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.