PX 712 or NEC 3500 or Pioneer 108


I need you guys’ inputs. I currently own a Plextor 708 (still using firmware v.1.04). In general, I’m pretty happy with it, as long as I burn my movies at 4x. I’m thinking about upgrading this unit for the following purposes: (1) higher burn speed, hopefully without any freezing or pixelation on standalone DVD player; (2) ability to booktype; and (3) DL - I do realize that the 708, but not the 712 with the currently available firmware from Plextor or hacked, could technically do DL with firmware 1.08, but I seriously am skeptical about this function in the real world. I’m thinking about the Plextor 712, or NEC 3500, or Pioneer 108. Please let me know which unit will best suit my 3 objectives. Thanks.

  1. For burning at 8x the fastest drive is Plextor 712 (< 8min), then follows Pioneer 108 (~ 8 min) and NEC finish last (~ 10 min);
  2. Plextor 712 seems to booktype now, NEC does it with special fw, Pioneer never will;
  3. DL only NEC and Pioneer does it.

So, from all these, the only unit that fulfill your requests seems to be NEC 3500A.

Hi ppk800,

what do you mean by “could technically do DL”?

keep in mind that Plextor has currently no DVD-burners supporting burning of DL media. If you check the description of firmware 1.08 for the 708A you will see

Read support for DVD+R DL media,

not write support.

It seems that firmware 1.08 (actually firmware 1.07) improved the writing quality of various media, so I recommend to upload it on your 708A: maybe your pixelation problems will be solved!

Regards, :slight_smile:

EDIT: Awww, Corbus, you were faster than me! :wink:


The 3500 seems to be the drive to buy right now. I am extremely happy with mine. :bigsmile: It’s not the fastest drive out there, buy makes high quality burns. I have had no playback issues yet (PS2 or JVC changer). I am using Herrie’s 2.17 with booktype set to DVD-ROM. Haven’t tried to burn a DL disc yet, still too expensive.

3500 burns are of extremely high quality even with troublesome media. I would go for this one again.

Being as this is the plextor forum i do own a 708U, with the latest firmware and I’ve been very happy with it. The main reason for it is that it’s easy to hook up to my laptop. On my desktop however the NEC 3500 gets my top vote with the hacked 2.17 firmware. Touch wood, this baby has not given me a coaster yet, and the DVD-ROM booktype is just sweet. ( I see the 712 can do this now). But my 708 is much pickier about media than the 3500.

I think better go with nec3500A, I just order and will receive nextweek, the plextor 708A cost me $250 last 6 months ago, don’t even support bitsetting compared to nec 3500a cost $85 can do dvd-rom to make dvd work with my old toshiba sd-1600 player, xbox… before buy plextor think twice and read more in the forums.

CDRInfo.com just released a review of NEC3500, and it looks very good to me … they are also planing to release soon a head to head comparison between NEC3500 and Pioneer108 with a lot of media and latest FW’s.

I too would go for a NEC3500. As opossed to NEC2500/2510, the new NEC3500 turns out to be a very good reader too! The unofficial support for this drive is top notch. You can use TDK, MadDog and NEC official fw’s or plenty of modified FW’s from herrie, TDB, etc … The main point is that you’ll have plenty of choices and if one particular FW turns out to be unsuitable, you can always find few others doing a good job.

I’m pretty happy with it, as long as I burn my movies at 4x. I’m thinking about upgrading this unit for the following purposes: (1) higher burn speed, hopefully without any freezing or pixelation on standalone DVD player;

I was wondering about what you said about “freezing or pixelation on standalone DVD player” that are burnt over 4X. The disk that you burnt over 4X have you played those in another standalone to see if the same problem occur? Some older Standalone’s have trouble reading burnt disk that are over 4X and if this is the case then you will have the same problem with any new burner.

What type of media have you been using that is causing the freezing and pixelation? Do you know the Media code of these disk?

I also have a 708A and I am very happy with it, I also have a 712A and is extremly happy with it, I would get another 712A, only reason I havn’t yet I am trying to be patient with Plextor, I wanna see what there next creation of a burner is going to be, is going to be a 16X(don’t think I would buy, I would just get another 712A) or will it be a DL(I might wait and still get the 712A instead)


Thanks for the comments. I had posted another thread “Plextor 708A issues,” in this forum a few days ago and received some valuable suggestions. It seems to me that there are two options for me: (1) try to improve the burn quality of 708A and wait for the new firmware, if at all, that would enable me to do booktype and/or DL; or (2) upgrade to a new drive: PX 712 or NEC 3500 or Pioneer 108. While waiting for your inputs, I did the following experiment.

I upgraded my firmware to version 1.07. So far, I have burn-tested two DVD’s using Verbatim 8x DVD+R MCC-003-00 and Sony RICOHJPN-R01-02, and setting the burn speed at 8x. These two DVD’s were played on my standalone DVD player without any pixelation or freezing. What I noticed during the burn are the followings:

(1) Firmware 1.04 and burn speed at 8x: it immediately started out at 6x. At about 1/6 of the completion, the speed was sharply accelerated to 8x and remained at 8x for the rest of the burn process.

(2) Firmware 1.07 and burn speed at 8x: it also immediately began at 6x. At about 1/6 of the completion, instead of accelerating, the speed was decreased smoothly all the way to 4x and then was increased all the way to 8x in a span of 5 seconds. The speed remained to be 8x for the rest of the process and of course reduced to 0x at the very end of the disk. Visually speaking, there is a “valley” on the speed vs completion graph. The time it took was 8 minutes and a few seconds.

According to my observation, I guess the Plextor engineers and scientists might have thought that the sudden increase in speed, and among other things, could be a causative factor for pixelation and freezing problems on the consumers’ standalone DVD players whose pre-installed laser cannot keep up with the sharp increase in speed of the recording data. As a result, they inserted this “valley” to solve these problems.

Furthermore, as far as I know with the current DVD recording technology available to the mass consumer market, for burn speed set at 8x or higher the initial speed cannot start at 8x or higher. The speed has to start out at a lower than the set speed and then increases to whatever max speed the device is technically capable of doing. How long a drive canremain to be at its highest technically capable speed is another story. Please don’t take me too literally with the meaning of the term “starting speed.” Due to “inertia,” it takes some time (a few seconds) to go from a completely static position to whatever speed that the firmware allows the drive to be at. As a result, the starting speed that I’m talking about here is the speed right after the “inertia” period. Anyhow, I think this is the critical source of the problem.

In all of my burns, I have only used either RICOHJPN-R01-02 (made by various brands: Sony, Maxwell, TDK, Memorex, and Fujifilm) and MCC-003-00 8x DVD+R by Verbatim.

My standalone DVD player would play anything that I throw at it, which suggests that the pixelation and freezing problems are not player-specific problems.

Once again, thanks for you all’s inputs, which gave me some direction and inclination to conduct the above scientific like experiment. I hope the above observation will somehow explain some of our mysteries about this drive. On the other hand, the 3500 seems to be a very viable upgrade option. However, if my 708A with the 1.07 firmware continues to behave, I’ll be able to afford more time to wait a little longer (probably until Christmas) for newer technology or more matured 16x technology.

Hi ppk200,

just in case you haven’t read them yet, please check those technical documents at Plextor website:

CLV, Zone CLV, CAV, PCAV write methods.

You can find them (among others) in Plextor’s technology page. :wink: