PX-712A & Hot Day = Crappy burns


Just anecdotal really. I know in the early days of PX-712A discussions, poor tolerance of the electronics to heat was a mooted cause of bad burns. Here in the UK, there has been a mini heat wave, and I noticed that the quality of burns of my beloved Verbatim +R x16 really went off big time. So I took the the side of the case off, pointed a room fan at the drive, and now everything is back to normal. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the external units tended to fare better than the internal ones.

I do tend to take care about case cooling, but given where CD/DVD drives tend to be placed, cooling is problematic. I have a 12 cm exhaust fan and a 12 cm inlet fan in front of the HD’s. Theoretically, the PSU is supposed to draw air over the drive bays, but I can’t believe any case/PSU can really cause adequate air flow over an operating DVD-RW drive in a 5 1/4 inch bay.

Are other makes of drives as susceptable?

It’s not necessarily the drive alone that is at fault. Opening up the case might have cooled other critical chips as well. I usually manage to keep case temperature below 30 degrees but that becomes impossible once the room temperature passes 25 degrees

But talking about drives IMHO the Plextors are on the cool side. I still have a Pioneer DVD-ROM on the shelf that gets hot just when plugged in without actually operating. This of course also means any media inserted gets heated up pretty much too just when being in the drive without beeing read. Both the 712a and the 716a stay cool when they aren’t doing anything.

as long as you keep your overall case temperature lower, you dont necessarily need active cooling on your optical drives. My problem is my case temperatures reach as high as 42-45c because of the summer heat. My NEC 3520’s write quality is also taking a hit because of the heat. My case is pretty small and doesnt have the best airflow (even though its tidy inside) and it only has 2x80mm fans. but im getting a new computer in a month or so with 2x120mm fans and is bigger than my current case.

In summer with outside temperatures > 30°C, I tend to carry out my burns either early in the morning or later in the evening for quality reasons … and I also lower the burning speed. Up to now, this strategy has worked out fine.

I guess I’ll have to buy a split air conditioner one day … :bigsmile:

Thanks to the contributors to this thread. I burned a disc on a really hot day and the pxscan results were so-so. All the conditions - except for the heat - were present & identical the next time and the burn quality was outstanding. I thought at the time it couldn’t be the heat, but now it seems that’s precisely what it was.

Thanks again for the heads-up.

CPU, GPU, more than one HD and a bad PSU can heat up any case very fast nowadays. Proper cooling is essential!

Most ‘professional’ drive reviewers (like computer magazines and labs like AudioDev) test drives and media in an ambient-controlled environment … e.g. the german magazine ‘PC Welt’ works with an air-conditioned test chamber that is being kept at a constant 21°C (which is believed to be an ‘ideal’ temperature) to ensure proper operating conditions which, on the other hand, ensure fair testing of components.

Thanks for the feedback. Obviously general cooling helps, but I think that little consideration has been given by manufacturers to bay cooling. I guess that until DVD-RW’s came along perhaps most if not all devices that sit in the external 5 1/4 inch bays didn’t generate large amounts of heat or were not temperature sensitive. General airflow, CPU, GPU and HD cooling are pretty well adressed in modern, well thought out systems. In front of the internal 3 1/2 inch bays in both my Antec cases sits a 12 cm fan mounting for HD cooling.

However, obviously you can’t fit a fan in front of the external bays, and you can’t fit one behind. These bays have always been meant to be cooled by airflow through the PSU, and in this respect, modern smart quiet PSU’s aggravate the problem, as they reduce fan speed in low power output situations. DVD-RW’s do produce quite a bit of heat when operating.

I guess I’ll have to try mounting a fan in one of the drive bays to blow air onto the Plextor’s underside.

I’m still curious to know if the PX-712A is particularly susceptible in this respect, or whether it applies equally to all makes (I feel an NEC-3540/Benq-1640 coming on).

This reminds me of the days, where Plextor drives had small fans that cooled the chipset of the burner. I think 2410 TLA 01xx was the last one to have that fan.

A fan that would only run when the burner burns something… would be ok. Better than bad burns.

  • But is it more important to cool the chipset or the laser?

There is no doubt that temperature, and humidity, affect the performance of harddrives, or any piece of machinery and living organism as well. Plextor lists the environmental conditions for the 716a on page 118 of my user manual: Operating Temperature 5-40 C and Operating Humidity 20-80% (non-condensing).

My ambient weather conditions could pose a problem since humidity has approached and sometimes exceeded 80%. Thankfully, ambient room temps have been less than 40C, but not by much on occasion due to greenhouse-like effect of the windows in the room. I have a Thermaltake Hardcano 13 with 4 temperature probes. The highest temp that I have seen so far has been 37.3 C located on the heatsink of the GeForce 6800 Ultra, a major blowtorch of a heat producer. Currently, the Nvidia Control Panel Display states ambient 40 C and GPU Core Temperature 55-56 C. The Hardcano 13 reports 36 C at the video card’s heat sink. The four 120cm fans in my case (front over the harddrives, side over the video card, back and top blowhole) really help to keep things cooler in the Lian Li 7B-Plus modified case.

Below are two PxScans of Verbatim 16X DVD+R media, where the discs came off the same spindle with 2 other discs used between them, so they are not quite consecutive. The data and its amount are different as were the date and environmental conditions at burn time, being slightly warmer and significantly more humid at the time of the second burn and scan. Also, the data burned on the first scan came from multiple partitions on the drive while the second graph’s data all came from the same partition. Also, two other discs had been burned prior to the first scan while this was the first burn done that day in the secong scan. The computer was on for roughly the same duration prior to the burn and scans.

Why I tell you all this is to point out that conditions favored better burns for the second graph except for temperature and humidity, yet, the second graph shows a slightly less favorable burn.

So… an extremely small sampling (of 1!), more anecdotal than empirical, and one in which more than a couple of varying parameters are involved prohibit the validity of my conclusion. That stated, it would appear that temperature and humidity do play a part in the quality of the burn: PIE avg of 0.28 vs. 0.38 and PIF avg of 0.0044 vs. 0.0050 for the first and second graphs respectfully.

Bottom line: Keep room as cool and humidity-free as possible, add fans (larger the better for improved quiet), pay attention to airflow inside the case with thoughtful cable/wire placement, consider a drive bay cooler, and burn at slower speeds and at times of day when the ambient room temperature is cooler. Best media for your burner is always a good idea for improved error rates too (Taiyo Yuden TY02 best for me so far.)

WOW! I tried to attach the first scan but the forum’s application won’t do it since I uploaded it to a different thread previously, and that’s despite renaming the file too! You can find the first scan in Post your Plextor DVD quality scans here currently on page 51. It is the second PxScan (third png overall) with the comment “Verbatim 16X Burned At 8X”.

Here’s two burns; one burned on a day where the temperature was above 30C and the humidity was in the 80% range, and the other burned when it was 22C and humidity in the 50% range. Both were data (not video), burned at the same speed with the same application on the same media.

Scaled the same for comparison purposes.

(Edit: I may be mistaken, but scanning might be affected too. It’s hot’n’humid today, and the last time I scanned that second disc the PIE total was 25K and the PIF total was 925).

Yes, why not?

Man, I had a feeling that all the 80 and 90 degree days up here were doing something to my burns, now I know! Doesn’t help that I have a Shuttle case either, but at least I don’t run a Prescott! Hehe… I think I’ll definitely be taking off the case and setting up a fan next time I go to burn things.

I know how you feel, I also have a Shuttle case. Luckily here in The Netherlands it’s hardly ever that warm and when it is, I use my external PX-716UF anyway (which has a fan that’s always on).