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.
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.