Plextor PX-B940SA Internal 12X BD Writer

Jan 20th, 2010 | By

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Plextor PX-B940SA Internal 12X BD Writer

: 01/20/10 – 04:33:36 AM


: Optical Devices

Page 1 : Introduction

: Plextor

The question that probably stumped so many this past holiday season, what do you get the guy with everything? If you can't afford the latest sports car on the market, having the newest technology on hand is probably the next best thing possible. With the Plextor PX-B940SA, you get just that. This is the fastest Blu-ray writer currently available on the market. How long that lasts is a completely different topic.


A few months ago I had a chance to evaluate the PX-B320SA and while it was a fantastic little Blu-ray drive, it lacked the ability to burn Blu-ray media. The PX-B940SA solves that problem as it has the ability to write at a blazing 12X!

Plextor PX-B940SA

Page 2 : Package & Contents

The PX-B940SA is packaged in a bright blue box. On the front of the package we have a picture of the drive and a box clearly indicating the maximum BD and DVD write speed, 12X and 16X respectively. The back of the box lists additional specifications as well as the box contents and system requirements.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

The sides of the package break down some of the available features: creating and enjoying Blu-ray media.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

The top of the box has another picture of the drive but also a full breakdown of the drive speed: 12X BD-R SL/DL, 2X BD-RE SL/DL, 12X DVD+/-R, 5X DVD-RAM, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 40X CD-R, 24X CD-RW, 8X BD Read, 16X DVD Read, 40X CD Read.

Plextor PX-B940SA

Cracking open the retail package we have a well protected optical drive and a bag of accessories: drive manual, SATA cable, mounting screws and CyberLink BD Suit on DVD.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

The drive itself is very basic in design. On the top we have a sticker with all the appropriate warning labels for the laser, serial number and manufacturing data. The bottom and side have nothing of real interest. On the back we have the SATA data and power cable slots. On the front we have the tray, emergency eject button, Power/Activity LED and eject button.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

Page 3 : Features & Specifications

he PX-B940SA product page is available here for more information on the drive but the key information is reprinted below.

The PX-B940SA internal 12X BD Writer is the fastest Blu-ray writing speed available in the market today. It provides you with a convenient solution for Blu-ray playback, while simultaneously offering increased storage capacity with BD writing capabilities.

The PX-B940SA can store up to 50GB of data on a single double-layer BD disc, equivalent to 9 hours High-Definition (HD) video or 23 hours of standard definition video. It is capable of recording and playing back today's most popular media formats including Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. It writes up to 12X BD-R DL/SL, 2X BD-RE; reads & writes up to 16X DVD+R/-R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 8X DVD+/-R DL, 5X DVD-RAM, 40X CD-R and 24X CD-RW.

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 up-scaling video resolution from 480p to 1080p. You can now enjoy high definition movies on your PC-based home theater.[/i]

The Latest Technology

  • Supports Blu-ray Disc writing speed up to 12X

  • Stores up to 50GB on a double-layer BD disc, or 25GB on a single-layer BD disc
  • Stores up to 9 hours High-Definition (HD) or 23 hours of standard definition video on a single double-layer BD disc
  • Converts standard definition DVD content to high definition quality images with TrueTheater technology


Reliability and Robustness

  • Low Vibration mechanism design improves overall writing accuracy

  • Supports a wide array of BD, DVD, and CD archive and playback
  • SATA interface for better performance & compatibility

Creative & Fun

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

  • Enjoy picture-perfect quality and digital surround sound on your PC-based home-theater system

Page 4 : 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-B940SA

Plextor includes the CyberLink BD Suite which will allow you to play movies (CD, DVD, BD) off your new drive, edit videos, write files to CDs, DVDs and BDs, backup your system and create labels for your storage media.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

The CyberLink BD Suite is a great piece of software as it eliminates your need to buy Ahead Nero.

The primary benchmark software will be Opti Disc Control v1.44 and that gives us a fair bit of background information on the drive I'd like to share.

Plextor PX-B940SA

Page 5 : Testing: Blu-ray, DVD & CD

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:

  • Control

  • 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

Plextor PX-B940SA

  • 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.

Plextor PX-B940SA

Plextor PX-B940SA


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.

Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

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%.

Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Plextor PX-B940SA


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%.

Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Plextor PX-B940SA

Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Plextor PX-B940SA


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.

Plextor PX-B940SA Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Plextor PX-B940SA

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.

Page 6 : Conclusion

For those who want the newest hardware available, Plextor's PX-B940SA takes the cake. While it's not the only 12X Blu-Ray burner out on the market, it is the brand more of us will recognize and make synonymous with high quality.

Plextor PX-B940SA

If you need to permanently record massive amounts of data, the Plextor PX-B940SA would certainly be one to consider. It's capable of burning a full Blu-ray disc in the time it would take to burn 2 DVDs. Unfortunately, much like the first high speed DVD burners it will take some time before Blu-ray discs become more available and affordable. For now, the PX-B940SA will have limited clientele.

  • Advantages

  • Write speed faster that available media
  • Great software suite
  • Plays and Burns Blu-ray discs
  • Disadvantages

  • Blu-ray discs are expensive

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

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