Plextor PX-B320SA 8X Blu-ray Disc Combo

Sep 9th, 2009 | By

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Plextor PX-B320SA 8X Blu-ray Disc Combo

: 09/9/09 – 02:59:08 AM


: Optical Devices

Page 1 : Introduction

: Plextor

There are only a few big names in the optical drive industry. If you ask anyone about the king of PC optical devices, you're more than likely going to hear the name Plextor a few times. Regarded as the king of quality, Plextor has over ten years of industry experience.


Not too long ago we looked at the Plextor PX-B310U, an external Blu-ray player and DVD burner. Today, we have the PX-B320SA, the bigger brother of the PX-B310, with 8X Blu-ray Single Layer transfer rates.

Plextor PX-B320SA

Page 2 : Package, Features & Specifications

Plextor has gone with what I would consider a simple, sleek-looking package. It has limited use of color or flashy art work; there is just a picture of the drive, the name and the key specifications.

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The packaging covers all the key information you need to know about the PX-B320SA: package content, system requirements, specifications and features.

The box is taped at the top by Plextor to ensure quality control and inside the package you'll find the optical drive protected in a plastic bag and centered in the box by two large foam blocks. The zip-lock bag carries the manual, driver discs, SATA cable and mounting screws.

Plextor PX-B320SA

Removing the physical drive, the cover is protected by a thin plastic film. Apart from the drive, we have the open key, a blue rectangular LED and a pin-hole to manually eject the tray.

The rest of the drive is pretty plain; the back has the SATA power and data cable. On the top we have a sticker indicating the make, model and serial number.

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There's absolutely nothing on the bottom side.

Plextor PX-B320SA

The physical drive may look pretty boring but there's nothing wrong with that because all the magic is done on the inside. The internal lasers read and write data off what would normally be pieces of plastic and film. Here's what Plextor has to say about the black box.

The PX-B320SA internal SATA 8X BD Combo is an expansion of the Plextor Blu-ray Disc optical disc drive family. It gives you an all-in-one solution for playing back Blu-ray discs, while maintaining the capability of archiving data onto CD or DVD. Bundled with CyberLink's TrueTheater HD technology, you can easily boost DVD video and audio quality to achieve HD-like results and smoother playback. The software turns standard content into HD-quality images, by upscaling video resolution from 480p to 1080p. You can now enjoy high definition movies on your PC-based home theater.

The PX-B320SA incorporates a host of features including PlexERASE, PlexUTILITIES, LightScribe technology, and more. It reads BD-ROM media at 8X, DVD±R media at 16X, and CD-R/RW/ROM at 32X, making it the best Blu-ray Disc reader and DVD writer in the market.

The Latest Technology

  • Blu-ray Disc reading speed at 8X

  • Converts standard definition DVD content to high definition quality images
  • Patented technology to protect personal & confidential data
  • Patented technology to provide extra hardware support
  • Burn label directly to disc with LightScribe technology
  • SATA interface for better performance & compatibility

Reliability and Robustness

  • Supports a wide array of BD, DVD, and CD playback

  • Advanced technology ensure best writing quality at high DVD speed
  • Double layer recording up to 4 hours of high-quality video on an 8.5GB disc
  • Buffer Underrun Proof Technology such as Lossless Linking and Zero Link, prevents buffer underrun errors

Creative & Fun

  • Cyberlink BD Suite software included – authoring and burning, data archiving, disc playback, slideshow creation, video editing, and more

  • Enjoy picture-perfect quality on your big screen TV
  • Personalize your creation using LightScribe without messy marker, pen, and sticky label

PlexUTILITIES Software
PlexUTILITIES is an advanced application and diagnostic tool that allows you to view basic and advanced drive information, and to measure and control the burn quality of every disc. This intuitive tool is easy enough for newcomers, yet powerful enough for experienced users.
Some of the powerful features include:

  • Viewing Basic and Advanced Drive information

  • Permitting Drive Identification and Control
  • Measuring Disc Burning Quality
  • Updating software and firmware automatically

PlexERASE Technology

  • Prodect your personal and sensitive data

  • Safely erase all disc content to ensure full confidentiality

Here are the specifications:

Plextor PX-B320SA

Page 3 : Installation

Optical drive installation isn't particularly difficult. The key thing to remember once the drive has been slid into a 5.25′ drive bay is to connect the SATA power and data cable. The cables are keyed and only go in one way so it's just a matter of fiddling around in your case before it lines up and slides in. Even for a novice, the installation will likely take less than half an hour.

Plextor PX-B320SA

Plextor has provided it's PlexUtilities – a software giving you access to basic and advanced drive information including customization options and a safe, secure and easy to way to destroy data on CD/DVD media. The software installation process, like every other program, is straight forward with little user interaction required.

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Walking through the PlexUtitiiles, the basic information provides details on the drive, disc and system.

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The advanced information brings up the engineering specifications and IOP, a health indicator on the laser diode.

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The advanced controls allow you to perform a self test, adjust the power condition of idle and standby, and execute PlexERASE – the secure erase software.

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The Disc Quality test is only available depending on the media you have in the tray. In total we can review the BLER, Jitter, TE/FE and complete a scan on the entire disc.

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The last option is to complete any updates to the drive or to PlexUtilities. My original PlexUtilities was 1.1.8 and it found 1.2.3.

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This quick update gave me a number of new Advanced Controls: Bit Setting, Auto Write Strategy Function, Power Tune and Plex Speed.

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I also noticed I could view the transfer rate of the drive with the new software – it's filed under the Additional Information tab.

Plextor PX-B320SA

It's nice that Plextor takes the time to update their software and add features that can be used but what will matter most are the results of the burn. Let's get to the testing.

Plextor PX-B320SA

Page 4 : Testing: Blu-ray, DVD & CD

To test the Plextor PX-B320SA I will be using the Opti Drive Control version 1.30. 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 x64

Blank Media

  • The Recruit Blu-ray Dual Layer Disc

  • Verbatim 16X DVD-R (MCC 03RG20)
  • Memorex 48X CDR (97m32s19f)


Let's start with the Blu-ray results. The max is 8X on single layer BD-ROM and BR-R/RE. Every movie you'll purchase will likely be a dual layer disc and as such I'm hitting a bottleneck of 4X with this drive. On the first layer we hit 4X at the end with a steady RPM. Throughout the second layer the RPM drops. The seek times are in the mid 200ms with a full stroke of 352ms.

Plextor PX-B320SA

We can look at the disc info and the disc quality but the results don't mean too much for a pressed retail disc.

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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.

Plextor PX-B320SA

The tracking errors (TE) and focus errors (FE) on the disc I used:

Plextor PX-B320SA

I created the test disc and as predicted we reach the maximum speed for both the disc and drive of 16x right at the end. It looked to be a pretty perfect burn with no bumps or hiccups along the way. The average buffer stayed at 98% and we hit a maximum CPU usage of 3%, averaging 0%. This means the drive takes very little CPU cycles to transfer data. After the test disc creation, I verified the data and it was a perfect burn.

Plextor PX-B320SA Plextor PX-B320SA

The Transfer test was also reached the maximum speed of 16X at the end with only a small hiccup at the 4.2GB mark. The average speed was 11.42x and access times were under 150ms with a full stroke of only 222ms. Much like data creation, the transfer took negligible CPU cycles.

Plextor PX-B320SA


The last piece of media we'll look at is with a plain CD-R. These are pretty out-dated but every so often they come in handy for backing up small amounts of data. The disc I have is an 80 minute Memorex 16X CD-R.

Plextor PX-B320SA

During the test date creation, top speed was achieved at 74 minutes, the end point for common (and very old) CDs. The average speed was just over 35x and we again made no dent to the buffer or CPU usage. Data verification showed another perfect burn.

Plextor PX-B320SA Plextor PX-B320SA

The reported average, start and end transfer rates are a out of sync with the graph as we clearly reached the top speed of 48x at the same 74 minute mark. My bet is that the average was in the range of 35x like the write results. Access times were less than 400ms with a full stroke of 780ms.

One of the features advertised by Plextor is the PlexERASE, the secure erase software as part of PlexUtilities. The quick erase overwrites data at the lead in area, the table of contents of the disc, whereas the full erase writes data over the entire disc. A quick confirmation gives PlexUtilties the ability to write over all the information. There's no follow-up prompt indicating that the job is done, a feature I would have liked to be included.

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Page 5 : Conclusion

Blu-ray has most certainly won the platform war against HD-DVD. While the technology is still relatively new and developing, we're quickly starting to see a rise of Blu-ray movies available at Blockbuster, Best Buy and the likes. The market for Blu-ray burners is still in its infancy as the discs are rather expensive and burners are still far from affordable. However, that will all change. I remember the days where a DVD burner was a hundred bucks, now you can have one for 20!

Plextor PX-B320SA

With the growing Blu-ray movie market, Plextor has definitely taken a right step in capitalizing on the market. The Plextor PX-B320SA performs flawlessly – not a single hiccup after whipping out over 50 discs. Anyone looking to do a new build and or a diehard movie watcher should take the plunge and pick up the PX-B320SA.



  • Great software suite

  • Plays Blu-ray movies


  • Blu-ray DL speeds not as fast as SL

I'd like to thank Plextor for making this review possible.

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