I bought a 708a whilst in Japan (I live in Australia), banking on Plextor's reputation for quality. After reading a few CDs it had the usual unable to read CDs, CDRs and CDRWs problem. If anyone has tried to RMA via the Japanese Plextor website they will probably agree it isn't really designed for non-Japanese (and fair enough too I suppose).
Anyway, I had a friend heading back to Japan so he took the drive back to the shop where I bought it. I got the replacement drive back eventually and was a bit concerned to see what looked to be the same drive but the TLA number (TLA #0102) had been covered with a sticker that said TLA #0206.
I installed the drive and found that it doesn't read anything now. Not CDs, CDRs, DVDs, DVDRs etc. It doesn't even blink like it used to when trying to read a CD.
I have tried different firmwares, made sure I had it running as Secondary Master. When I ran the diagnostic test I put the CDR in and it would blink 3 times, suggesting I had not put a blank CDR. Tried a different CDR, same result. Tried the drive in a different PC, same result.
If anyone has any suggestions I would love to try them otherwise I will just buy a Liteon 8X and attempt to send this drive back for store credit or another replacement.