With the price of HD media plummeting, it is becoming more accessible to those who didn’t want to commit to a new format a few years ago. Since Blu-Ray beat HD-DVD in the format war (doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?), movie studios have been committing to the new format, and blank media is becoming more and more predominant too.
Blu-Ray drives have also been coming down in price, giving consumers a viable alternative to using Hard Drives or DVD-RW drives when storing their media and files. The imaginatively named Plextor PX-B940SA may be more expensive than some other drives available on the market, but during my brief time with the drive, I found it to be an extremely capable BD-RE drive.
Packaging and Bundled Software
The drive ships in a bright blue box, proudly boasting BD writing speeds of 12x, and DVD writing speeds of 16x. Inside the box, you’ll find the well protected drive, along with bundled software, cabling and mounting screws.
Plextor bundle CyberLink’s BD Suite with the drive, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing any other software before you’re good to go. The software suite allows you to play movies from the drive, whether they’re on DVD or Blu-Ray. You can also write files to CD’s, DVD’s and BD’s directly from the suite, whether you’re storing files, creating a movie or performing an offline backup.
For a software suite which comes bundled with the drive for free, CyberLink’s BD Suite is an extremely capable piece of software, which will allow you to make the most out of the drive.
The PX-B940SA is a full size, 5.25” optical drive, designed in a similar style to many other drives available, which again means that this wouldn’t be suitable to use in most small-form-factor media centre PCs. With a black, plastic housing at the front, the drive will fit in to most enclosures without looking out of place. If you’re not accustomed to Blu-Ray drives, you’ll be glad to know that they’re fully compatible with older media, so you’ll be able to read and write from both CD’s and DVD’s as well as Blu-Ray media.
When testing the drive, I played a Blu-Ray movie using it, and wrote files on to a BD-R and BD-RE disc too. While testing playback capabilities, I was using a machine with a 2.66GHz Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and an NVIDIA 9800GT graphics card to play my movie. As expected, playback of the movie using the Plextor drive was flawless, with a consistent read speed resulting in a great experience.
The real test, however, came when burning information on to the BD-R and BD-RE discs. Although the Plextor drive is capable of BD writing speeds of up to 12x, burnable media, unfortunately, hasn’t quite caught up yet.
The BD-R disc that I used was capable of 6x speeds, so I gave it 23GB of data to burn to see how quickly it performed. I was pleasantly surprised to see the disc fully burned in just over 19 minutes, with no issues whatsoever. Burning data on to a BD-RE disc took considerably longer, as I was limited to using a 2x capable disc. Still, as the media advances and allows for faster burning, the 12x writing speed of the PX-B940SA will certainly prove useful.
Whether the Plextor PX-B940SA is worth its price of close to £200 depends on personal use, and whether the user required 25GB of optical storage for their files. If you’re in the market for a Blu-Ray drive, and want to make sure it’s not outdated any time soon, the PX-B940SA could be a viable option.