Digital Audio Extraction and Conclusion
The final test in this review is assessing each drive's Digital Audio Extraction capability. For this we inserted a commercially pressed audio CD and extracted all of its tracks.
Overall, both drives were quite capable in Digital Audio Extraction, each returning very similar results. In the end, the Plextor PX-712SA returned a slightly better time, completing the process in 5:42. This was 3 seconds faster than the Artec drive who completed the process in 5:45.
As we wrap up this showcase, there isn't a whole lot to say that's new about the PX-712SA. Just like the PX-712A we reviewed earlier, the drive excelled in all areas of read and write testing. The drive truly delivered in the performance arena, often exceeding its top rated speeds in most tests. Having the added option to support SATA is attractive, but the drive will only function with chipsets that have SATA integrated, such as the Intel 875P. Even then, there are potential pitfalls. In testing this drive, we had a bit of trouble getting it to work on two separate test machines. Ultimately, the first being the Intel Test machine used for this review, which was resolved by updating the BIOS. The second was a K8T800 board that simply would not recognize the drive at all. Plextor is actively investigating this with us in an effort to figure out what the problem is and we will update this review with the outcome. But overall, we do not expect there will be too many issues for users, as long as they meet the baseline requirements for the drive.
There's no arguing that burning a DVD at 12X is a great feature, but with rapid increases in drive speeds from competitors and limited 12X media availability, weighing that value can be difficult. The drive clearly delivers on its promise of top-end performance and backs that with the very capable PlexTools Professional. Still, since the market is rapidly changing and as affordable Dual-Layer drives are becoming more widely available, it will be a bit harder to justify the $150 price tag for this drive. Nevertheless, as a high-end enthusiast/professional drive, the Plextor PX-712SA offers a solid feature set and the tools to control its every move. While not the cheapest drive available, it can be argued that the PX-712SA is the only drive in its class.
We'll give the Plextor PX-712SA a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of 9.