 1394 and Hi-Speed USB

Plextor at www.plextor.com

Summary

The drive is really great especially for the GigaRec. The fact that it will do either USB or Firewire is a real plus. The great thing about external units are that you don’t have to open up the computer and figure out which jumper pin to put on where. You just plug it in and it works. The drives run from $172-$224 on Pricegrabber.com

From our June 2005 newsletter


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