Twelve Angry Men
Fastest BD writes; competitive DVD performance.
Do you really need a BD burner--and at this price? We miss the Plextor pizzazz.
Once Blu-ray burners reached 8x writes, enabling them to fill a 25GB disc with data in less than 15 minutes, speed stopped being a major argument against the technology—now it’s just price and consumer need that stand in the way of widespread adoption. Still, for what it’s worth, Blu-ray write speeds continue to improve at a steady pace, and now, a mere six months after reviewing our first 8x drive, we’ve been presented with Plextor’s 12x B940SA.
But, you’ll probably wonder, what good is a 12x drive when today’s BD-R media has a maximum rating of 6x? As is the case with DVD and Blu-ray drives alike, hardware is often tuned to exceed the media’s spec, but typically such tuning is tied to a particular brand of media. Plextor’s B940SA, for example, reaches peak speed when writing to Sony and Panasonic BD discs.
Thus, we were able to write 22.56GB of data to a Sony BD-R single-layer disc in 10:57 (min:sec), a 36 percent improvement over our 8x champ, Pioneer’s BDR-2203 ( reviewed September 2009 ), which took 14:56 at the task. When writing to a Panasonic BD-R double-layer disc, we achieved an unprecedented time of 22:05—that’s for a 50GB disc, folks!
Even with Verbatim’s BD-R media, which is officially spec’d at 4x, the B940SA was able to hit 10x during the course of filling a disc, to turn in a very impressive time of 11:13.
The Plextor B940SA has the chops when it comes to standard DVD media, as well. With a 16x rating for DVD+/-R writes, it filled a 4.5GB disc in 6:01. It wrote 7.96GB of data to a DVD+R DL disc in 15:29. And in our DVD-ripping test, we copied the contents of double-layer movie disc from the Plextor B940SA to our hard drive in a very competitive 10:09.
For a while it seemed like each new generation of Blu-ray drives also saw a drop in price, but the Plextor B940SA costs no less than our favorite 8x or even 6x drives before it. In fact, at $280, the B940SA is slightly more expensive. What’s more, Plextor has shed its once-characteristic stylish faceplate in favor of a more common utilitarian look. Nevertheless, if you’re one of the few people who has a real need for a Blu-ray burner, this one’s the fastest.
|Plextor B940SA ||Pioneer BDR-2203 |
|DVD Write Speed Average ||11.73x||11.64x|
|DVD Read Speed Average ||11.97x||11.93x |
|Access Time (Random/Full)||163/361ms ||173/365ms |
|DVD Ripping ||10:09||10:06|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-R (min:sec) ||10:57 ||14:56|
|Time to Burn 22.5GB to BD-RE (min:sec) ||43:00||45:35|