PX-716a TLA #0306 Hits retail shelves

vbimport

#1

Just an FYI, TLA 0306 hit the retail shelves in Southeast Lower Michigan. Looks like TLA 03xx is going to stick around for a while. Too bad quality from drive to drive is still variable. Since FW 1.01, this is the first drive I’ve seen on the shelf where the firmware actually matched the current level online.


#2

I am still curious to know why these new TLA’s can’t be flashed to earlier firmwares or was that question answered and I missed it??


#3

Also saw TLA 0306 mixed with 0305 in my local bestbuy.


#4

Could be that even when a drive is flashed to a new version of firmware the drive will still report it’s original TLA number, in which case the flasher could refuse to flash the lower firmware revision.


#5

Generally there are hardware changes that require a specific firmware setting, i.e, a default setting for optics, timing, etc. Those changes are negated if a lower firmware version is flashed and performance can be affected. Rumor has it that drives with 1.05 cannot be flashed down, so they probably introduced some specific change in TLA 03 that required a change introduced in 1.05.


#6

TLA #'s are overemphasized IMHO.


#7

That being said, I am going to wait until TLA #04xx drives make an appearance (not to mention a good, solid examination of such a beast on this forum) before I even consider buying a PX-716A. From the large number of posts I’ve seen regarding problems with TLA #03xx and below, I think it would be prudent to wait. I’m really disappointed with Plextor, and they must know this is going to hurt them badly. The kind of customer who buys Plextor tends to be the type who also does their research before buying (no sane person spends €100+ on a DVD writer without doing their homework!) … and this customer doesn’t like what he’s found.

I just sold my old PX-712A drives, as well. Just as well I managed to find a dealer who still had some PX-712A/T3Bs in stock, or I might have felt a lot worse. Ordered a pair today, just in case… Ah, I also don’t know why Plextor suddenly decided to stop producing PATA versions of the PX-712A - but it’s irritating. They’re a real bastard to find - rocking horse dung is almost easier to come by. Given the choice between writing DL media and a good quality drive, I’d take the latter any day. Maybe that is why PX-712A stocks have dried up so fast.

I wonder how many other drive manufacturers have read this forum - and how many are planning to take Plextor’s market share? They’re wide open…


#8

There is no statistical indication whatsoever that there are any more or less problems with the 716-A than any other major make/model of optical drives, period. If you take the time to browse the CD Freaks forum, you can discover this for yourself. If you take the time to do likewise in other forums that solicit consumer feedback, you’ll have this conclusion reinforced. If Plextor owners have anything to complain about, it’s that comparable drives can be had for much less money (although comparable drives don’t come with PlexTools). This is not to say that those who have had problems with their Plextors are lying: certainly not. It’s simply saying that if you have a problem with your drive, you’re going to come to a place like this to a) complain or b) find help. If your drive is behaving well, you’re far less likely to say anything to anyone. If you get great service at a restaraunt, how many people do you go out of your well to tell about it? If you’re treated like crap, how many times will you tell the story? Studies have been done: it’s clear that bad experiences get much more press. For every one horror story, there are many more success stories. Again, anyone who doubts it can start tallying the posts … the 716-A is at least statistically as good as any of the other popular/well-reputed drives currently making the rounds. News reported here on 4/23 pointed out that the Plextor ranked highest in terms of reliability in recent data-gathering … but those who’d had bad experiences with their drives complained loudest about that too, fomenting the illusion.


#9

well put kev99sl…i agree 100%. :iagree:


#10

@kev99sl. As drpino said well put! People tend to forget that people use this forum to get help with their drives and often enough it is not the drive, it’s a problem with system or compatibilty issues. Just like every other Recording Hardware Forum.My point is when a lot of people look at this forum they go Holly Sh*t look at all the problems with Plextor!!


#11

Illusion???
Six revisions and countless firmware updates would indicate that Plextor does not think this is an illusion. I can think of no other Plextor models that required such attention.
Is Plextor in the quest for perfection or are they responding to real problems?

No other manufacturer found it prudent to release that many updates.

Still, to Plextor’s credit, they are diligent in their efforts. Kudos for their support.


#12

Other than the ridiculous number of hardware revisions and firmware updates (as Nemesys quite correctly pointed out). In my Google travels, I found various TLA references for many different models - and none have been bumped up as quickly as the PX-716A. That in itself suggests a big problem with the design. The two PX-712A drives I had were TLA#0000, and I would say they were decent. Decent, in my definition, is:

a) They wrote CD and DVD media that verified correctly and speedily (some media didn’t work so well, but that’s life. I now use Taiyo Yuden 8x +R discs, and these have worked brilliantly)
b) Audio rips occurred without incident
c) Pressed CDs and DVDs worked correctly

If you take the time to browse the CD Freaks forum, you can discover this for yourself. If you take the time to do likewise in other forums that solicit consumer feedback, you’ll have this conclusion reinforced.
I did, and didn’t. Numerous people in various forums and review sites raved the PX-712A … and based on my own experience with the drive, I was inclined to agree with them. The fact that I’ve seen rather less positive press about the PX-716 (especially in comparison to the PX-712A) speaks volumes, I think.

If Plextor owners have anything to complain about, it’s that comparable drives can be had for much less money (although comparable drives don’t come with PlexTools).
I would say that depends on what exactly you use your drive for. Not all of us use them simply for writing media. Indeed, I value the Plextor PX-712A quite highly as a reader - I ripped my entire CD collection for playback on my media PC using the PX-712A, and it even coped with copy-protected CDs without so much as a whimper.

This is not to say that those who have had problems with their Plextors are lying: certainly not. It’s simply saying that if you have a problem with your drive, you’re going to come to a place like this to a) complain or b) find help. If your drive is behaving well, you’re far less likely to say anything to anyone. If you get great service at a restaraunt, how many people do you go out of your well to tell about it?
If I like the service at a restaurant, I visit them again. That says more than a verbal compliment ever could. That isn’t to say that I don’t pay compliments … but any restaurant that sees a customer repeatedly coming back has to know they’re on to something.

If you’re treated like crap, how many times will you tell the story? Studies have been done: it’s clear that bad experiences get much more press. For every one horror story, there are many more success stories. Again, anyone who doubts it can start tallying the posts … the 716-A is at least statistically as good as any of the other popular/well-reputed drives currently making the rounds. News reported here on 4/23 pointed out that the Plextor ranked highest in terms of reliability in recent data-gathering … but those who’d had bad experiences with their drives complained loudest about that too, fomenting the illusion.
There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
– Benjamin Disraeli


#13

FWIW, I phoned the service (DHL “over here”), and they told me a different story. She said that she was only able to remember Gericom, a vendor of cheap German computer crap, who caused more problems.


#14

six revisions of the firmware, fourth hardware revision. so what? look how much work is done with firmwares around here…from the NEC modding, to Phillips/BenQ crossflashing, to Sony/Liteon crossflashing, to Pioneer’s work with the A09/109 fw…Plextor isn’t immune from having to fiddle with firmware to “get it right” …

TLA is overemphasized because it’s available. other drive’s you go by date/location of manufacture.


#15

They’ve had to fiddle with a tad more than the firmware though, haven’t they?

I used to work for the research and design department of a certain well-known UNIX server manufacturer, and I got lot of insight from how things were done there. Hardware revisions (pre-release) tended not to number more than 2-3 - unless you were designing a server under really nasty circumstances (i.e. Broadcom or Adaptec end-of-lifes a chipset halfway through your product’s R&D cycle, then replaces it with something that’s less than compatible - it’s been known to happen!) Once the thing has been approved as suitable for release, there don’t tend to be many hardware changes. After a few months of manufacture, your product maintenance team might introduce one change - and that’s typically a “cost reduced” version for your manufacturing process. For reasons of profit, of course - but in any commercial environment, that’s to be expected.

Ignoring what hardware revisions they went through before release (which we will probably never know about), it would not surprise me if TLA#03xx is actually the seventh hardware revision. Even Plextor withdrew TLA#00xx drives pretty quickly - my PX-712A drives, by comparison, were TLA#0000 - and they never presented a single problem. Yes, they were fussy with certain types of media - but I found brands that worked well and some that didn’t work so well. I always verify discs when I write them, so I spotted bad media very quickly.

With regard to the TLA# itself, I don’t think people would actually care about it if it didn’t matter in the first place. I never bothered to look for the TLA# on my PX-712A until I encountered all this discussion about the PX-716A. Why? The drive just worked, for crying out loud. I didn’t want or need to know what the hardware revision was. When the product works, people tend to care less about the revision (or other factors that might tip the odds involved in getting a decent product). When it becomes a gamble - which it clearly has become, then people want to know information like TLA# before they buy. Can you really blame them?


#16

the fact remains that nobody outside of Plextor knows what is changed between TLAs and it’s all speculation as to whether one HW revision outperforms another. the only proven instance where TLA/hw revision has been an indication of drive quality is with the earliest TLA 00XX drives released in N.A. which were not up to par.

there’s an analagous situation going on with the BenQ 1620 and its supposed build quality issues. people asking what month/yr/country of mfg is your drive?


#17

Really? I’ve never seen any testing results coming from a TLA@00xx with any firmware higher than 1.01. IMHO it remains to be prooved that a 00 would do worse than any other TLA#0x when both use the latest firmware.

Actually one might go as fas as to compare Plextors TLA# to Benqs naming scheme. Since 1600, 1620 and 1620pro are (afaik) the same (at least firware-upgrade-wise) there certainly isn’t much difference except Plextors TLA# is within a product whereas Benq splits it into separate prducts.


#18

that’s true too…


#19

Have they? Given that no one really knows the significance of TLA# this is quite a daring statement.

Now if TLA# was truly the hardware-revision we’re assuming it is and if we were to bet on it then that is exactly what I would bet on.

IMHO you quite nicely explained above (i didn’t quote it all) why it doesn’t matter in the first place :slight_smile:

Yes, and boy have you been sucked in on that discussion/opinion on which TLA# ist best. Made you all forget your drive was working fine, eh?

The folks in this forum who brought this whole TLA# issue up and discussed it over and OVER have IMHO been rather singleminded and also rather uninformed. The whole thing has degenerated to the situation that some guy burns his first disc, scans it, promptly panics over the (ok) result, and the posts a mesage here asking whether his drive is ok or not.

All of them are missing ONE importang FACT: Burning a disc is not only a matter of the drive (and firmware) used, even more importantly it is a matter of the MEDIA that is used.

Why is eveyone looking at the TLA and not at the media involved? Why has the hardware become the main supect? As someone else said earlier, there is no prooven indication that Plextors hardware was/is more prone to defects than anyone elses.

In my opinion the used hardware only accounts for perhaps 10% (maybe even less) of bad burns, the rest is due to crappy media and ‘crappy’ nowadays includes quality brands that because of cost pressure have to make savings too. If one has followed the news on optical media manufacturing a bit then it is clear that all manufacturers nowadays are operating on a absolutely minimal margin of revenue. There is even talk of needing to raise prices! The quality of media however is discussed very little.

Yes one can. On can blame them for looking exclusively at the drive for a fault that might as well be the medias.


#20

Well said HWP Both My 716A and 716SA are TLA 203 they both burn well on the good media i use so i don’t think that TLA# matters here ,having system and good media play a great in great burn.