Should I give 716A another try?

Hi everyone,

I realize I’m probably soliciting biased opinions here; but I am wondering if I should replace my bum 716A with another one? I had gotten a slightly used one from a computer surplus store a few months ago (couldn’t pass up the almost half-off saving compared to retail, plus the store claimed the drive still had a few months of warranty left.) but didn’t start using it for burning until just a few weeks ago. I have and still use a 712A, which I have no problem with it whatsoever – but the 716A has given me nothing but headaches. After upgrading the firmware to 1.09 and still made coasters out of genuine TY, I threw in the towel.

I need to replace the drive now; and since I like the 8MB buffer, it’s not likely I will get the 740A or even wait for the 760A. So should I go for another 716A? Is the current batch on the store shelves safe to buy now? After reading so many complaints in the forum I am wavering.

Any advice/opinions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

pugdaddy

Hi,

if you can, please control on the box of your New burner if it’s TLA #030X: this ‘batch’ was ‘normally the (last!) best’ from Plextor. :iagree:

But… what TLA was your Old PX716? Yes 8MB are the best for DVD writing, and PX750 & PX760 have only 2MB.

Some TLA #020X was good however, but i believe that are not simple to find on the stores today, but try! :iagree:

Simple question but complicated answer.

I take it that you are unable to use warranty service on the 716A. If so, then the question should be whether there are features of the 716A that make it your number one ODD (optical disc drive) for purchase.

First, all ODD’s have had problems. No manufacturer is devoid of issues. Some Manufacturers are better than others when it comes to standing behind their warranties and providing speedy inexpensive/free service. Plextor does stand behind their products. Personally, I had two 716A’s replaced before I obtained my “good” one. The customer must pay for shipping back to Plextor in the USA but in Europe Plextor pays for everything. Turn around time was excellent.

Second, the 716A provides a variety of functions and options via the included software (PlexTools) such as fast ripping speed, automatic offsets when ripping/burning audio CD’s (don’t know of anyone else doing this), proprietary disc quality scanning, GigaRec, SecuRec, etc. Plextor also releases firmware updates reasonably, though one has to wonder how much longer they will continue to support it as newer ODD’s, like the 760, are released. I hope it will be supported for at least a couple more years. Fortunately the 716A is a relatively mature product, having had most bugs worked out already. Just looking at the Plextor forum on CDFreaks you will notice very few new posts compared to other ODD forums.

Third, price to performance may be a consideration for you. The 716A can be a wonderful DVD burner if fed the appropriate media. CD burning is good as well, though DVD burners are not known for their CD burning excellence. They will do the job but none holds a candle to the Plextor Premium for Cd burning. If money is a factor, then other drives are a better selection for comparable or even better DVD burning (with some media). If money is not an issue, and you want the best, then get a Plextor Premium just for CD burning regardless of whatever DVD burner you choose.

Fourth, since you have a 712A, you may want to wait a little bit and see how the new drives from Plextor and other manufacturers perform in the next couple of months. Their performance and increased functionality may be more attractive to you.

Fifth, if you use only Taiyo Yuden or other high quality media, then any ODD should give good results. If you are only able to purchase other or off-brand medi, then do some research as to which ODD has the best results for that particular media. Since the media will add up to more money spent over time than the initial cost of the ODD, it makes more sense to shape the choice of ODD to the type of media to be used. Check out the manufacturer’s supported media list and CDFreaks’ member results for the ODD you are considering to optimize your results.

I have both a Plextor 716A and a BenQ 1640. The Plextor does better with CD burning while the BenQ does better with DVD burning. These differences are small. I have not yet tried Double Layer DVD burning, so look at the forums for results if this is a concern.

Lastly, my brother just purchased his components to build a new system: AMD 64 4000+ San Diego, Asus A8N SLI Deluxe, eVGA GeForce 7800 GT, Corsair PC3200 RAM, WD Raptor SATA, Chenbro Gaming Bomb II case. After dropping all that cash, another $100-130 didn’t matter to him. What did matter, and what drove all his purchase decisions, was best price-to-performance, AKA best bang for the buck. He choose the OEM BenQ 1640 for his ODD since he did not care about the unique features of the Plextor and the performance was comparable for 1/3 the price.

Good luck on your purchase.

@pugdaddy

Your 716A should be aged just under 1 year. Why not call Plextor and arrange RMA?

ditto

Well, to be honest, I don’t even have the receipt from the surplus store any more… How will I prove that my drive is still under warranty? I’ve never done a RMA on optical drives before. Won’t Plextor try to make me jump through hoops (I mean, troubleshooting) before issuing me a RMA?

BulletX, thanks for the thoughtful response. Like most of you, I am looking for the drive that will give me “perfect burns” – speed is nice, but it’s nicer to me to have a burn that’s completely (if not, almost) error free. I started out with two SCSI-based Plextor CDRW burners, and have never really had any problems until now. So is it just a matter of my stupidity in trying to save a few bucks, or this particular model just has quality issues, I don’t know.

There is a sticker on the drive that tells the manufacturing date. Plextor acknowledges it so don’t worry about the receipt. Whether you get a new or refurbished one, that’s another thing.

I’ve never done a RMA on optical drives before. Won’t Plextor try to make me jump through hoops (I mean, troubleshooting) before issuing me a RMA?
If you believe there is a problem, do the Self Diagnostic Test as explained in the User Guide (page 92) or check the Plextor FAQ here. If the test result failed then call Plextor.

Zevia nails the issue. No proof of purchase was requested/required by Plextor before they issued an RMA number to return my drive. What Plextor technical support will want to know is the data found on the sticker on the outside of the unit (you may have to remove the drive to write down the info) and whether the Self-Diagnostic Test fails.

I forgot to mention the Self-Diagnostic Test previously. It is a fantastic and unique function of the Plextor 716A. Although it is a little cumbersome to perform, having to unplug the drive cables before running the test, it affords a valid customer performed test that Plextor understands and accepts as proof of a bad drive. Do the test before you call Plextor. If it fails, you will get no hassle from tech support, at least in my experience.

BTW, I have seen a couple of “perfect” quality scans on CDFreaks. In reality, these are mirages for most of us mere mortals, so don’t be discouraged. A decent rule of thumb for error parameters can be read at http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=49767#plextools-ptgraphmeaning. There has been much conjecture on CDFreaks as to the conservative nature of these figures (ie there are exceptions to most every rule), but they do represent a “standard”. You should be able to attain these goals with good media. The link is part of the sticky post at the top of this forum entitled “Read first: Suggestions and feedback for Plextor”, a valuable info treasure trove for all with Plextor 716A’s.