Plextor PX-B940SA Internal 12X BD WriterJan 20th, 2010 | By Simon
To test the Plextor PX-B940SA I will be using the Opti Drive Control version 1.44. It’s a combination of PlexTools and Nero CD-DVD Speed. The following system was used for testing:
- CPU: Intel C2D Q6600 (G0 SLACR L731B434) @ 2.71GHz
- MB: Asus P5E3-Dlx Wifi-AP Edition
- GPU: Sapphire HD 4850 X2 Catalyst
- RAM: Aeneon 2×2GB XTune DDR3-1600 (AXH860UD20-16H) @ 1800MHz 10-10-10-30 1T
- PSU: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W
- CPU Cooling: Thermalright HR-01 w/ 120mm Antec Tri-Cool Fan
- PWM/NB/SB Cooling: Stock/Stock/Stock
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache (ST3808110AS)
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate x64
- Storage Media
- BD-ROM DL The Mummy
- BD-R SL Sony 6X (SONYNN3 (002))
- DVD-R Verbatim 16X (MCC 03RG20)
- CD-R Memorex 48X (97m15s17f)
Blu-ray BD-ROM DL
Let’s start with the Blu-ray results. The max is 8X for BD-ROM regardless if it is single or dual layer. This has a big advantage as most movies are dual layer and you certainly don’t want the drive to start skipping on you as you hit the second layer because it reads slower than the first. We can see the peak will reach at the end of the first layer and drop down as we read across the second, with the Blu-ray disc I had inserted the max was only 7.5X because the disc was only 33GB. The seek times are in the 200 to 300ms.
The primary reason why you’d want to purchase the Plextor PX-B940SA would be to write your own Blu-ray discs and to write them fast. At the time of this review there are only two brands of discs that are capable of 12X speed, it brings me back to the days when 16X DVD burners just came out and you had to have specific 8X TY discs to hit 16X on the burner. For the Plextor PX-B940SA, you must use either Panasonic 6X MEI___RA1 or Sony 6X SONY___N3 discs, no other brands are capable of 12X speed. Some others may let you achieve 10X but not the full 12X. Another problem Plextor faces for being ahead of the competition is the lack of availability for such discs. You can find them but you will have to pay a pretty penny. The best price I’ve found is about $10 per disc in the USA and about $17 in Canada. I grabbed the Sony 6X discs and with Opti Drive Control we can see the drive recognizes the disc as one with a 12X write speed.
One problem I found with Opti Drive Control v1.44 is that it actually doesn’t let you make a test disc at 12X. It will start burning and get stuck at 2.3X, the starting speed. When you try making a BL-R disc with Power 2 Go it too will recognize the 12X writing capability and start burning.
It will take approximately 11 minutes to burn a full BL-R, given that the single layer disc is 5 times the capacity of a single layer DVD, an 11 minute burn is incredibly fast.
My freshly burned disc tops out at 8X when reading. The random access time is under 200ms and a full stroke is just over 400ms. The CPU usage is an impressive 1%.
Some additional tests completed by Opti Drive Control shows a spin up and spin down time of under 3 seconds. The load time is just under 15s with only 0.01s for recognition. Other read and seek results are also tabulated in the picture below.
The next piece of media we’ll look at is drive performance with a typical DVD-R; in my case I have a Verbatim 16X DVD-R on hand. I created the test disc and as predicted we reach the maximum speed for both the disc and drive of just over 16X at the end. It looked to be a pretty perfect burn with minimal hiccups along the way. The average write speed was just over 11x. The average buffer was 77%, much lower than the PX-B320SA but still in a safe zone, and the average CPU usage was 3% with a max of 22%.
The read speeds mimicked the write speed, the end speed was just shy of 16X and the average was 11.32X. The random access times were slower than the PX-B320SA but not to a point where it will take seconds for the drive to locate data on the disc.
Some additional tests completed by Opti Drive Control showed a spin up and spin down time of less than five seconds but a rather lengthy load time of 10.43s. The transfer speeds all appeared to be reasonable: 6X at the beginning, 12X in the middle and 16X at the outer edge of the disc.
It’s unlikely that you purchased a $250 Blu-ray burner to burn regular CDs; however, if the need came up, you have that capability. The Plextor PX-B940SA offers a generous 40X CD-R write speed. It’s certainly not the fastest but it is more than sufficient. Opti Drive Control reported a write speed of 41X and a read speed of 24X.
The seek times ranged from 150ms to 200ms with spin up and down times of less than 4s. The load time was close to 16s which I thought was a bit on the long side given how little data is on the disc.
After burning something in the range of 40 pieces of blank media over the past couple of weeks, I would say the only fault of the PX-B940SA is that the drive tray motor is a bit on the loud side but thankfully the motor spinning the disc is on the quieter side compared to cheaper DVD burners I’ve had in the past.