DVD Burners round-up: Plextor, Panasonic & Pioneer drives tested

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Plextor PX-504A DVD+RW drive

Initial Impressions

After using Plextor products in the past, I must say I was excited to try their latest DVD write drive. I have always had great luck with their products, and found them to be very compatible. Included in the package was an IDE cable, mounting screws, extra jumper, eject tool, 1 CD-R disc, 1 DVD+R disc, software, and a very comprehensive owners manual. Plextor really has the best manual of the three and we all know there are a lot of computer users out there that will need it.

Installation was smooth as expected, without any problems. The drive is actually quite attractive, as there is a simple black strip along the front of the tray to differentiate it from the crowd. The tray is simple and solid, allowing easy placement and removal of media.

 

Included Software

Roxio’s Easy CD Creator 5.3 DVD Edition is a bundled software application that includes:

  • Easy CD Creator Basic – This is the basic write/re-write software

  • DVD Builder – This application is used for creating DVD movies to be used with home DVD players

  • DirectCD – This is packet writing software that is great for backing up files

  • Roxio’s PhotoSuite 5 – With this you can edit/create slide shows using from your digital camera.

Test Drive

 

The Plextor drive I tested is slightly unique from the others. The drive only supports DVD+ media types, and not DVD-. This could be good, or bad, depends. DVD- drives consume about 70% of the market and more readily available, but DVD+ media is said to be faster and more compatible. While the war on media continues, some companies have already released drives that can read both. I have mixed emotions about this, and I am not quite sure what to make of it. I did try to use DVD- media with the drive, and it was unable to read it as advertised.

Here are the specifications for the Plextor drive:

 

 

Plextor PX-504A

DVD-R -
DVD-RW -
DVD-RAM -
DVD+R 4x
DVD+RW 2.4x
CD-R 16x
CD-RW 10x
DVD-ROM (read) 12x
CD-ROM (read) 40x

 

The Plextor drive is fast, and very compatible. The drive burned everything I tossed at it, included .cue files using Fireburner. One thing I did not like about the drive, for some reason while using RecordNow software, drive speed selections were not listed in 2x, 4x, etc. Instead, the options were min/mid/max. Not really a big deal, but I like to see the numbers myself. After using the drive for a few weeks, I have yet to make a coaster. I’ve burned over 10 DVD-R discs, and all were a success. The included software package is second to none, and very easy to install. The only thing missing is WinDVD or any other playback software, a program that should come with EVERY DVD drive!



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