The retail box contains the usual Plextor bundle, including an IDE cable (SATA with the PX-712SA), manual, single blank DVD+R disc and a software CD-ROM. The disc contains a copy of Nero for disc burning, InCD for packet writing, Nero Back-IT-Up for backups, Pinnacle Studio for video editing and authoring, PowerDVD for watching DVD movies and PlexTools – Plextor’s own suite of disc utilities. You also get Plextor’s two-year collect and return warranty, giving you significant piece of mind.
So, the Plextor PX-712A is a very fast drive, and although it doesn’t support dual layer media, I can’t really complain since I’ve had this unit in the labs for so long, waiting for fast enough media to test it. As usual, the drive itself feels very solid, and has an air of quality about it. But, as is always the case with Plextor, this quality carries with it a price, and the PX-712A will set you back a not insignificant £72.49. However, if you want to invest in new technology and build a complete SATA system, the PX-712SA will cost you £120, which is over double the price of a fast dual layer drive from most other manufacturers.
For me, the cost of Plextor drives has always been justifiable, because of the quality of the unit you’re getting. The first ever CD-ROM drive I bought was an external Plextor drive which I connected to a Silicon Graphics Indigo 2 Extreme workstation, and every computer I’ve built since then has had a Plextor optical drive in it. But I think for the majority of users that don’t have the history with Plextor that I have, the lure of cheaper, more highly specified drives might be too great.
The PX-712A is a very fast DVD writer, with the usual high quality feel that I’ve come to expect from Plextor. The lack of dual layer support is an issue, but you have to remember that this drive was released before the dual layer format launched. But, it’s probably the high price, especially for the PC-712SA, that will put many buyers off.