Plextor PX-708A review: Plextor PX-708A

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
  • Overall: 8.7
  • Setup and ease of use: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Writes DVD+R at 8X on 4X media; great overall performance; strong software bundle.

The Bad No drive-to-sound-card cable.

The Bottom Line One of the fastest DVD-rewritable drives on the market, Plextor's groundbreaking PX-708A delivers an all-around top-notch performance.

CNET Editors' Choice Oct '03

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Review summary

Plextor's innovative and remarkably fast PX-708A has dethroned Sony's DRU-510A as our multiformat drive of choice. Not only does the groundbreaking PX-708A write DVD+R at 8X--to 4X-rated discs, no less--it's also far and away the fastest DVD-rewritable drive with CD-R (40X) and CD-RW (24X) media. On top of that, the drive writes 4X DVD-R, 2X DVD-RW, and 4X DVD+RW and offers a handful of unique features as well, including the PowerRec recording optimizer. It costs about $250--around $75 more than the DRU-510A--but we think it's worth it.

Plextor makes installing the PX-708A easy. A concisely written, printed quick-reference guide provides an excellent overview of the setup process, and the comprehensive printed manual supplies the details. If you can use a screwdriver, you're all set. Plextor includes mounting screws, an extra jumper, and a handy emergency-eject tool, so you won't have to fuss with a bent paper clip if the power dies and the tray won't open. We have two gripes: there's no drive-to-sound-card cable--a handy extra, even if most folks play their audio CDs across the PCI bus using digital audio extraction (DAE) these days. More importantly, the drive does not come with Plextor's PlexTools software, useful for tweaking esoteric drive features such as PowerRec and tray-eject speed.

The PX-708A has a full complement of features. A headphone jack and a volume control on the front panel let you listen to audio CDs straight from the drive, saving CPU cycles. The tray mechanism is exceptionally quiet and sturdy, and the reinforced front panel will keep a shattered disc (a rare but real occurrence) from escaping. An eject button, emergency-eject hole, and power/busy light adorn the front panel. The back of the drive has the usual IDE and power connectors, digital and analog audio ports, and drive jumpers.

Plextor bundles Roxio's Easy CD Creator 6.1 with the PX-708A. Faster and less buggy than previous versions, we can finally say that we like the software. The DVD Builder for movie editing wouldn't let us automatically burn multiple copies of our test movie; fortunately, it didn't force us to reencode our AVI file for each pass. The DVD-movie playback and the photo-editing software are also good.

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Finally, Plextor bundles some Roxio software that's fast and stable.

The performance story is simple and sweet: the PX-708A tested at or near the top of the pack with every type of media we tried. In fact, it has the fastest DVD+R write performance of any drive we've tested to date. In informal testing, the drive burned an entire DVD-ROM movie at 8X in less than 10 minutes--inspiring nothing less than pure delight in our test personnel. The fact that the drive does this with 4X-rated media is a major boon: there's no need to wait for new, untried, more expensive media to appear. Our informal testing also convinced us that the PX-708A's 40X CD-R and 24X CD-RW writing makes it the first DVD-rewritable drive to offer uncompromising CD-burning performance.

Movie write test (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a movie to write-once media  
Plextor PX-708A (8X DVD+R)
6.22 
TDK InDVD 400N (4X DVD+R)
4.94 
Plextor PX-708A (4X DVD-R)
4.08 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+R)
3.96 
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD-R)
3.15 
TDK InDVD 400N (4X DVD-R)
3.13 
Note: Compression rates vary depending on the drives' bundled software.

Data write tests (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a 383MB file to rewritable media  
Write a 500MB directory to rewritable media  
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+RW)
5.21 
5.25 
Plextor PX-708A (4X DVD+RW)
5.20 
4.17 
TDK InDVD 400N (2.4X DVD+RW)
2.98 
3.03 
Sony DRU-510A (2X DVD-RW)
2.64 
2.61 
Plextor PX-708A (2X DVD-RW)
2.53 
2.52 
TDK InDVD 400N (2X DVD-RW)
2.33 
2.16 

Data read tests (MB/Sec)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy a 383MB file from rewritable media to the hard drive  
Copy a 500MB directory from rewritable media to the hard drive  
Sony DRU-510A (4x DVD+RW)
5.28 
3.80 
Sony DRU-510A (2x DVD-RW)
5.26 
3.16 
TDK InDVD 400N (2.4x DVD+RW)
5.20 
2.61 
Plextor PX-708A (4x DVD+RW)
4.93 
5.03 
TDK InDVD 400N (2x DVD-RW)
4.46 
2.97 
Plextor PX-708A (2x DVD-RW)
3.99 
2.83 
Note: Due to an error in our calculations, we originally published slightly innaccurate data-read results in this review. The scores have been corrected.

All write tests are run with both the drive's recommended media submitted by the manufacturer and with &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Everbatim%2Ecom" target="_blank">Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed. Find out more about how we test optical drives.

Although specific product support for the PX-708A hadn't been implemented at the time of our review, Plextor's online support is generally exemplary. You can find FAQs, technology white papers, software updates, PDF manuals, and firmware downloads for all of the company's products. The PX-708A is backed by a typical one-year warranty. Toll-free telephone support is available weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT.

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You'll find lots of helpful resources on Plextor's Web site.

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Where to Buy

Plextor PX-708A - DVD±RW drive - IDE

Part Number: PX-708A-BPS-1 Released: Jun 1, 2003
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 1, 2003
  • Write Speed 40x (CD) / 4x (DVD-R) / 8x (DVD+R)
  • Rewrite Speed 24x (CD) / 2x (DVD-R) / 4x (DVD+R)
  • Weight 2.6 lbs
  • Type DVD±RW
  • Read Speed 40x (CD) / 12x (DVD)