I would suggest you upgrade to fw 1.03. This firmware works very well with the AutoStrategy technology. AS technology is one of the coolest invention from plextor, in my opinion. The AS function can "learn" the best writing strategies for any kind of media, especially the unsupported ones. The writing strategy for the supported media is stored in the firmware, while the unsupported media, that you have burned in your drive, will be stored in the AS database. You can access the database from Plextools-Drive Settings-Advanced-AutoStrategy Database. This is what my database looks like, currently. http://club.cdfreaks.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=18120&stc=1
I would like to explain this graphically, as follow: http://club.cdfreaks.com/showpost.php?p=790798&postcount=36
Gamefreak's first pic is a coaster (PIE max above 280). You can see that PIE max reached above 400. The AS technology then kicked-in in next burns. The second burn was good, and third burn was excellent. Unfortunately in order the drive to "learn", there is a price to pay: the drive needs to learn (ie burn) at least one or two disks, and also may reduce the burn speed. If you love quality better than speed, this is what you want. My 712a can burn crappy Teon from staples (Media ID: CMCMAG.E01) at 8x but the result is a coaster. So everytime I burn with CMCMAG.E01 I have to lower the speed and I always forgot about it since my default burn speed is set to MAX. The 716a with the AS will never forget as long as you enable the AutoStrategy in Plextools-Drive Settings-Advanced.
Sorry for the long words and I hope youre not offended by the "lecture". Now back to your problems.
I do live in US and tried the 1.03.I went back to 1.02 cause the 1.03 caused a severe delay on lead-in!
The long lead-in in 1.03 is completely normal, the drive was actually trying to check and register the media ID into the AS database. This will happen only for the first burn of the media ID in the drive. The second burn and so will be much faster (no long lead-in) since the media ID is already in the database.
Media I've been using Sony DVD-R 8x
The media ID for my Sony DVD-R 8x (made in Japan) is Sony08D1. It's not listed in the AS database so it's supported in the firmware, thus I dont experience long lead-in. The burns with Sony08D1 is very good, here: http://club.cdfreaks.com/showpost.php?p=796084&postcount=151
You can check your Sony media with Plextools-CD/DVD Info and please let us know what is the Manufacturer ID/Media ID/Product Revision.
Sony98D1 is not bad buy it can only burn at 8x, while there are some 8x rated media that can be burn at 12x and/or 16x. Since you are in the US, here are some tips for buying excellent media:
- Fujifilm/TDK DVD+R 8x (must be Made in Japan), MID YUDEN000T02, can be burn at 8x, 12x and 16x with very good to excellent result.
- Verbatim DVD+R 8x, MID MCC003, can be burn at 8x and 12x
- Verbatim DVD+R 16x, MID MCC004.
I usually buy my media at Bestbuy and currently Verbatim 8x 50pack and TDK 8x 100pack is on sale.