Plextor's PX-810SA is the final black beauty in our round-up. It's both the longest and heaviest of the three drives, although not enough of either to make much of a difference when installing into cramped quarters such as in a Small Form Factor PC. The tray is graced by the company logo and model number, making it easy to identify which drive is installed - something we believe only Plextor does, but even then sporadically. The drives features are laid out graphically in a row with the power eject button and busy LED. As with the others, a small pinhole for manually ejecting a disc is placed towards the left side of the front plate.
The top of the drive has an odd sort of dimpling, that may have something to do with stablilizing a disc from above. If so, it is the only drive to have this kind of construction. Of course, it also has the connectors on the back of the drive for both SATA power and data cables, with an additional set of pins reserved for a future, yet unknown purpose. Terms such as PowerRec, GigaRec, and all other "REC"s have been dropped from documentation for the current line of Plextor's drives although Buffer Underrun Proof is still listed as being used to prevent buffer underrun errors. Lossless linking for DVD+R and Zero linking for DVD-R provide better compatibility for burned discs when using them in DVD-ROM players. Finally, the PX-810SA also supports Content Protection for Recordable Media, allowing users to play CPRM controlled media.
For whatever reason, it took nearly two full minutes for Windows XP to recognize that the PX-810SA was installed, but after it appeared as a DVD-RAM drive in Explorer, we had no other headaches during any of the testing. Ripping audio to MP3 produced a decent level of humming from the drive while DVD playback was almost silent.
Arriving in a white box with large numerals, the PX-810SA is not shy about advertising the top writing speeds for DVD+/-R and DVD-RAM media. The only problem is finding these discs for retail. Gone are the PlexTools CDs that typically accompanied their drives. Instead we've got a disc with Easy Media Creator 9, a PDF version of the setup manual and an installation file for Adobe Reader 7. There's also a quick installation guide and four screws, but no usuable media so make sure you purchase a spindle with that new drive.
Looking at NERO InfoTool one last time, we notice that the list of features is the same as the Lite-On drive with the sole exception of support for LightScribe. Even though the drive was released back in June of this year, there have been no Firmware revisions, which may be a good thing, as it might point to few known issues with burning or stability.