I’m sure there will be faster 16x burners
Not likely, unless you eliminate the OPC. The rotational speed is at the max at 16x CAV, so the only way to improve times will be in the lead-in / lead-out times and OPC checks. The differences will be small. At 12x the differences are in how fast the drive ramps up to 12x, which again is limited by the max rotational speeds. Ultimately many folks will wind up burning at 12x instead of 16x to preserve quality, because the times will be very close. At 16x, the Benq actually reaches 12x much sooner than the Plex does at 12x, but OC didn’t post any 12x tests on the Benq to see if it follows the same curve at 12 max burn speed.
In any case, differences will driven more by the media than the drive. One drive will burn a given media at higher speed than another, and that’s where we should be looking for the true definition of speed. It does no good to claim a speed advantage if the drive only does it on one type of media, or if it constantly slows the burn speed mid-burn due to OPC intervention.
The NEC 2500 is one of the best burners around at present, but you don’t see anyone complaining about the fact that it’s also one of the “slowest” at 8x. That’s because it truly does burn at 8x on most all media (thanks to Herrie), and doesn’t slow down mid-burn, so in effect it’s faster than the “faster” drives on most media. (assuming they even allow 8x in the first place).