I performed the attached scans using the new PlexUtilities (which, BTW did not even recognize my old PX-716A whatsoever), as opposed to other quality
checking tools, in order to give the reader a peek of what they can and cannot expect from the so-far crude, buggy, and limited PlexUtilities.
The automatic update of PlexUtilities to version 1.1.7 was used to generate the posted BLER scans, but appears indistinguishable from 1.1.4. As it presently
stands, the PlexUtilities are a real dog compared to the earlier PlexTools Pro and PlexTools LE. very little information, no drive settings (other than Spin
Down and Suspend power management tools, the user settings of which appear to be lost upon each system reboot).
A drive firmware update from the shipped version (1.03) to 1.04 is available. As I'm evaluating the unit pending the (possibility) of return to the
retailer, I have yet to update the firmware, leaving it as it stands. If the version 1.04 level firmware is a big deal, my apologies to Plextor ...
With no provisions in the PlexUtilities_1.1.7 for being able to change DVDR book-types (as existed in the PlexTools Pro and PlexTools LE), I was further
frustrated to find that the PX-850A has limited (or possibly no) provision for performing such with the usual alternate tools. While perhaps less necessary
for recently manufactured DVD video players, it's a function that I once had, and wouldn't mind keeping, just the same.
Book Type modification does not come up as an option in the final version of Nero 6 (184.108.40.206.a). The "Extra-Bitsetting" function of the latest Nero
CD-DVD_Speed_4.7716 comes up grayed-out. Maybe ImgBurn_2.42 will be able to accomplish this - maybe not. I'd rather stick with my familiar Nero 6 for my
CD/DVD burning, however. Even the utility for changing DVD book-type on the LiteOn iHA322 does not work, either (reporting that the Plextor firmware is
incompatible). This drive may not be easily tamed ...
However, my hope has remained that Plextor, having modified the LiteOn firmware (in order to allow for the use of their PlexUtilitie), might have also taken
the time to achieve somewhat better performance from the resident hardware, and/or impose a higher level of quality control on their re-branded units. It's
hard to say, since LiteOn does not publish much in the way of specifications for the iHA322, whereas Plextor indeed does publish more in-depth engineering
specifications. So, I paid about $50 for the retail Plextor over the $25 retail LiteOn, and am still hoping that this 100% premium in cost might translate
somewhat in unit performance and/or reliabillity - since the dog-ish PlexUtilities is only slightly more impressive than LiteOn's drive utility offerings -
The above tirades out of the way, on to the meat of the matter (CDR and DVD+R scans using genuine, high quality Taiyo Yuden recordable media.
All of the CD-Rs and DVD+Rs were burned with the PX-850A (Firmware version 1.3), Nero_220.127.116.11.a on WinXP SP3, passed Nero's optional "Verify" test, and have
not demonstrated any data integrity problems.
The scans were generated with a read speed equal to their write speed, and represent the same file content in both the CDR and DVD+R cases.
 CD-Rs (TY-CDR80ZZ100SBZM, 52X, Silver Laquer)
Interestingly, the C1 errors are continuous and horrible at 8X (relative to results at even higher write/read speeds). There were no C2 errors.
[See attached: "PX-850A_TY-CDR80ZZ100SBZM_Write8X-Read8X.PNG"]
Writing/reading at 16X improved matters considerably.
[See attached: "PX-850A_TY-CDR80ZZ100SBZM_Write16X-Read16X.PNG"]
And writing/reading at 24X performed even better ...
[See attached: "PX-850A_TY-CDR80ZZ100SBZM_Write24X-Read24X.PNG"]
 DVD+Rs (Sony_DVD+R_YUDEN000-T02-000, 8X, Silver Laquer)
While still on it's last legs, my PX-716A was used to burn this DVD at 8X that is here scanned at a read speed of 8X with the newer PX-850A.
Brand new out of the retail box, self-diagnostics complete (reporting a "CD Decay" aging metric for the Laser Diode of 0.60% for CDRs and 0.04% for DVDRs),
while showing a lower quantity of PIF errors than the DVD+R burned on the (near-terminal) PX-716A, the PIE errors actually look somewhat worse (although are
roughly comparable on an average basis) on the DVD+R burned with the PX-850A.
While the PX-850A (at $50) cost only half of what my PX-716A (at $100) cost, the best-case performance of the PX-850A appears to perform on a level only
comparable to the last gasps of my old PX-716A. And, the PlexUtilities are a real disappointment when compared to the older PlexTools Pro and PlexTools LE,
which are (I believe) no longer usable.
I want to believe that spending twice as much as the $25 retail cost of the LiteOn iHA322 would have been has been worth it - but this hope is not well
supported by the resulting (attached) scans. In fairness, I don't know how these things would look with the LiteOn iHA322 (maybe twice as bad? ... ...
Alas, they don't make much of anything like they used to.
"Bending over" for that gold-plated Plextor panache' may have lost luster.