Best/better Diagnostic Scanning capable drives? 16x discussion

vbimport

#1

I read a post where a guy expressed frustration that he had bought a drive which ‘did not support diagnostic scanning’ (it was an NEC), and now that he knew more about drives (from the forum), he will never buy an error-checking-incapable drive again.

That sounded like good advice. I have learned to read the PI/PIF charts being graciously posted here, and now know a good burn when I see it.

  • When someone says an NEC “does not support error checking”, does that mean it doesn’t come with error checking software, or does this mean you actually can only check the damn disk using a completely different (and supporting drive)? I think the answer is the latter, because come to think of it, my recollection is that many people are scanning their 3520A burns with a BenQ, but I (originally?) thought that was just because the BenQ was supposed to be a better reader.

  • Which drives come with error checking software? (I think Plextor 716A does, but considering one poster who had taken his 716A apart and said it was of the crappiest quality he’d ‘ever’ seen in a DVD recordable, and the stories of strange noises coming out of these drives, I think I’m gonna pass, despite the tempting overburning software!)

  • Are there (free) error checking softwares available?

  • I’m not an expert on Nero CD Speed, but it seems to not do any PI/PIF error checking. However it does seem to check the ‘ease’ with which a drive can read a disk. I know what the top (green) arcing line means (the speed of the drive over time), but I have never been able to figure out what the bottom (yellow, straighter) line means, due to bad labeling of the chart (didn’t their math teacher tell them that if a number’s not labeled, it doesn’t mean anything?). And of course, CD Speed is supported by all drives (including NEC).

  • I am confused over this “1 sheep”/“2 sheep” thing. I searched the archives, and this was the best discussion I could find on the subject, but it seemed to raise as many questions as it answered. Seems to be an ability to defeat a certain copy prevention scheme, affecting mostly backing up games? I want to be able to rip my audio CD’s to my computer. Others will want to be able to back up their DVD movies. If some of these error-checkable drives are better than others in that arena, I think it should be noted.
    http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=122153&highlight=sheep

I might as well state that I am looking for 8x DVD+RW capability and 16x DVD+R capability (although some 12x writers seem to be as fast as 16x, depending on CAV/CLV,P-CAV, which I am not an expert on). DL speed is not important to me but should be mentioned in passing for other readers.

I also would like a drive which can READ WELL, as in being able to read older CD-R’s, crappy burns from other drives, and burned disks in general which may be fading (I don’t trust at all the “100 year lifespan” claims of disk mfr’s). After all, if you can’t read your data, what’s the use? I know some have multiple drives, but I want to AVOID that, please :slight_smile: . The NEC 3520A seems from most accounts to be a bad “reader”, while many have touted BenQ’s reading ability.

Also, having a drive which is as quiet as possible is important to me.

I guess the last issue is overburning and custom firmwares (like to remove riplock, bitset [some bitset out-of-box], etc), which is somewhat important to me, but will probably be more important to lurkers/researchers. To me, having high quality burns in the first place is probably more important.

I know there have been a lot of “3520A or 716A?” and “Which burner should I buy?” type threads lately (which have been helpful to me), but I wanted to start a thread for only those drives which support PI/PIF checking, if I am on the right track. And since “what is the best burner?” questions are always answered by, “It depends on what you want to do”, the answers here will be a sharing of knowledge and features to let readers make up their own minds.

I know this is a lot (answer whatever you can), but those drives capable of 90+ minute CD-R burning (and how that is done), please list it. Also if the drive can’t get up to 48x CD-R burns, that’s worthy of note, too. Share whatever else you feel is important, too, of course.

Here are the drives I have been able to figure out (I think).

PI/PIF checking/diagnostic scanning support:

YES
-BenQ 1620A - overspeed quality: great. standard speed writing: good to great. reading: great. (right?) Not a “2 sheep writer”. Apparently +R and +RW bitsetting out of box? No custom firmware yet, but that would only be to remove the (I think 10x?) riplock. Gaining notoriety and seems to be emerging as a winner to those who want good read and write quality with error checking capability and value.
-Plextor 716A. Reported crap build quality & QC/reliability/noise problems. Awesome software complement. Almost twice the cost of other comparable burners. Mixed results on scans. Decent modded firmware support. 8x+RW.

NO
-LG 4163. Overspeed burning: okay. standard speed writing: great. “2 sheep writer”. bitsetting: +R, but not +RW. Riplock: yes, I think. No custom firmware, I think. Supports DVD-RAM (unimportant to most, very important to a few). Main drawback appears to be lack of error-checking capability.
-NEC (all… including 3500A, 3520A, and upcoming 3530A[?]).
3500A: “The” classic 16x burner (4x +RW), low-cost OEM, great burns, tons of firmwares, quiet, but no error checking. Now hard to impossible to find.
3520A: off to a rough start. Main advantage is 8x +RW. Actively-developing modded and even greatly-improved writing strategy firmware (thanks Dee-27 and Liggy, et al!), but still unproven, not a clear choice with many sketchy scan posts. Burns well at rated and underspeeds less than 16x, but whether it is really a 16x burner even with rated media still seems debatable. Bad factory firmware media code support.
3530A: not released yet, AFAIK. Some info on it in the archives, but looks like still no PI/PIF error checking capability.

Not sure where Pioneer falls into this, or if they are falling behind in the whole arena. Ditto on Lite-On, who does seem to be falling behind just from not seeing much discussion on them lately. Pretty noisy drives anyway in my experience.


#2

i’ll take a shot at answering some of the questions in your in-depth post:

  • When someone says an NEC “does not support error checking”, does that mean it doesn’t come with error checking software, or does this mean you actually can only check the damn disk using a completely different (and supporting drive)? I think the answer is the latter, because come to think of it, my recollection is that many people are scanning their 3520A burns with a BenQ, but I (originally?) thought that was just because the BenQ was supposed to be a better reader.
    NEC does not support error checking.
  • Which drives come with error checking software? (I think Plextor 716A does, but considering one poster who had taken his 716A apart and said it was of the crappiest quality he’d ‘ever’ seen in a DVD recordable, and the stories of strange noises coming out of these drives, I think I’m gonna pass, despite the tempting overburning software!)
    Nero CD/DVD Speed is freeware and works on most all error-checking capable drives except Plextors. most Lite-On owners use Kprobe however. I understand that you’re concerned about the build-quality based on some of the posts, but people generally don’t post about “build quality” if they’re not having issues. i have 4 Plextor drives and they’re all solid IMHO. Plextors, AFAIK, overburn discs (both CD/DVD) just fine and relatively better than other overburning capable drives (dunno if any other drives can even overburn DVDs).
  • Are there (free) error checking softwares available?

Nero CD/DVD Speed (http://www.cdspeed2000.com/)

  • I’m not an expert on Nero CD Speed, but it seems to not do any PI/PIF error checking. However it does seem to check the ‘ease’ with which a drive can read a disk. I know what the top (green) arcing line means (the speed of the drive over time), but I have never been able to figure out what the bottom (yellow, straighter) line means, due to bad labeling of the chart (didn’t their math teacher tell them that if a number’s not labeled, it doesn’t mean anything?). And of course, CD Speed is supported by all drives (including NEC).
    Nero CD Speed “Disc Quality Check” does analyze PI errors/failures as well as jitter. what you’re referring to is a Read Transfer Rate test (also an indicator of disc quality FOR THAT PARTICULAR drive). the bottom line is the RPMs of the drive (nominally how fast the disc is spinning).
  • I am confused over this “1 sheep”/“2 sheep” thing. I searched the archives, and this was the best discussion I could find on the subject, but it seemed to raise as many questions as it answered. Seems to be an ability to defeat a certain copy prevention scheme, affecting mostly backing up games? I want to be able to rip my audio CD’s to my computer. Others will want to be able to back up their DVD movies. If some of these error-checkable drives are better than others in that arena, I think it should be noted.
    http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread...highlight=sheep
    the Sheep thing stems from CloneCDs logo and refers to a drive’s ability to overcome certain copy protections (like you mentioned). Ripping Audio CDs doesn’t have to do with Sheep but newer Audio CDs have various types of copy protection that can be overcome a number of diff ways (e.g AnyDVD). Plextors have been known to have the best Audio CD ripping capabilities (especially the Premium and especially through the use of Plextools Pro’s Digital Audio Extraction/DAE function which handles poorly read sectors very well).

I might as well state that I am looking for 8x DVD+RW capability and 16x DVD+R capability (although some 12x writers seem to be as fast as 16x, depending on CAV/CLV,P-CAV, which I am not an expert on). DL speed is not important to me but should be mentioned in passing for other readers.
8X DVD+RW is being introduced to more and more drives via firmware upgrades. blank media certified at those speeds, however, is a different matter.

I also would like a drive which can READ WELL, as in being able to read older CD-R’s, crappy burns from other drives, and burned disks in general which may be fading (I don’t trust at all the “100 year lifespan” claims of disk mfr’s). After all, if you can’t read your data, what’s the use? I know some have multiple drives, but I want to AVOID that, please . The NEC 3520A seems from most accounts to be a bad “reader”, while many have touted BenQ’s reading ability.
IMHO, plextor’s are the best readers (maybe not the fastest) but the most accurate and capable when dealing with poor quality (sometimes even cracked) discs. BenQ’s have good read capabilities, but based on CDF reviews, are not as fast as Plextors.

Also, having a drive which is as quiet as possible is important to me.
very subjective, you’ll have to hear them for yourself but the BenQ appears to be very very quiet.

I guess the last issue is overburning and custom firmwares (like to remove riplock, bitset [some bitset out-of-box], etc), which is somewhat important to me, but will probably be more important to lurkers/researchers. To me, having high quality burns in the first place is probably more important.
see above re: overburning. Plextors actually don’t have any “unofficial/modded” firmwares which can be viewed as a good OR bad thing. i think it’s good (less hassle finding the right one).

PI/PIF checking/diagnostic scanning support:

YES
-BenQ 1620A - overspeed quality: great. standard speed writing: good to great. reading: great. (right?) Not a “2 sheep writer”. Apparently +R and +RW bitsetting out of box? No custom firmware yet, but that would only be to remove the (I think 10x?) riplock. Gaining notoriety and seems to be emerging as a winner to those who want good read and write quality with error checking capability and value.
-Plextor 716A. Reported crap build quality & QC/reliability/noise problems. Awesome software complement. Almost twice the cost of other comparable burners. Mixed results on scans. Decent modded firmware support. 8x+RW.

These are the only 2 drives i would consider buying personally. again, no “modded” FWs for plextors. OC-Freak posted a statistic gathered from a retailer regarding failure rates and Plextors had something like 0.67%, NEC-0.47%, LG and one other like 4%.

don’t mean to offend you, but pretty much all of this info is readily available here at CDF already, i think you just wanted it all summed up in one post. well, here’s my effort at that.

good luck in your decision making and let us know what you go with…

-drpino


#3

Ill try and add some comments

 I own 2 burners I use regularly
 
 BenQ 1620 & Plextor 716
 
[b]Plextor 716[/b]

Ok, Plextor made the ultimate mess by releasing the drive while it still had a few hardware bugs. These should now be a thing of the past with the version 2 hardware (Version 020x thats currently shipping).
They are quiet, the riplock allows 2x CAV for DVD playback & can be removed using the 3 flash eject trick or the software that comes with the retail drive.
They support “iffy” media, I have achived exelent burns on some really cheap AN31 media & some burns that are better than the originals on CMC media. (Still waiting for some cheap TY to come my way)
This drive reads any disc I throw at it, including ones that have a crack in them (my fault, I sat on the disc)
Supports media checking BUT takes multiple passes to do all the tests

 [b]BenQ 1620[/b]
 
 Fast writer
 Has some problems with "Iffy" media but burns very well on good media. (wont write to my AN31 discs)
 Noisey as it is not rip locked - needs software to slow the drive down to make it quiet
 Supports Nero CD Speed for quality testing (Major plus as this software does almost all tests in 1 pass).

Personally up till a few days ago I would have said go with the BenQ but now after a few days to see what the Plextor offers I would say
PX-716
I think it will cause you less problems in the long run


#4

Thank you drpino, no not offended at all. Thanks for the the corrections, too–you’re doin’ what I asked you to! I realize “all” this info is available elsewhere in the archives, but separated into a million little bits. I did look on the General Recording forum for a discussion such as this–for a thread on which support error checking, and what are the pros and cons of each, but I did not find such a discussion, so it had to be invented.

The info I had amassed (not all of which I was sure or correct about, obviously) came from hours and hours of following the group over the past weeks and months, and with as many questions as I still had, most people don’t have the time resources to even get halfway as far as I did, so your thoughtful reply was much appreciated.

qwakrz, Your post was enlightening and valuable considering you have experience with both drives. Very valuable to know the differences in media munching appetite. Amazing that the 716A could read some cracked disks!! Wow. That’s pretty serious.

Personally up till a few days ago I would have said go with the BenQ but now after a few days to see what the Plextor offers I would say PX-716

Well, see now, this is why I ask questions. Things change. When the 716 came out, I almost pulled the trigger on it, but then I was glad I waited once the kprobe scans started rolling in. I think there was a rebate on it around Christmas and I almost did it, but resisted. No more rebate, it seems… Actually, I just checked Plextor’s website, and though the original one ended, a new one (still $30) took its place, and is good till march '05, which is nice.
http://www.plextor.com/english/products/product_promotions.html
Before that, I was gonna remark how newegg’s current price of $130 ($3.50 shipping) is more than double that of an NEC 3520A or BenQ 1620 (currently sold out).

Rebate form says "offer good on retail kits with UPC barcode 7_6507510744_2 and 7_6507510745_9. Do you think those UPC numbers represent hardware versions 1 and 2? I wonder if there are any other retail 716A UPC’s floating out there; since I’ll probably order online, I don’t wanna get skrewed. (Plex’s UPC code page is not updated to include the 716.)

BTW, do ppl out there have any other favorite retailers than just NewEgg? It’s currently not available from Amazon (unless you want a 10-pack). In my first order from Newegg recently, I bought an Asus video card which was DOA, and it looks like they did not give me a break from their policy on charging a restocking fee even on DOA merchandise, something I understand their philosophy on, but did not agree with in my circumstance and wouldn’t have enforced if I were the CSR. So much for their ‘great service’; I prefer Amazon (not their eMerchants) when possible as they really take ownership, but they don’t have the same selection on comp gear. Buy.com’s support is still abysmal and Indian. Amazon’s is Indian too, but their policies and possibly training must make the difference (only good Indian service I’ve ever gotten).

(Kinda) good to hear about the hardware ver. 2 on the drive (kinda bad, too). Makes me wonder if there’ll be a “hardware 3”. But kinda bad, as it obviously does not engender trust in a company which releases physical products in such haste. Buggy firmware is one thing, fixed by a simple download. I hope those stories of the chassis migrating sideways and things popping out & rattling inside and noisy vibrations are all a thing of HW v1!

So, if I understand correctly, CD Speed only checks PI errors, not PI Failures (PIF’s)? Aren’t the PIF’s really what counts more (I know they are both important)? When I look at a scan, I first look at the PIF’s. Getting a burn with low PIF’s but high PI’s is kind of like getting a sundae with no whipped cream.

Is a recent-version Nero DriveSpeed’s “silent mode” software setting enough to quiet down the BenQ’s absence of riplock? (I think that may have been what you were referring to; unsure if there are any more options, but I’ve always liked this program, and now it’s even better.)

At various consecutive points, I nearly bought a 716A, the 3520A, the 1620, and now I guess it’s back to more final research on the 716A… full circle.

Thanks for the tip that Plexy is the ONLY (?!) DVD burner which will do ‘overburning’ or some kind of track compression?!

Does Plexy’s Digital Audio Extraction software work in conjunction with something like Exact Audio Copy, or if you use a program like EAC, does this aspect of the Plextor become irrelevant (is Plex’s DAE software standalone or a background facilitator, I guess is what I’m asking)? Thanks for the tip on DAE ot all my CD’s are in perfect shape.

I’m sure this discussion will be VERY helpful to a lot of readers. This is collecting a lot of quite disparate info into one place. Thanks again for all participants’ help! This is an excellent bunch we’ve got here.


#5

there have actually already been 3 hardware revisions of the 716. TLA 00XX is the only one that had serious issues. TLA 01XX and 02XX don’t (i have both) and you can view many others who have TLA 01XX with no issues either.

every piece of hardware, be it from Plextor or not, has hardware revisions. i think we’re actually lucky that we can discern revisions…other manufacturers don’t necessarily make that info available (though of course we don’t KNOW what the revision was specifically). Plextor has good quality products in my opinion and their warranty policy and RMA service is very good, if not the best in the industry.

CD speed shows PIE, PIF and POF. PIF being more indicative of quality than PIE and POF being indicative of a coaster and something you want to avoid completely.

not sure if Plex’s are the only burners that can overburn, but i know they do it well.

Plex’s DAE is a function of Plextools Professional which comes with the drive and serves the same exact function as EAC so no need to do them both just one or the other (i recommend DAE over EAC as it really plays to the drive’s reading ability). non-plextor owners typically use EAC to emulate the accuracy of Plextools DAE.


#6

Greetz brjones,
I think drpino and qwakrz did a good job supplying you with the requested info.
I just wanted to point out that you should also not forget to check the CDFreaks.com Reviews section, as they also contain much of the information that you are looking for. :wink:


#7

my 2 cents…

from what i have read so far, even with fw 1.04 the 716a still has some serious issues at 16x…if i were to buy a drive right now i would go with the 1620 and use the savings to buy some discs. you can buy alot of discswith the $70 you will save on the 1620.

that aside, if the 716a ever gets its act together i will pony up for one…it’s got features coming out it’s ying yang


#8

Good point.

non-plextor owners typically use EAC to emulate the accuracy of Plextools DAE.

For our readers who are interested, I found a great screenshot of Plextools DAE (digital audio extraction) here:
http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=119928&highlight=PLEXTOR+EAC

But I have some questions about Plextools DAE:

  • what control, if any, does it give over ID3 tags? EAC gives huge control over that.
  • I see it has Ogg and LAME support–can you manually provide or point it to the Ogg and LAME encoder YOU want, or is it some kind of embedded thing? Ogg is now at 1.1.0 or 1.2, and I don’t want to be stuck with an old encoder I can’t update. EAC lets (makes) you manually specify the ogg encoder exe, which in my book is key.

Is it just me, or does it seem that the 716A’s get slightly higher [worse] PIF’s on average than the 1620’s with decent media? I’ve been going over the media scans a lot.

Well, that’s sucky the Plextor won’t support Nero’s CD-DVD Speed. What’s up with that? Will this change?

Is the DW1620 going to achieve 8x +RW capability via firmware update? This sounds like a simple question but after doing some searching, I’m not coming up with anything; search tool doesn’t even like the parameters. If 8x +RW is not in the future, I guess the scales will tip in favor of Plex.

Can the 1620 “overburn” disks–at all, even if not as well as the Plextor (i.e. using Nero’s support of this, the effectiveness of which I know varies from drive to drive)? (Interesting thread on overburning CD’s, but this is an old thread; things have gotten better since then: http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=89828&highlight=1620+overburn ).
So far, I find the “Gigarec” feature for CD-R’s and overburning DVD+R’s the most compelling feature about the PX-716A, and might be the straw which breaks the camel’s back.

But things like this keep worrying me (I’ve seen too much of this from Plextor’s; I haven’t seen any consistency like this with the BenQ’s in this club):
By MarkA from http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=122758&highlight=plextor+rma+vibrating

I have a BenQ 1620 and a NEC 3500A. I’ve burned many disks testing autostrategy and I don’t see where it’s all that brilliant. I’ve had 5 PX-716A’s and there has been something wrong with everyone of them. The one I got Friday has now started vibrating badly with every disk I put in the drive. The only drive I have that seems to be OK is the one Plextor sent back to me after and RMA. It’s a TLA0101. I have firmware version 3 now, but this drive isn’t quite ready for prime time yet. I loathe the day I went into Best Buy and started my adventure with this drive. I’ve been buying Plextor drives since the early 90s and I’m not a novice to all this, except these scans.

Yikes, eh? Scary. Although his is the worst experience, I’ve certainly seen a surprising amount of this type of stuff in the 716A posts, and I haven’t just been fishing the Plex forum. I’ve followed the NEC and BenQ forums too, and didn’t see such consistent problems, which, despite what is written here, seems to extend from the posts I’ve seen, even to TLA#0202.

And yes, wesociety, of course I checked the reviews section. I read the Plextor 716A review ( http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/170 ) at least twice with interest. In fact, the link to that review is not only on the reviews page you provided, but also linked in the “Read First!” section of the Plex Forum (with forum reaction). I’ve seen a lot of the “you could’ve/should’ve done a search on that” stuff on this board, but it’s disconcerting to see it come from a moderator, especially when the requested info & discussion was definitely not in the review or provided link. I say this acknowledging you were saying it with an ostensible air of positivity, or I thought perhaps you included the link for noobs, but you definitely directed the comment at me. I agree that pure lazy idiots should be told to do a search, but come on, did it really sound like I hadn’t even read the 716A review?


#9

The “yellow line” in CDspeed, I haven’t noticed a description yet, so here goes:

The GREEN is the transfer rate, and we’ve seen the straight line that is CLV, the stepped line (on write) that is Zone-CLV, the slope that is CAV, and the slope-straight that is P-CAV (assuming perfect transfer rate in each case).

The YELLOW line represents the RPM - where the transfer rate is flat (CLV sections) the yellow line will be falling and where the transfer rate is rising (CAV sections), the yellow line will be flat.


#10

please do yourself a favor and buy both drives from a place with a liberal return/exchange policy. play around with them for 30 days (or however long you have) and make your decision based on your own usage. based on your questions and/or hesitation, this is the only/best way i think you’ll ultimately be satisfied with your decision. my $0.02.


#11

that’s good advice…i know that bestbuy sells the 716a (30 day no-restocking fee), but i don’t know where one can find the benq 1620. you could try an i/o magic (curcuit city or staples), but you may have to try mutiple venders as more and more of the i/o drives are now btc’s (pure junk)…


#12

I wasn’t asking for buying advice. I was asking technical questions. In my opinion, there is no need to buy two drives knowing I would RMA at least one. But even moreso, there is nothing I would learn from buying 2 drives which couldn’t be learned from answers to questions I have asked here.

If drpino would have wanted to be helpful (as he almost always is, but not in this case), perhaps he could have answered at least one of my questions in his reply to me, such as if 8x +RW is in the cards for the 1620. Do a search yourself with the parameters “1620 8x +rw” (or any variation of this which you see fit); you will come back with an error or 0 returns. Just the term 8x will return an error. A google search yielded no indication that 8x would ever be in the offing for the DW1620. I clearly indicated that if 4x was never going to happen for the 1620, that that in itself would be enough to tip it for me and some other people who might be interested in using it for backups and such, whether the medium is currently available or not.

drpino does not own a benq dw1620, but he does own plextors, and is arguably the most pro-plextor person on this forum, so he could have easily gone into Plextools and answered my question about Plextool DAE’s codec specifiability and ID3 embedding capability, but he did not. I personally don’t know what is up with some of the senior members seeing that someone is a new member and treating them like they have never made an online purchase or posted in a forum or worked in the tech field. I noticed this phenomenon on this board while lurking before joining, which is why I and some others often “justify” out posts or questions. The senior members are valuable, but they are in a way just as valuable as the noobs, because without either there would be very little discussion, or info to archive here for the benefit of others.

The (useful) information gathered in this thread will be of help to many people considering purchases, as most all of the people who visit this forum for research on these drives will have at least some of the questions I have posted here.

716A looks like somewhat of a dice roll, but I don’t burn a lot of disks so I will be careful with the media I buy. MCC004 / MCC 004 's, although pricey, seem to be the best choice for the 716A, and the 1.04 firmware seems to improve writing, especially at 16x. MCC004’s (Mitsubishi chemical/Verbatim) metal azo dye has probably the best longevity of all the dyes.

If anyone wants to answer my question on Plextools DAE or any other questions I’ve asked, please yet feel free and encouraged. Thank you to all who have replied in an informative manner which is respectful to both myself and the research which went into this post.


#13

Well, I went with the PX-716A. It seems to be the only drive which can check C2 errors AND do 8x DVD+RW (when media becomes available, of course). I have been closely watching the PI/PIF scans and with MCC004’s, the 716A and 1620 appear neck-and-neck with 716A’s FW 1.04, with the 716A actually perhaps taking the lead now. Zevia and some others have posted side-by-side comparisons which are available in the Firmware 1.04 thread. But I admit the most amazing burns I’ve seen have been on the DW6120. Someone on that forum even suggested a “hall of fame” thread for burns. Thanks all who who answered some of these questions. And a big THANK-YOU to ALL of you who have been posting your PIF scans. You really made the difference.

I am an extremely hard shopper, and right now, the best deal I is know of for the <a target="_blank" href=“http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oGyiR6mHBDU&offerid=63348.374552370&type=10&subid=”>PX-716A</a> is at buy.com. I researched all their current coupons and there are several ways to do this. They are discounting the normal price of $130 (pretty typical for etailers) by $10 in an <a target="_blank" href=“http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oGyiR6mHBDU&offerid=63348.374552370&type=10&subid=">"instant rebate”</a> which essentially means they just lower the price by $10 in the shopping card. And then there is of course (some may not know about this) the current $30 mail-in rebate being offered by Plextor which is available at the buy.com link I gave for the Plextor, or at Plextor’s website, or at many other etailers. Unfortunately by the time some may read this, that promotion may be over as it ends by the end of day Jan 31 I think. The $30 mail-in rebate goes till March 31, '05, though, and there may be one after that. Buy.com is currently doing free shipping on this drive (plus tax if purchased in California). So after rebates and before tax, $90, not bad; best I could find. Perhaps more importantly though is that they have a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy with no restocking fee (more and more unusual). You have to pay shipping back, of course.

I did some price search engines and even the NewEgg price is higher right now. I noticed that they just lowered it from $130 by $6 to $124 with free shipping–pretty good, but still $4 more and they have a restocking fee. Probably trying to compete w/Buy.com’s deal. I hate buy.com’s customer service (Indian, not very responsive, sometimes not at all) but at least they have the return policy. NewEgg’s service is apparently American and more responsive, but there’s a restocking fee even on DOA refunds (as I recently experienced).

I monitor the bargains watch pages and Buy.com has been doing some “new customers only” type promotions. There is a <a target="_blank" href=“http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oGyiR6mHBDU&offerid=63348.10000630&type=3&subid=0”>$10 off $150</a> coupon in computers, software, etc. for new customers. But that too expires end of Jan 31 too, and it seems the Plextor won’t count towards the $150 threshold due to the current $10 discount on that item.

The really cool and convenient thing is that I saw there is now a $10 rebate on the MCC004 / MCC 004 DVD’s, also at Buy.com. They are sold as <a target="_blank" href=“http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oGyiR6mHBDU&offerid=63348.379879938&type=10&subid=”>Verbatim 16x DVD+R model 95033</a> 25-piece spindle. Buy.com has the Verbatim rebate PDF form posted. This rebate period ends Feb 15, so that’s good. I tried to find it elsewhere, but neither Newegg nor Amazon currently have something like this posted. The Verbatim rebate form says that the DVD+R’s must be purchased “from select e-tailers”, but then doesn’t list them?! I went to Verbatim’s website and not only did I not find the list of participating retailers, I couldn’t even find the rebate itself. Current price is $21.64 - $10 MIR = $11.64/25, around $23.25 for 50, almost as cheap as the low-speed cheap stuff. Although I couldn’t find any current other rebate participators, little matter because this is the best price I could find before rebate anyway, as there is free shipping on this item on orders over $25, and the rebate is good up to 3 packs, so I picked up 3.

The rebate form didn’t mention if the rebates had to be submitted separately, or if they could be submitted together. I searched and apparently the MCC004’s are only being sold in 25-pack spindles from Verbatim, not 50’s or 100’s (not sure if sold under any other brand names?).

MCC004’s from my ogling of the PI/PIF scans have been getting the lowest error rates (PIF’s in particular) on the PX-716A from what I’ve seen. Which is good, and I’d rather have it that way, as their Metal Azo is apparently the longest-lasting dye in their industry; Azo of any type is generally considered better than any non-AZO dye.

Newegg has them for $20 but shipping is $4, probably on each spindle. And no rebate is listed there, as of this posting. The 95033 is also listed on Amazon, but there’s no rebate there as of this post, and it is offered through eMerchant Office Depot so you’d pay shipping and tax anywhere. I’d rather purchase anything (directly) from Amazon than buy.com because Amazon has better service and better policies. But with their eMerchants, you’re not really buying from Amazon, you’re buying ‘through’ it from the Merchant with their policies (no Super Saver shipping). Unfortunately (and somewhat surprisingly), Amazon.com does not have the PX-716A in stock (unless you want to order a 10-pack!). They do have the DW1620 (kind of hard to find right now) (currently $75), but it is offered through Amazon’s TigerDirect eMerchant, who I really avoid from experiences I’ve read (who knows, they may be good now), but you’d pay shipping on it anyway.

Thanks for the constructive input helping me to make my decision. Anyone feel free to answer any remaining q’s as it’ll be some time before mine arrives. Thanks, guys.


#14

man you’re verbose…ever think that i could conceivably NOT have access to my main computer when replying and can’t “easily” go into PT to check on your DAE question (that i don’t know the answer to off the top of my head)…talk about making an assumption. i may own plextors and not the BenQ but that doesn’t mean i haven’t used other ODDs extensively. i have had good experiences and reasons to buy plextors…

regarding the 1620 and 8X RW capability…i didn’t know the answer and wasn’t about to mimic all your searches just to come to the same conclusion. and i don’t know what is up with you feeling that senior members treat new members in that fashion. what does happen is frustration when reading repetitive questions/posts when answers are EASILY accessible via some effort/reading.

regarding your MCC004s, here’s another retailer offering the rebate (total is more than what you’re paying though): http://club.cdfreaks.com/showpost.php?p=847824&postcount=39

your posts haven’t really offered any new information that wasn’t already available here (that i managed to find, read and learn about on my own without shirking my own efforts and asking someone else to compile answers for me)…so get off your high horse…


#15

do you have many friends? because this is not how you make them. you need to work on your people skills…nasty…very nasty… :a


#16

Sorry, but no more offense meant here than what was originally intended towards me, which I’m sure was none. Spry, you know I appreciate your posts here and elsewhere, come on; I thought I was very clear about that. Let’s not get personal, especially when nothing but affection has been shown for you; you’re too cool for that. And I have huge respect and thanks for drpino as I think I have stated in every single post in this thread. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear enough. He is a prolific and probably the most helpful poster on the plextor board, and I read many of his posts in the months leading up to my 1st. Sometimes he is as “curt” as I am “verbose”, and I’ll admit that we can both be to those extremes to a fault. Nobody’s perfect. It’s just a different style, and as long as both parties are respectful, both styles are not only useful but necessary. I try to be thorough as to ironically NOT be told “hey, this was already available here–‘do a search’”. I’m not going to be one of those people who posts “What’s the difference between the 3500A and the 3520A?” for the fifth or 20th time. And I haven’t done that. And you know what, in a discussion board, some things are just going to come up more than once, and that’s okay. Don’t invalidate the efforts I’ve clearly made on my own. Sometimes you just need to ask a question. So who’s on a high horse–hopefully no one, hopefully we’re just looking at the same thing from two different perspectives.

No one’s ever offered half as much thanks or praise or thanks me for any help I’ve given in a technical forum, this one included, as I offered to both of you here (and not just you two–I don’t want to forget to thank everyone else), and that appreciation still stands. And no one’s ever complained about me being verbose when I’ve given an answer to someone as detailed as one of my questions. The posting FAQ clearly states to include as much detail in your question as possible. The normal problem with questions is too little information, but I’ll be the first to admit sometimes it can be too much. Just my style; I’m trying to do my best.

I don’t want to be on anyone’s bad side. Especially not on the bad side of those who treat others with respect, as I always try to, even if (sometimes especially if) I disagree with them. Sorry if that didn’t come through despite my efforts; that would be my fault then.

I admit the surprising level of detail which has developed behind these drives has been frustrating, but don’t think for a minute that any of that frustration is aimed at anyone personally. The learning curve is pretty huge, but thanks to this group and people like Spry and especially drpino, I’ve completed the steepest part of it. I do stand by my statement that there is an air of superiority sometimes imbued in the often short and unhelpful or off-topic, and sometimes even terse or flat-out disrespectful comments of some members towards members who have a genuine and well-researched question. One thing I don’t like to see is anyone creating an inhospitable or threatening environment for those posting. That’s the last thing I would want to do, but don’t accuse me of the same simply for pointing out that it occurs. I’ve stood up for other people who have asked questions which others found completely pointless.

Please remember to not assume the worst about me. I’m a conscientious person, sometimes to a fault. If there’s one thing which should come through my posts, it’s my will for there to be mutual respect and help in this community. Thanks qwakrz, drpino, matth, and spry for your HELP. It was this information in this thread–your answers–which helped me make my decision. If it is not understood by now, I appreciate and admire every single person who has replied in this post.


#17

brjones…i think your post was very thoughtful (unlike mine) and sincere and im sure we won’t run into this sort of miscommunication again. i’ll do my best not to misinterpret things and become defensive as i have a tendency to do. all i can say in response is happy burning and we all look forward to hearing more about your experiences with your new drive. feel free to continue asking questions should you have any and i’ll do my best to offer some help where i can. :slight_smile:

now where are those error checking scans :wink: