While other companies constantly wheel out optical drives, Plextor prefers to sit back and develop something special. And while its drives don't generally hit the cheapest of price points, they do tend to reach very high levels of performance. Based on what we've seen so far, it's going to need a pretty impressive Blu-ray drive to beat the performance of Plextor PX-B920SA.

We've previously reviewed a couple of very decent external USB 2.0 models. The Plextor PX-B920SA, however, is an internal model. It'll need a spare SATA interface, although virtually every PC bought in the last two or three years should be fine in that respect. There's nothing particularly distinctive about the Plextor PX-B920SA's looks, although its sleek black fascia should look the part in any self-respecting PC.

The Plextor PX-B920SA's software bundle includes a combination of InterVideo and Ulead titles. The smooth Blu-Ray playback is offered by the pleasingly robust WinDVD 8.0. Ulead takes care of the disk burning with its rather simple but extremely usable Burn.Now 4.5 SE package, and also provides the more sophisticated authoring and burning software MovieFactory 5.5.

The drive is pretty well featured. Its BD-R speed only goes up to quad-speed - external LG and Buffalo models can manage six-speed - although, as the realworld results show, speed figures aren't everything. In fact, the Plextor PX-B920SA produced the fastest record times we've seen yet, writing a Blu-Ray disk in just 11 minutes and 35 seconds. This is, by some distance, the fastest of the Blu-Ray drives that we've reviewed recently. The rewriteable BD-RE facilities go up to two-speed and, again, the Plextor was extremely fast here.

The ability to read (but obviously not write) HD DVD may appeal to those who found themselves on the wrong side of the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war, and the full range of DVD write formats includes four-speed DVD-R DL and five-speed DVD-RAM. LightScribe is also included with the Plextor PX-B920SA, although this will only work with special DVD (not Blu-Ray) media.

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Plextor PX-B920SA: Specs

  • Interface Type SATA
  • Max read speeds 6x/16x/3x (BD-ROM/-ROM SL/HD DVD)
  • Max Blu-Ray write speeds 4x/4x/2x/2x (BD-R/-R DL/-RE/-RE DL)
  • Max DVD speeds 16x/16x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Max CD speeds 40x/24x/40x (CD-R/-RW/-ROM)
  • Max storage capacity 50GB
  • InterVideo WinDVD 8
  • Ulead MovieFactory 5.5
  • Ulead Burno.Now 4.5 SE
  • 2-year warranty
  • Lightscribe
  • Interface Type SATA
  • Max read speeds 6x/16x/3x (BD-ROM/-ROM SL/HD DVD)
  • Max Blu-Ray write speeds 4x/4x/2x/2x (BD-R/-R DL/-RE/-RE DL)
  • Max DVD speeds 16x/16x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Max CD speeds 40x/24x/40x (CD-R/-RW/-ROM)
  • Max storage capacity 50GB
  • InterVideo WinDVD 8
  • Ulead MovieFactory 5.5
  • Ulead Burno.Now 4.5 SE
  • 2-year warranty
  • Lightscribe

OUR VERDICT

Any good Plextor drive comes with a steep price tag and, for an internal model, the £200 Plextor PX-B920SA is very far from cheap. But then, this is an extremely high quality drive that certainly puts its external competition to shame. It’ll be very interesting to see how this drive fares against other cheaper internal models in next month’s Blu-Ray round-up. Our guess is that it’ll prove stiff competition.

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