Old 11-07-2002   #1
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Plextor FAQ - Read this FIRST!


Frequently Asked Questions
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<a name="toc"></a>Table of Contents
  1. Links (<a href="#links">link</a>)
  2. General (<a href="#general">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#general-defective">I think my Plextor drive is defective. How can I make sure?</a>
    2. <a href="#general-ledmeaning">My Plextor drive has a problem I think. Its light is blinking, what does this mean?</a>
    3. <a href="#general-tasa">Is there a difference between a Plextor PX-WxxxxTA and PX-WxxxxA drive? What about PX-xxxU and PX-xxxSA?</a>
    4. <a href="#general-tla">What is "TLA" and how do I know what TLA number my Plextor drives are?</a>
    5. <a href="#general-overclock">Can a Plextor writer be overclocked just as the Lite-On writers can?</a>
    6. <a href="#general-mtrainier">Does Plextor support the Mt. Rainier format?</a>
    7. <a href="#general-dma">My Plextor drive is burning and/or reading very slowly.</a>
    8. <a href="#general-install">How should I install my Plextor drive?</a>

  3. Plextor CD-R/RW Drives (<a href="#cdrw">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#cdrw-cdrwreadlimit">My Plextor drive is reading CD's slower than its rated speed.</a>
    2. <a href="#cdrw-cdrwplextor24xlimit">[4012] Why does my Plextor PX-W4012TA only write at 24x when writing audio or when writing in DAO-RAW mode?</a>
    3. <a href="#cdrw-cdrwasusp4s8x">[4824] When burning a CD using the Plextor PX-W4824TA recorder and an ASUS P4S8X motherboard I get corrupted CDs!</a>
    4. <a href="#cdrw-cdrwplextor48xvibrate">[4824] Does the Plextor PX-W4824TA drive vibrate with some media?</a>
    5. <a href="#cdrw-premiumtray">[Premium] The tray of my Plextor Premium drive seems to be quite slow, is this normal?</a>

  4. Plextor DVDR/RW Drives (<a href="#dvdrw">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwbitsetting">Do the Plextor DVD recorders support bitsetting?</a>
    2. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwtray">The tray of my Plextor drive seems to be quite slow, is this normal?</a>
    3. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwnvidiaide">I am having strange problems with my Plextor DVD recorder and I'm using an nVidia based motherboard.</a>
    4. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwintelide">I am having strange problems with my Plextor DVD recorder and I'm using an Intel based motherboard.</a>
    5. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwsonicdla">When I insert a DVD disc in my Plextor drive my computer restarts or gives me a blue error screen!</a>
    6. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwsata">I have a Plextor S-ATA DVD recorder, does it work with every motherboard?</a>
    7. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwspeedread">My Plextor DVD recorder only reads DVD-Video discs at 2x! Can't I make it go any faster than that?</a>
    8. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwoverspeeding">I heard something about the Plextor DVD recorders being able to record certain media at faster speeds than certified for?</a>
    9. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwautostrategy">What's this AutoStrategy thing I keep reading/hearing about?</a>
    10. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrw708probs">[708] I'm having problems with my Plextor PX-708A drive. Is the problem software or hardware related?</a>
    11. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwamd76x">[708] My Plextor PX-708A cannot write the lead-in when I want to record a DVD+R disc!</a>
    12. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrw708speedread">[708] No matter what I try, my PX-708A can only read DVD discs at 3x.</a>
    13. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwmountrainier">[708] Does the Plextor PX-708A fully support Mount Rainier for CD-RW and DVD+RW?</a>
    14. <a href="#dvdrw-716vibrate">[716] My Plextor PX-716A vibrates a lot when reading and/or writing discs!</a>
    15. <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrw716as">[716] My Plextor PX-716A takes an awful long time to write the lead-in of my DVDR discs.</a>

  5. Firmware (<a href="#firmware">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#firmware-fwautostrategy">Important notice when upgrading the firmware of the PX-716x, PX-755x or PX-760x.</a>
    2. <a href="#firmware-fwintro">What is firmware? Why should I upgrade?</a>
    3. <a href="#firmware-fwdownload">Where can I download firmwares for my Plextor drives?</a>
    4. <a href="#firmware-fwinstall">How do I upgrade the firmware of my Plextor drive?</a>
    5. <a href="#firmware-fwunofficial">I read something about unofficial firmware versions removing region locks and such?</a>

  6. PlexTools Professional / XL (<a href="#plextools">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#plextools-ptdifference">What's the difference between PlexTools Professional and PlexTools Professional XL?</a>
    2. <a href="#plextools-ptdownload">My Plextor drive didn't come with the PlexTools and/or XL software. Can I get the full version somewhere?</a>
    3. <a href="#plextools-ptalternatives">Are there any alternatives to the PlexTools software?</a>
    4. <a href="#plextools-ptuninstall">I cannot <b>un</b>install PlexTools anymore.</a>
    5. <a href="#plextools-ptpipo_gen">What is PI/PO DVD quality scanning, and how do I use PlexTools to do it?</a>
    6. <a href="#plextools-ptgraphmeaning">Which PI/PO test should I use and what do the produced graphs mean?</a>
    7. <a href="#plextools-ptsourcetoolarge">PlexTools doesn't let me burn CD's anymore, it always gives the error "Source disc is too large"?</a>

  7. Copy Protections (<a href="#protections">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#protections-cpaudio">Can my Plextor drive deal with audio protections?</a>
    2. <a href="#protections-cpsafedisc">Will my Plextor drive make a working back-up of a SafeDisc protected game?</a>
    3. <a href="#protections-cpsecurom">Can the Plextor recorders copy the latest SecuROM copy-protections?</a>

  8. Miscellaneous (<a href="#misc">link</a>)
    1. <a href="#misc-reviews">Can I find some reviews online of Plextor optical drives?</a>

  9. FAQ Credits (<a href="#credits">link</a>)

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<a name="links"></a>Links<div style="margin-left: 3em">
Plextor Websites:

- Plextor European Homepage
- Plextor American Homepage
- PlexTools Professional Homepage

Official FAQs:

- Plextor official FAQ, Tips and Tricks (European website)
- Plextor official FAQ (US website)

Useful Links:

- CD Backup Guides and Tutorials
- GigaRec Read Compatibility List
- PlexTools DAE Guide by westgroveG
- Japanese website that shows a lot of PI/PO tests, using Plextor (and other) drives

Useful Plextor Utilities:
  • PX Info: provides you with information on your system and installed optical drives. If you have a problem use this tool to generate a report on your system, post a new thread in our Plextor Forum and add the information from PX Info to it.
  • CDVD Info: Plextor's tool to retrieve information on your CD and DVD based media. Insert the media you want to check out in your Plextor drive and this tool will tell you all you need to know.
  • SecuViewer: via the PlexTools software and certain Plextor recorders supporting SecuRec, you can create password protected discs. If you want to access the disc's contents you need to have the original password and the PlexTools software, or this SecuViewer application for those that do not want to install or don't have access to the PlexTools software.

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<a name="general"></a>General<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="general-defective"></a>Q: I think my Plextor drive is defective. How can I make sure?
A: When you suspect your Plextor drive to be defective please run the self-diagnostic test. If your drive fails the diagnostics test contact your nearest dealer or Plextor office. Follow one of the links below for more information on how to perform the self diagnostics test or read through the manual you got with your drive:
Read the next item below for more information on blink codes that might appear during the self-test.

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<a name="general-ledmeaning"></a>Q: My Plextor drive has a problem I think. Its light is blinking, what does this mean?
A: Please check here for the blink codes, their meaning and possible solution. Update, thanks to Daviskw in this thread: three amber blinks generated during the self-test function (see previous item), indicate:
  1. The media used in the test was not blank
  2. The media used in the test was not a type recommended by Plextor for that drive, see here.
  3. The drive has a problem reading any media and needs to be replaced.
The three amber blink codes are not documented in the Plextor manuals.

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<a name="general-tasa"></a>Q: Is there a difference between a Plextor PX-WxxxxTA and PX-WxxxxA drive? What about PX-xxxU and PX-xxxSA?
A: Nope, TA and A models are the same drive. The A stands for Atapi (internal IDE model). Some drives also come in an external version and will be named PX-WxxxxTU in which the 'U' stands for USB (2.0) and/or FireWire. Newer Plextor drives are also available as 'SA' models (like the PX-712SA for instance) in which the 'S' stands for S-ATA (Serial-ATA), a new interface standard.

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<a name="general-tla"></a>Q: What is "TLA" and how do I know what TLA number my Plextor drives are?
A: Plextor uses the TLA number, which stands for "Top Level Assembly", to indicate the drive's hardware revision and the installed firmware version. A TLA number always consists of four digits of which the first two digits are used to indicate the hardware revision while the last two digits are used to indicate the drive's installed firmware version. So, the only difference between TLA #0000 and TLA #0002 is the installed firmware upon shipment of the drive, their hardware revision is the same (source). You can find the TLA number on the drive itself and on the package you got it in.

Members of our forum have often asked if Plextor could release information about the differences between the various hardware revisions that exist of certain Plextor drives (the PX-716A for example comes in four different revisions; TLA# 00xx, 01xx, 02xx, 03xx). The answer to this question is: Plextor does not disclose this information.

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<a name="general-overclock"></a>Q: Can a Plextor writer be overclocked just as the Lite-On writers can?
A: Nope, sorry. Currently there's no way to force a firmware upgrade for the Plextor recorders. The Lite-On drives have MKTFLASH which forces a certain firmware to be installed on a drive. Such a program does not exist for Plextor recorders.

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<a name="general-mtrainier"></a>Q: Does Plextor support the Mt. Rainier format?
A: The Mount Rainier function will be the new standard for easier use with CD-RW, to be implemented in Windows based operating systems. Plextor will release a firmware upgrade for the units that are Mount Rainier compatible, such as PX-W4012TA/TU. This will be done when the Mount Rainier standard becomes officially released by Microsoft Corporation (source). The Plextor PX-W4824A/U drives already support Mount Rainier review 1, review 2). Update: The Plextor PX-W4012TA drives support Mount Rainier with firmware 1.05. Newer Plextor drives (such as the Premium and PX-708A/UF) also support the Mount Rainier format.

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<a name="general-dma"></a>Q: My Plextor drive is burning and/or reading very slowly.
A: If you experience that your Plextor drive is continously going into BURN-Proof mode, or if you get a slow burning/ripping speed, the problem is most likely that the drive is using the PIO Mode instead of UDMA mode. DMA must be enabled and working properly in order to achieve a smooth operation. Check this thread for info on how to enable DMA in Windows XP, 2000, Me and 9x.

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<a name="general-install"></a>Q: How should I install my Plextor drive?
A: Your Plextor manual should cover how to install your drive. Every computer has so-called IDE connectors. Most motherboards have two of them (a Primary IDE and a Secondary IDE) and to each, two devices can be attached (a Master and a Slave device). Usually a Plextor drive can be attached to any channel and any position. But, when experiencing problems (like this for instance), set your Plextor drive as Master on the Secondary IDE channel as single device (no Slave device attached. If that works try adding a Slave device again and see what happens. When installing Plextor S-ATA drives you should make sure that your motherboard supports S-ATA optical drives. For more information about S-ATA drives continue <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwsata">reading here</a>.

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<a name="cdrw"></a>Plextor CD-R/RW Drives<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="cdrw-cdrwreadlimit"></a>Q: My Plextor drive is reading CD's slower than its rated speed.
A: Some Plextor drives (like the Premium) by default have a limited read speed of 40x for CD-ROM and CD-R media. This was done because at higher speeds there is a risk that the disc may brake inside the drive (which can especially happen with unbalanced and/or damaged discs). If you want the drive to read at full speed (up to 52x) you can enable the "SpeedRead CD/DVD" option in the PlexTools software or manually by opening the drive's tray, making sure it's empty, closing it again and then by pressing and holding the eject-button for three seconds. SpeedRead will be disabled (and thus limiting the read speed again) by pushing the eject-button or by cutting the drive's power.

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<a name="cdrw-cdrwplextor24xlimit"></a>Q: [4012] Why does my Plextor PX-W4012TA only write at 24x when writing audio or when writing in DAO-RAW mode?
A: The Plextor PX-W4012A is limited when writing audio or in DAO-RAW mode when using firmware 1.00-1.02. For audio Plextor felt that a higher write speed than 24x will reduce quality. DAO-RAW is a write method that is officially not supported by Plextor recorders (they do of course work with it but they're limited to 24x recording). However please note that the Plextor PX-W4012TU (external recorder, USB 2.0) is not limited (source and proof). 07 Nov: With firmware 1.03 for the Plextor PX-W4012A drive you can disable PoweRec in Nero (use the latest version!)and PlexTools to enable 40X burning in DAO-RAW and when writing audio (proof). Newer Plextor drives can write audio at full speed.

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<a name="cdrw-cdrwasusp4s8x"></a>Q: [4824] When burning a CD using the Plextor PX-W4824TA recorder and an ASUS P4S8X motherboard I get corrupted CDs!
A: There is a problem with the W4824TA and this ASUS motherboard. The problem can be fixed using a Bios (beta) upgrade for this motherboard (check this thread for download links). This upgrade is the result of talks between Plextor headquarters and the manufacturer of the motherboard, but is still only in beta release available. It should solve the problem. Alternatively, one can disable UDMA by enabling the DMA jumper on the back of the unit, however there might be a slight decrease in performance (max 44x instead of max 48x) (source).

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<a name="cdrw-cdrwplextor48xvibrate"></a>Q: [4824] Does the Plextor PX-W4824TA drive vibrate with some media?
A: Yes this is a problem with some drives made before September 2002. It tends to vibrate a lot with certain unbalanced and this problem has been fixed with newer models released after and during October 2002. Nothing you can do about this. Plextor's reaction to the vibration problem as mentioned on another website (HardwareZone):

Quote:
"(We found out that) when an unbalanced disc is loaded, vibrations will occur. To solve this problem, we've changed the mold of the PX-W4824TA's mechanism. PlexWriters (PX-W4824TA) manufactured from October 2002 onwards will have solved this problem." (source).
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<a name="cdrw-premiumtray"></a>Q: [Premium] The tray of my Plextor Premium drive seems to be quite slow, is this normal?
A: Yes it's normal. The tray of the Premium drive slides out fast at first and then slows down at the end. Note: right before the tray fully ejects it pushes out a little more on one side, this is normal as well. If you want, you can control the speed of the tray via the PlexTools software.

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<a name="dvdrw"></a>Plextor DVDR/RW Drives<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwbitsetting"></a>Q: Do the Plextor DVD recorders support bitsetting?
A: Yes the Plextor DVD recorders support bitsetting, although the PX-504A does not. An overview of Plextor drives that support bitsetting and for which media type (DVD+R, DVD+RW and/or DVD+R-DoubleLayer):

Code:
Drive:     Supports:     Comment:

- PX-708x  +R            firmware 1.08 or higher is required
- PX-712x  +R            firmware 1.05 or higher is required
- PX-716x  +R/+R-DL
- PX-740x  +R/+RW/+R-DL
- PX-750x  +R/+RW/+R-DL
- PX-755x  +R/+R-DL      booktype can only be changed via PlexTools
- PX-760x  +R/+R-DL
Notes: the bitsetting option can be enabled via PlexTools (Professional and Professional XL), Nero, Nero CD-DVD Speed, DVDInfo Pro and Bitset. For more information on what bitsetting is, read this article.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwtray"></a>Q: The tray of my Plextor drive seems to be quite slow, is this normal?
A: Yes it's normal. The trays of Plextor DVD recorders slide out fast at first and then slow down at the end. Note: right before the tray fully ejects it pushes out a little more on one side, this is normal as well. If you want, you can control the speed of the tray via the PlexTools software.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwnvidiaide"></a>Q: I am having strange problems with my Plextor DVD recorder and I'm using an nVidia based motherboard.
A: If you're using a motherboard with an nVidia chipset and when you're using the nVidia IDE drivers please remove them and use the standard Microsoft drivers instead! The best way to remove nVidia IDE drivers is through the Control Panel &raquo; Add and Remove Programs &raquo; nVidia Drivers &raquo; Click change/remove &raquo; Uncheck IDE drivers only &raquo; restart. The drivers should now roll back to the default Microsoft drivers. Check for Mobo Bios updates as well. For more information about the nVidia problems you can read through this thread and this thread.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwintelide"></a>Q: I am having strange problems with my Plextor DVD recorder and I'm using an Intel based motherboard.
A: If you're using the Intel Application Accelerator drivers try uninstalling them. Intel Application Accelerator (IAA) software is known to have various compatibility problems, especially with CD/DVD burning software. IAA comes with an Intel-written IDE driver, replacing the Microsoft OS-bundled IDE driver. To remove the Intel drivers go to Device Manager &raquo; System &raquo; ATA/ATAPI Controllers. Here you should see Ultra ATA storage controllers. Right click and select update drivers &raquo; Select install hardware from a list or specific location &raquo; next &raquo; Don't search I will choose the drivers to install &raquo; next &raquo; You should see "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE controller". Select and click next. You may need a reboot or you can right click on My Computer in Device manager and scan for hardware changes.

A full-port IDE driver such as Intel's can easily have bugs that cause widespread software compatibility issues. Also, since Intel has discontinued development of the non-RAID IAA (their latest IAA RAID Edition is only for Intel RAID on ICH5R, available with 875P & 865 family chipsets, but does not support older chipsets such as 845 family), the only realistic solution to IAA-related problems is to stop using IAA and go back to Microsoft "inbox" IDE drivers. There may be nothing that Plextor can do with PlexTools to help with this issue, as the problem is more likely to be in IAA. http://support.intel.com/support/chi.../CS-009285.htm (source).

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwsonicdla"></a>Q: When I insert a DVD disc in my Plextor drive my computer restarts or gives me a blue error screen!
A: When you have installed Sonic DLA it can cause problems with your Plextor (internal and/or external) drive. Please uninstall this software or disable it. (Reports of these problems can be found here and here.) Update: The following software applications can also cause blue screens: Creative Playcenter and Real Player. For more information read this thread.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwsata"></a>Q: I have a Plextor S-ATA DVD recorder, does it work with every motherboard?
A: Some motherboards or IDE add-on cards with S-ATA connectors do not work properly with S-ATA optical drives. You can check out this Serial-ATA (SATA) Compability List over at the Plextor website for a list of motherboards that work with the Plextor S-ATA drives. You can also read though this thread for more contributions.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwspeedread"></a>Q: My Plextor DVD recorder only reads DVD-Video discs at 2x! Can't I make it go any faster than that?
A: Yes, you can 'unlock' the drive by making sure the drive is empty and closed. Then press and hold the drive's eject button for about three seconds until the drive's LED flashes green three times. Release the eject button so that the drive's tray will open. You can now insert a DVD-Video disc which will be read at full speed. When you eject the disc or when you cut the drive's power, the PX-708A / PX-712A / PX-716A will be reset to 2x reading again. Update: As of PlexTools Professional version 2.14 the Plextor DVD recorders can be unlocked via the "SpeedRead CD/DVD" option. This is the easiest way to enable SpeedRead.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwoverspeeding"></a>Q: I heard something about the Plextor DVD recorders being able to record certain media at faster speeds than certified for?
A: This is true. Because high speed DVDR media is in short supply the Plextor DVD recorders (just as most other DVD recorders) can write some DVDR media at higher speeds. For a list of supported media you can check out this media list. Please note: when recording discs at higher speeds it can cause playback problems in standalone DVD players. If this happens lower the recording speed.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwautostrategy"></a>Q: What's this AutoStrategy thing I keep reading/hearing about?
A: AutoStrategy (AS) was first introduced with the PX-716A recorder. This technology, which was developed by Plextor in cooperation with Taiyo Yuden (a high quality media manufacturer) creates an optimized write strategy for the inserted DVD disc and, if necessary, creates a new write strategy for unknown DVD-R or DVD+R media (read: media ID codes that are not stored in the drive's firmware). In short this means that the drive will "learn" how it should record media for the best possible result. AS entries are stored in the drive itself (with a maximum of 31 entries) and you can view and delete the AS entries via the PlexTools software.

With the introduction of the Plextor PX-755A the AS technology has been further developed. With this drive you can choose different AS modes:
  1. Auto Selection Mode (recommended): The drive will select the best write strategy, whether it is located in the AS database or in the firmware database. If no suitable strategy is found, AS will create a new, optimized strategy in the database.
  2. On Mode (Forced): The drive will create a new write strategy for every new recording, whether a corresponding strategy exists already in the firmware or not.
  3. On Mode: The drive will use the write strategies from the AS database for recording. If no suitable strategy is found, a corresponding write strategy from the firmware's database will be used.
  4. Off Mode: The drive will only use the write strategies from the firmware's database for recording. If no corresponding write strategy is found, the default write strategy will be used.
Note: When using the Plextor PX-716A you can only choose between "Auto Selection Mode" and "Off Mode". For some examples on how AS works, using the Plextor PX-716A, see this post and this post.

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrw708probs"></a>Q: [708] I'm having problems with my Plextor PX-708A drive. Is the problem software or hardware related?
A: The Plextor PX-708A is having some problems with certain software packages. The drive is not to blame here, it's the software that is causing the problems. Some known software conflicts:
  1. PX-708A and Nero Burning Rom. The Plextor drive is having problems finalizing DVDs in Nero v5.5.10.50 and v6.0.0.15. More information can be found in this thread. Recommended Nero versions are the latest versions (Nero 6.3 and up) and older versions like v5.5.10.42.
  2. PX-708A and DVDXCopy (XPRESS). According to this thread the Plextor simply doesn't work with this software as of yet. A workaround is found in the same thread: read the DVD with DVDXCopy but use other software to burn the decrypted files.
Other problems could be hardware related. Please make sure that when you install the Plextor PX-708A drive you use a 40 or 80-wire IDE cable and that it is not recommended to attach a drive that uses another UDMA mode to the same IDE channel (source).

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwamd76x"></a>Q: [708] My Plextor PX-708A cannot write the lead-in when I want to record a DVD+R disc!
A: There is a problem with the Plextor PX-708A and motherboards that have the AMD 76x chipset. You can solve the problem by setting the UDMA jumper (most left two pins) so that the drive will run in MultiWord DMA mode 2 instead of UDMA mode 2. The problem should now be fixed (source).

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrw708speedread"></a>Q: [708] No matter what I try, my PX-708A can only read DVD discs at 3x.
A: Answered by goblin1: I noticed that my unlocked Plextor PX-708A burner was underperforming on DVD rips. Was not exactly sure why. Windows showed it to be set up as UDMA2 and the raptor SATA as UDMA5. It seems that with one drive connected to the ICH5 it shares with the standard EIDE ports. Originally I had DVD on IDE controller 2 as Master and the SATA raptor plugged into the ICH5. Above is where the drives were in windows. I then unplugged the DVD from the MB IDE controller 1 and plugged it into IDE controller 2. Since I switched my Plextor to another IDE controller the rip speeds are awsome! (source).

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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrwmountrainier"></a>Q: [708] Does the Plextor PX-708A fully support Mount Rainier for CD-RW and DVD+RW?
A: Simply put: for CD-RW's: yes, for DVD+RW's: no. Answered by bob11879: As described here, the PX-708A drive does support background formatting in MRW for DVD+RW. The specs for defect management and other components for full MRW are still being firmed up and may not be fully supported until the next MS OS release. Vendors will make their drives DVD+MRW compatible when all the specs are released (source). The last statement from Plextor about DVD+MRW and PX-708A is that the PX-708A does not support DVD+MRW. Notice that in this sentence, DVD+MRW means the full MRW capabilities, especially defect management. The background format of DVD+RW media is of course available in PX-708A. As MRW defective block management is done at hardware level, the problem cannot be workaround at software (InCD) level (source).

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<a name="dvdrw-716vibrate"></a>Q: [716] My Plextor PX-716A vibrates a lot when reading and/or writing discs!
A: Here is a reply from Plextor on this issue. Check out this thread for more information on how to solve this problem. Note though that opening your drive will void your warranty! If you have a PX-716A that vibrates contact Plextor and ask them for help.

Quote:
"Strange and big sound, vibration from inside the drive, Our engineer has studied about this and restaged the phenomenon. As the comment from engineer, this might be caused by that the sub chassis will be swerved from body of the drive. Please find the attached file and you can see the photograph of them, the sub chassis is swerved."
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<a name="dvdrw-dvdrw716as"></a>Q: [716] My Plextor PX-716A takes an awful long time to write the lead-in of my DVDR discs.
A: The Plextor PX-716A supports a new technology called AutoStrategy (AS). When you write a disc that is not in the drive's currently installed firmware it will add the information of the disc to its AS database to determine the best possible write method for your disc. This means that the drive can 'learn' to write unsupported media better. So, when your Plextor PX-716A is taking a long time (up to 3 minutes) to write the lead-in, it's checking your disc and using the AS function. When you write an unsupported disc with the same media ID as is already stored in the AS database the burn process will be a lot faster. For more information on AS continue reading in this FAQ <a href="#dvdrw-dvdrwautostrategy">here</a>.

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<a name="firmware"></a>Firmware<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="firmware-fwautostrategy"></a>Q: Important notice when upgrading the firmware of the PX-716x, PX-755x or PX-760x.
A: Plextor recommends to delete an already existing Autostrategy database using Plextools before applying a firmware-update to the drives in question because the old database might not work properly with the new firmware. For more information you can read this thread.

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<a name="firmware-fwintro"></a>Q: What is firmware? Why should I upgrade?
A: Simply said, firmware is the software inside your drive that controls how your drive performs. You can compare firmware to a BIOS for a computer. Firmware versions can be upgraded meaning that you can improve the performance of your drive and/or add new features to it. Generally speaking it's always best to have the latest firmware installed in your drive. But, if your drive is work fine there is no need to upgrade.

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<a name="firmware-fwdownload"></a>Q: Where can I download firmwares for my Plextor drives?
A: You can download firmware upgrades from various Plextor websites: Plextor America and Plextor Europe. Firmware versions posted on either site are identical meaning that Plextor drives bought in America can be flashed with firmware versions released on the European website (and vice versa of course).

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<a name="firmware-fwinstall"></a>Q: How do I upgrade the firmware of my Plextor drive?
A: Download your desired firmware version from the links mentioned in the previous question. The easiest method to flash your Plextor drive is to download the self-extracting firmware files (EXE-files). Once you've downloaded the file you can just start it from Windows. Make sure that you close all applications before flashing and that your Plextor drive is empty before flashing it. Once the upgrade is complete it's best to reboot your computer. Update: the new PlexTools Professional XL software has support for automatic firmware upgrading. It will also inform you whenever a newer firmware version is available for your Plextor drive(s).

Important: when upgrading the firmware of your Plextor PX-716x, PX-755x or PX-760x it's recommended to first clear the AutoStrategy database of the drive. You can clear this database with the PlexTools Professional (or XL). For more information about this you can read this thread.

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<a name="firmware-fwunofficial"></a>Q: I read something about unofficial firmware versions removing region locks and such?
A: Some clever people have changed Plextor firmware versions removing things like region locks. For most drives you will be able to find region free firmware files but keep in mind: flashing your Plextor drive with an unofficial firmware version may void your warranty! Only do this at your own risk!

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<a name="plextools"></a>PlexTools Professional / XL<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="plextools-ptdifference"></a>Q: What's the difference between PlexTools Professional and PlexTools Professional XL?
A: PlexTools Professional XL has been completely reprogrammed and has support for things like automatic firmware upgrading, DVD-Video burning, CUE-sheets, and more.

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<a name="plextools-ptdownload"></a>Q: My Plextor drive didn't come with the PlexTools and/or XL software. Can I get the full version somewhere?
A: Yes you can. If you want to use the PlexTools software you can obtain it from the PlexTools website. If you want to update your PlexTools software you can download updates for free from Plextor. PlexUtilities and PX-Info Utility can also be downloaded from here.

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<a name="plextools-ptalternatives"></a>Q: Are there any alternatives to the PlexTools software?
A: Well, you can use alexnoe's PxScan/PxView software to perform C1/C2 scans (CD error measurement), PI/PO scans (DVD error measurement) and TA test (PX-716A only) using your Premium (only CD error measurement), PX-712A and/or PX-716A drive. But, PlexTools does a lot more than just PI/PO tests and there is no real alternative that offers everything that PlexTools offers. For more information and discussions about PxScan/PxView read this thread. Update: alexnoe's PxScan/PxView software also works with the PX-714A (only sold in China), a drive that is not supported in PlexTools' Q-Check functions!

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<a name="plextools-ptuninstall"></a>Q: I cannot <b>un</b>install PlexTools anymore.
A: PlexTools, like many other software applications, uses the Microsoft Windows Installer to install itself. Sometimes though it can happen that there is a problem and you cannot uninstall PlexTools anymore, preventing you from updating the PlexTools software. With the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility you can solve this problem. Caution is advised though, please read the description on the Microsoft website before using this tool (source).

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<a name="plextools-ptpipo_gen"></a>Q: What is PI/PO DVD quality scanning, and how do I use PlexTools to do it?
A: PI/PO scanning is done in the Q-Check PI/PO section of PlexTools Professional or PlexTools Professional XL. With these scans you can measure the amount of errors your drive picks up during reading and thus this test gives you a good indication of the burn quality of the disc. PI/PO scanning is not an exact science because the amount of errors that are displayed can vary quite a lot, depending on the drive used to read the disc, the used read speed, etc. But, that said, a good disc will show acceptable PI/PO values and it's a good way to compare your scans to other users on this forum (you can find a lot of PI/PO results in this thread).

When performing a PI/PO test in PlexTools you should use at least "Good Accuracy" in order to compare your results to the results posted on this forum (you can change the accuracy of the test in the Preferences of PlexTools). Insert the disc that you want to scan and select your desired test (SUM-1, SUM-8 or BURST). In Good Accuracy mode the PI/PO test will take around 15 minutes for single layered media types and around 30 minutes for double layered media. After the test is over, you can save the results by right-clicking anywhere on the displayed graph. Choose "Save As ... HTML" and then make sure "Portable Network Graphics (*.png)" is selected in this dialog; the default is "Windows BitMap (*.bmp)" which is not suitable for posting on our forums because the file size is too large. Choose a filename and folder you'll remember, and you'll be able to refer back to this scan in the future by double-clicking on the saved .html file - it will open in your Web Browser.

If you want to post a PNG file together with the numeric values of the completed tests you have to use an image manipulation program like PaintShop or PhotoShop. While viewing the scan in your browser, hold down the Alt key and press the PrintScreen key once. Then open PhotoShop/PaintShop, and press Ctrl-V or use Edit|Paste from the menu. Use the cropping tool or rectangular selection tool to crop the image so that the graph and text below it are still in the frame, as we don't need to see which Browser you use or what your Bookmarks/Favorites are! Remember to save the image as Portable Network Graphics (png) format because it produces the clearest images with the smallest file size. Our forum's file upload interface will not allow you to post overly large file sizes.

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<a name="plextools-ptgraphmeaning"></a>Q: Which PI/PO test should I use and what do the produced graphs mean?
A: PlexTools has three different tests for PI/PO scanning; SUM-1, SUM-8 and BURST mode. Each test scans for different errors;
  • PIE: Parity Inner Error
  • PIF: Parity Inner Failure
  • POE: Parity Outer Error
  • POF: Parity Outer Failure
In order to understand the meaning of these errors (without going into too much detail) you should realize that DVD error measurement is performed in two stages: Parity Inner and Parity Outer. If a PIE cannot be corrected by the drive it's a PIF. Then, if that PIF cannot be corrected it's a POE and last but not least if that POE cannot be corrected it's a POF (which is uncorrectable and thus a read error).

The POE errors are usually not reported by a drive and the Plextor drives are the only drives that report it (and only in PlexTools' PI/PO BURST mode). The BURST mode of the PI/PO tests is not used that often on our forum because there is no data available on what the maximum allowed POE levels are. The most important and most often used tests therefore are the SUM-8 and SUM-1 tests (you should perform both, in that order). In the SUM-8 test the drive scans for PIE and POF (first stage) while in the SUM-1 test the drive scans for PIF and POF errors (second stage). The maximum errors levels for PIE, PIF and POF are documented in the ECMA-337 standards but here's an overview:

Code:
Error:  Maximum Allowed PEAK Amount:
- PIE   280
- PIF   4
- POE   ?
- POF   0
So, in conclusion:
  • In the SUM-8 test the PIE peak levels should not exceed 280 while POF should remain 0.
  • In the SUM-1 test the PIF peak levels should not exceed 4 while POF should remain 0.
Discs that show values that exceed the peak levels mentioned above can be considered a bad disc (also referred to as a "coaster"). To further complicate things a refinement of PIE interpretation has arisen via consensus of the posters in this Plextor forum. Namely, the PIE values all the way across the graph mean:
  • Under 20 peak - Excellent quality
  • From 20 to 99 peak - Very Good quality
  • From 100 to 280 peak - Good quality
  • Over 280 peak - Poor quality
If your Plextor DVD writer is working well, you should be able to find a media/burning speed combination that consistently produces Excellent quality results. A good starting point is to use Plextor recommended media, and record on it at the rated speed on the disc packaging. Here are two scans (SUM-8 and SUM-1) of an excellent quality disc:

<center><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
<tr><td align="center"><b>SUM-8</b><br><a href="http://upload.cdfreaks.com/gf/plextor_forum/faq_sum8_excellent.png"><img width="220" height="265" src="http://upload.cdfreaks.com/gf/plextor_forum/faq_sum8_small.png" border="0"></a><br>(click image for bigger version)</td>
<td align="center"><b>SUM-1</b><br><a href="http://upload.cdfreaks.com/gf/plextor_forum/faq_sum1_excellent.png"><img width="220" height="265" src="http://upload.cdfreaks.com/gf/plextor_forum/faq_sum1_small.png" border="0"></a><br>(click image for bigger version)</td></tr></table></center>

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<a name="plextools-ptsourcetoolarge"></a>Q: PlexTools doesn't let me burn CD's anymore, it always gives the error "Source disc is too large"?
A: This error is a common one and is a result of an application that is hiding the CD-R/RW ATIP information (this option is often called something like 'Hide CDR Media'). Likely candites for this problem are CloneCD and Alcohol. Disable the 'Hide CDR Media' options if you have any of these applications installed or uninstall the software applications.

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<a name="protections"></a>Copy Protections<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="protections-cpaudio"></a>Q: Can my Plextor drive deal with audio protections?
A: Yes they can. A lot of audio protections are defeated with a Plextor drive. For example read this page of one of our reviews. The PlexTools has a useful option for copy protected audio discs called "Single Session Only". You should enable this option for your Plextor drive when ripping protected audio discs. For more information on audio protections please check out our Audio Forum.

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<a name="protections-cpsafedisc"></a>Q: Will my Plextor drive make a working back-up of a SafeDisc protected game?
A: In short:

- SafeDisc 1: yes.
- SafeDisc 2: yes, but only the Plextor PX-W2410A and newer.
- SafeDisc 2.51.021: yes, but only the Premium, PX-708A and newer, older drives need CloneCD's 'AWS' option enabled.
- SafeDisc 2.90 and up: no, it's hit and miss really. More information can be found in this thread.

Longer answer:

There are many SafeDisc versions. The first version (1) was very easily copied by any writer that can write in DAO or SAO-RAW mode. But then came SafeDisc 2 which defeated many writers. This version was defeated again with the Plextor PX-W2410TA models and up. They could make a working back-up of SafeDisc 2 without any additional help of programs like BetaBlocker. Up to SafeDisc 2 version 2.40 everything was fine.. Then the ATIP protection was introduced which included a check to see if the used disc was a CD-Recordable or CD-ReWriteable disc. Not a problem when playing the back-up from a normal CD-Rom/DVD-Rom but you have to use CloneCD's or PlexTools' "Hide CDR Media" option to be able to play the game from your writer. Then came SafeDisc 2.51.020 (Tiger Woods) and 2.51.021 (Medal of Honor, GTA3). Some Plextor could copy SafeDisc 2.51.020 just fine but many models would fail with version 2.51.021. But no need to start worrying! CloneCD introduced an option called "Amplify Weak Sectors" for these writers to help them make working back-ups. My personal experience is that AWS works very well with the Plextor drives and they now can make a working back-up of SafeDisc 2.51.021. There's no guarantee though! Some people have reported that it still doesn't work. Starting from the Plextor Premium and Plextor PX-708A SafeDisc 2.51.021 can be copied without the "AWS" option enabled. But, SafeDisc 2.90 and 3.00 (and up) are very hard to copy. You will always need additional software help to make a working back-up. More information can be found in this thread.

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<a name="protections-cpsecurom"></a>Q: Can the Plextor recorders copy the latest SecuROM copy-protections?
A: Well until now there is only one drive that can perfectly copy SecuROM v4.8 and that is the Plextor Premium drive. In combination with the Blindwrite software (4.5.3 or above) the drive is able to make a perfect copy of this protection. For more information see this thread. More information on copying SecuROM with other drive can be found here (using the CloneCD software) and here (using the Alcohol 120% software).

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<a name="misc"></a>Miscellaneous<div style="margin-left: 3em">
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<a name="misc-reviews"></a>Q: Can I find some reviews online of Plextor optical drives?
A: Sure you can. CD Freaks.com has published the following reviews of Plextor drives, a complete overview of all of our reviews can be found here:

DVD Recorder Reviews:

- PX-760A
- PX-755A
- PX-750A
- PX-716A
- PX-712A
- PX-708A
- PX-504A

CD-RW Recorder Reviews:

- Premium
- PX-W4012S (SCSI)
- PX-S2410TU (external)
- PX-W4824TU (external)
- PX-W4824A
- PX-208TU (external)
- PX-W4012TU (external)

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<a name="credits"></a>FAQ Credits<div style="margin-left: 3em">
This FAQ has been written by me, Dennis (a.k.a. G@M3FR3@K), but it uses information provided by our Forum Members. Special credit goes to (in alphabetical order):

- alexnoe
- bob11879
- crossg
- ftp1020
- hwp
- scan80269

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<hr size="1" noshade="noshade" style="border-top: 1px dotted #000000;" />Auto-formatted by FAQFormat65536 v1.1.3.

Last edited by deanwitty; 04-01-2013 at 17:00.
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Old 16-06-2006   #2
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Re: Plextor FAQ - Read this FIRST!

From now on I will post a reply to this FAQ when I change something (worth mentioning). This way people can read what has been changed exactly. Feel free to contact me via our Private Messaging System when you want to add something or when you find a problem in the Plextor FAQ!

Changes June 16th 2006:
  • Added a note about upgrading the firmware of drives that support AutoStrategy. Thanks hwp.
  • Added the links to CD Freaks' latest Plextor reviews and removed the preview links.
Changes January 10th 2006:
  • As requested via PM I have completely rewritten the PI/PO error measuring part of the FAQ. Hopefully it's now understandable for everyone! If not, contact me (also if something is wrong of course)
  • Updated the information on bitsetting and Plextor drives (thanks for the tip alexnoe).
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