The DVD industry may be awash with gossip about the upcoming Blu-ray and HD-DVD drives, but Plextor hasn't allowed itself to be distracted from improving on the existing DVD model. The PX-760A sees the first increase in DVD+R performance in over a year.

Admittedly, the jump from 16-speed to 18-speed DVD+R and DVD-R is hardly earth-shattering, but it's still a step in the right direction. The Plextor outperformed rival drives such as the Samsung SH-W163 and the top LG models by more than 13 seconds.

There's been a speed boost to the DVD+R DL (double-layer) format – this is the mode where the discs come with two layers rather than one. The top layer is almost transparent, so the PX-760A can elect to read the bottom layer once the top layer has been filled up, thereby increasing the storage capacity from 4.7GB to 8.5GB.

DVD+R DL speeds used to be limited to 8-speed, so the 10-speed of the PX-760A is a welcome advance, dropping below a burn time of 16 minutes for the first time. We reviewed the EIDE version, but there's a Sata (serial ATA) model available; it would be interesting to see how much better this product would be using the faster interface.

The range of drive technologies is dizzying. From the self-explanatory SilentMode to SecureRecording – which allows you to attach a password to your data – and PlexEraser, designed to make a disc totally unreadable, the drive is
packed with versatile features.

The PX-760A proved reliable and consistent, and the quality-check facilities work effectively. Plextor doesn't really do label-writing; anyone looking to tap into LightScribe or LabelFlash should look elsewhere. There's no DVD-RAM support.

Plextor PX-760A: Specs

  • 16x/18x/18x/6x/10x/6x/8x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 48x/48x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 150ms
  • software bundle
  • 2-year warranty
  • 146x41x170mm
  • 998g
  • 16x/18x/18x/6x/10x/6x/8x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 48x/48x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 150ms
  • software bundle
  • 2-year warranty
  • 146x41x170mm
  • 998g

OUR VERDICT

The Plextor PX-760A is all about top performance, regardless of cost. Speed and reliability are second to none, and for the technology hungry, it'll be an instant hit. However, the price tag is eye-watering. Considering the quality of drives available for half the price, you may wish to wait before enjoying 18-speed DVD-R/+R and 10-speed DVD+R DL.

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