Is Plextor 716 worth the cost? Or I should just get the NEC?



Hi all, my first post here.
I am in teh market to buy a DVD-R drive, and I have a hard time choosing.
I am a fan of Plextor, as I own a CD-RW 12x10x32 from them, and I would like to buy a Plextor again…

However from the reactions I get for the 716 drive, I am a little worried.

As I see it, today is not like 5 years ago when I bought the plextor CD-RW. Back then, plextor was the best hands down. But in the last years, companies have emerged in the DVD-RW arena with exceptional drives like NEC…and very competitive prices.

Doing a direct comparison between the NEC and the plextor, the plextor offers more buffer memory, but I don’t think it will make any difference since today with technologies like burnproof, you don’t risk buffer underruns anyway…

However I have heard of problems with this drive, problems that the NEC doesn’t have, and I was kinda dissappointed by that.

So basically, I want to buy the plextor, because I am a fan, and I am willing to pay the higher price for it, but I want it to be worth it. I don’t want to just buy the Plextor name, but end up with a similar or worse drive to the NEC.
So hjere I ask you, is the drive equal or better to the NEC, are these problems I have read about fixed in newer revisions, or with other firmwares?
Or should I just go buy the NEC and save the rest of the money for a future blue-ray drive?

PS: I got a DFI NF4 motherboard, and I have heard of some incompatibility issues with the plextor drive and NF4 boards. Is that true or they were isolated occurences?


I’m a Plex fan too but this time my advice is: go for the NEC. It’s the best burner I ever owned. As simple as that.


Also in Dual Layer? - just making a litle noise… :wink:


Well, I have a similar “problem” and I am quite unsure what to do.

At this time I own a NEC3500 2.TA (great job with all of your modified firmwares Liggy & Dee-27!), a Lite-ON 832s CG5G (great job CodeGuys as well!) for scanning purposes, a Plextor PREMIUM 1.05 and a Plextor PX-130A (backupped by a Toshiba 1712).

I am very satisfied with my NEC and all those nice modified firmwares including autobitsetting and overspeeding with on-par quality burns.
However, I am a Plextor fanboy as well and I kept an eye on the 716A from the first press release on, but I was very dissapointed by the performance of this expensive drive (havn’t seen one in real-life action - my opinion is based on the feedback from the people of this nice forum only).
But, in the meanwhile, Plextor didn’t loose the focus on this drive and had 4 hardware revisions and 4 1/2 firmwares since its intial release and the quality seems to be on a higher level back again.

My question is, if the 716A is worth the money (twice as much as the NEC!), as I don’t really need it (the 716A for sure :D)?
It would just be some kind of peeman enlargement for a guy like me, who wasn’t prefered by mother nature in this matter. :sad: :bigsmile:

Thanks for all your input! :smiley:


all depends on what you want out of a drive…both a great drives but differ quite a bit in features/functionality/capabilities.


I my humble openion, go for it! New revision 0304, seems resolve the problem at 16x…and this openion came for a Plex Fan Boy that opens his unity…for resolve a issue!

Or just wait…for the fall of prices/even more stable unity…( possible? )?


You need to remember that there’s no way to scan your discs using the NEC drive–you must use another drive that supports PIE/PIF scanning, etc. Quality of discs burned can only be judged by trying to use them all the way through–a bit of a pain.

Also, the NEC doesn’t support native bitsetting of DVD+Rs, important if you want to make discs that can play on older DVD players. (You could use “hacked” firmware, but in my opinion it is risky–and voids the terms you agree to under the drive’s warranty.)

Lastly, the write quality of the NEC is not quite as good as a good PX-716. My old TLA0101 unit (with the latest firmware) outperforms the few graphs I’ve seen posted for the NEC in regards to quality for every disc type (but there are so few NEC postings as compared to the Benq 1620 or the PX-716 because the drive cannot scan).

But if you don’t care about these things, go ahead and get the NEC…It’s cheaper. You might be able to buy 25 or so blank DVDs for the difference.


I’ll say that I have an NEC 3520, a BenQ 1620 and the Plextor 716a (0203, FW 104u).

When I am actually doing a burn to keep (family video), I only use the Plextor.

The others are fun to waste blanks with, comparing quality scores, burn times etc…, but when it comes down to making the best burns, the plextor always wins out.

This should be qualified by saying I find that almost without exception, all of the drives burn better without applying any “overspeeding”, so I burn 8X discs at 8X. Thats the only speed of blank I use, and its the only speed that I burn with. Sure, sometimes some or any of the drives do pretty well with an 8X at 12, or even 16X (1620 on TYG02), but never better than the same media burned on the plex at “rated” speed.

8X burns take me 8:10. 16X burns take me 6:25. The small amount of extra time isn’t important to me given the variability of the burns at high speeds (even on the plex).

The NEC is fun to play with, but has the worst burns, on any media (I use almost only -R, it does better with +R, Its true).

The BenQ is a nice drive for the most part - jury still out on latest firmware.
It is also much better on +R, but very good on some -R as well.

So theres another opinion, but I like the Plex for quality at “rated” speeds, the BQ for scanning, and also good burning, and the NEC is mainly used for reading -R discs into a authoring App (rips -R video at 16X).

That all said, I will say out of a stack of about 50 “test” burns I have made with these 3 burners, the Plex makes the prettiest quality scans, with the BQ a fairly close second, and the NEC firmly in last, BUT even the worst looking NEC scan plays without issue whatsoever on all my standalone players.

In a nutshell, they all “work” fine in almost all cases, but mostly people around here are alot more concerned with details that in most cases don’t come into play with “real world” use (myself included).

  • Chris


I agree with the last poster completely. 8x burns with good quality 8x media yields excellent burns on the Plextor. Also the Plextor has the fastest dual layer video DVD ripping speeds. I figured since I could get the Plextor retail drive at a local retail store with 30day return period, it was worth trying. The NEC I could only get mail-order, more of a risk.


if you’re willing to spend on DL media or blanks come down in price…based on the the DL scans posted here at CDF, i believe that the PX-716 is the fastest and best quality dual layer burner.


In a nutshell, they all “work” fine in almost all cases, but mostly people around here are alot more concerned with details that in most cases don’t come into play with “real world” use (myself included).

Well said! :smiley:


if you’re willing to spend on DL media or blanks come down in price…based on the the DL scans posted here at CDF, i believe that the PX-716 is the fastest and best quality dual layer burner.

Like today: I burn a Verbatim DL 2.4 at 6x, with PIE:12!

In fact, all my Burns, at this moment, the PIE never goes higher than 60, and 90% under 20…
They are all played at PS2, my Philips 737 reader, or even third persons.... For me its like a Mercedes…with the best of the Industry!
And the firmwares are fantastic! Verbatim PIE at 130, when i purchase it, now goes down to 30, with last firm!
Moments ago, i did “visit” Benq and Pionner fórum scans,well, they have all good strong points, but the “big picture”, i think, goes to Plextor, like iamjcl, very well explain…

But is your decision…i made mine, and i don`t regret it! Waiting for next “hot” firmware! :smiley: :iagree:


If I were you I would buy either a NEC3520 (or wait a bit for the NEC3540) if you’re not interested in quality scans, or a BENQ1620 if you’re interested in having this option. NEC has great unofficial support and enough FW’s to make you happy for a long time, including DVD+RW bitsetting (along +R and +R DL bitsetting), no riplock, RPC1, media speedups, etc …

Personally I would avoid Plextor … I had enough problems already having to RMA my PX712A units three times to finally get a fourth unit (hand picked by Plextor) which was more decent, but still not as good as it should have been … and the price is simply too high … better buy a cheaper unit like NEC or BENQ, enjoy life, save money and wait for the BlueRay …

Lately Plextor = Problems … They had quite few problems with some PX712A units, then major problems with PX716A … and I have to tell you that I haven’t seen any problems of this magnitude in the NEC (or Benq) forum …

If I were you, I would ask this question in the NEC forum too, just to get the opinion of the ‘other side’ as well, since some Plextor users tend to be a bit biased towards the “King of Quality” (and sometimes exhibit some extreme opinions) :wink: :bigsmile: :stuck_out_tongue:

But what do I know anyway … you don’t have to trust me, let the polls speak!
Just one observation before the conclusion … the NEC pool does not include the NEC 2xxx drives (the PX708 equivalent) which were also as popular and well rated as the current NEC35xx drives, while the Plextor poll includes the 708 drives (and yet it still lags behind)!!! Furthermore, let me remind you that the good old PX708 was not even manufactured by Plextor, although they gather the credits for it now … it was just an OEM drive which was simply rebranded by Plextor! Well, perhaps that’s why it was such a good unit after all? :wink:

Well, to conclude, the polls suggest that the NEC users are more happy with their drives than the Plextor users … very interesting isn’t it ??? The results suggest a slightly different picture than the one suggested by some … if the Plextor is as good as some Plextor diehards imply, and the NEC so bad, according to the same Plextor diehards, then it doesn’t make too much sense isn’t it … :confused: :confused: :confused: It makes you wander …

PS. Maybe these polls are not that staistically representative, but nevertheless, they are more objective than a single user’s opinion … after all, the opinion of 100+ people is better than the opinion of 8 people or so …


i tend to disagree with virtually your entire post CVS.

some things i’d like to point out. it may not matter to most of us, but voiding a warranty is important to some and should be taken into account when relying on 3rd party FW.

you had a bad experience with your px-712s but waiting for Blu-Ray is not prudent advice (won’t be ubiquitous until '06 in reality).

not many plextor owners say that NEC drives (and BenQs, Pioneers, etc) are bad… as you claim. they say they like the features, performance and capbilities of their plextors better - big diff, especially considering how many other drive manufacturer fans badmouth plextors.

news to me that the 708 wasn’t manufactured by Plextor…can you provide more info on that.

the Poll comparison is highly skewed considering that CDF is a bastion for NEC owners/fans since the excellent FW modders (liggy, dee, etc.) primarily reside here.

i don’t think that the quality issues with plextors exhibited here are proportionally any greater than any other drives out there.


$ did always speak high…

I also use a 2 Plextor`s…

And isn`t everbody that can be a King :bigsmile: $$$$$

How much NECs do i need right now to record DL at 6x? the one i have and the next one? Or isnt so important…??
Its funny in the NEC fórum, dont have PIE/POE tests…maybe they could send us some, to test here! :cool:
Almost forget they can`t do those tests…

Plextor 48x + Plextor PX716A(TLA#0204) + LiteOn SOHD 167T HackedSpeed 16x and a old Yamaha SCSI 8x…

Attention: This is not a personnal attack, just trying give other perspective! :smiley:


P.S - My Plextor, did in fact have problems, wich at my own decision were solved, open it!
And i could easly send RMA…and get a new one!

Just forget…my previous DVD Recorder, was a Lite-On 832S, firm Hacked!
And the last one i bought, making a PC from 0 to a friend, was a NEC 3500! :wink:


Abit NF7 S 2.0 Bios d26-mantarays-xt
AMD XP-M 2500+ 45W 2700 MHz 1.95V
Waterblock Inova Rev.3 + Black Ice Pro + " Big Mamma "
Winbond 2x 256 ( FSB 12 x 225=450 ) -2.8v
Antec 1000Eihem 1046
Gexcube 9600XTG AGP:1.6v Core: @580 Mhz Memory @700 Mhz+Tweak Monsters_+_VGA Silencer
Plextor 48x + Plextor PX716A(TLA#0204) + LiteOn SOHD 167T HackedSpeed 16x


Add the 109 to your list. All the drives mentioned are good ones!


i was in Best Buy the other day and had a Pioneer A09XL in my hands. was very tempted but needed to read more about it in the Pioneer forum before throwing down $100 for it. i’ve got $300 in Best Buy gift cards from my bday and haven’t yet decided how to spend them :wink:


…Ive had 2 A09 Pioneers - They have alot of work to do yet on these drives. No doubt it will be sorted out one day, but I wanted something I could depend on now. Wait on the Pioneer.

  • Chris


thx for the insight iamjcl.


The 708A features a hardware read offset of -30 audio samples, as well as a hardware write offset of -30 audio samples and uses the hardware read command D8 within EAC … additionally, it overreads both Lead-In/Out …

These are typical Plextor specs that have never been encountered with other drives so the 708A is a real Plextor unit.

You are referring to the 504A which was a rebranded NEC ND-1100A …

From what I read in your post, I get the strong impression that you are, perhaps based on your rather disappointing experience, biased against Plextor (while others in this forum may be biased towards them, to be fair).

Personally, I have never had any problems with either my 712A or my 716A when using quality media at rated speed … both of my Plextor DVDRW drives will then outperform my NEC 2500A, my BenQ 1620 and my LG 4163B (quality-wise at rated speed, that is)