If you go to the Plextor (Canada) Shop
you'll see the 716 is only about $30 more than the 712. And not all that hard to find.
I am seeing people having their dvd media not working anymore, after a few months after burn.
Maybe with the cheaper media, but I've not had those sorts of problems, at least not yet.
One thing I am seeing is that Plextor are no longer made in Japan, now made in China, does this make any affects on its quality.
No reason why it should ... Japanese companies are well-known for insisting on their own Quality Control methods regardless of where the product is manufactured.
Also I dont think that Plextors sells oem drives, if so, should I choose oem over Retail, I know its no big difference, but I wonder.
They do sell OEM units, but usually only to big PC manufacturers like Dell. You're unlikely to see one in a store.
Also lets say I save up for a few weeks and get a Plextor 16x will I get good quality, seems like there are complains due to firmware. If I get it, and used 8x media or 4x media, dont try anything like burning at 16x on 8x media, should I be fine.
I used to own a Plextor cdrw 8x burner and loved.
The only problems mentioned in CDFreaks forums seem to all be centred around 16x burning, and that seems to be clearing up with the TLA/firmware re-releases. 4/8/12x burning seems just as good as on the PX712a.
If it's a recommendation you're after, I'd say the extra (C$30 or less) for the PX716a is probably worth it, if you're determined to get Plextor.
It all depends what you are looking for in a DVD burner. Both the NEC and BenQ models write at 16x to DVD media very nicely, but both are a little slow at reading and writing CD media. The Plextors come with unique software and capabilities (and great warranty support), where the BenQ's and NECs rely on external software/firmware updates. If DVD-RAM is important, then LG becomes a candidate.
BTW, if it's going to be your only burner, I'd say don't get the NEC - it can't PIPO scan.