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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
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Appeared on: Friday, September 24, 2004
NEC ND-3500A


1. Introduction - Retail Package

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 1

NEC recently joined the 16X DVD recording race with the introduction of their latest drive, the ND-3500A. After the big success of the ND-25x0 series, which was indeed a very good quality writer, the new ND model aims to take its place in the market, offering the highest recording speed available for all media formats. The ND3500A delivers even higher write and re-write speed functions than its predecessor, the ND2510.

"High resolution writing strategies" are again incorporated into the ND-3500A, just as with ND-2510A model, which is in fact an improved version of Active Optimized Power Control (Active OPC). Active OPC constantly monitors the sensitivity of the media and adjusts the laser strength to achieve the best possible results. It does this by analyzing the reflection from the media's surface. Buffer underrun error prevention technology ensures that media will be recorded successfully, even if writing procedure is interrupted or paused. You will find here a simple diagram explaining the Active OPC technology.

- Features

This MultiRead drive can read at 16X max DVD-ROM discs and 48X max CD-ROM discs. The drive can burn a full 4.7GB +R/-R DVD disc in less than 6mins at 16X speed, and can burn +RW and -RW media at 4X. Double Layer media is supported, as expected, at 4X. Approximately 22~25mins are required for burning a full DVD+R9 disc at this recording speed.

As a CD recorder, it can record at 48X max when CD-R discs are used, and 24X max with CD-RW discs.

- Specifications

Drive
NEC ND-3500A
Media
DVD
CD
Transfer Rate Write
+R

16x CAV (9 - 22MBytes/sec)

-R
48x CAV (3000-200kBytes/sec)
13x CAV (7.3 - 17.5MBytes/sec)
48xZCLV (3000-7200kBytes/sec)
12x ZCLV (8.2 – 16.6MByte/sec)
40x CAV (2550-6000kBytes/sec)
8x ZCLV (5.5 -11MBytes/sec)
40xZCLV (3000-6000kBytes/sec)
6x ZCLV (5.5-8.2MBytes/sec)
32xPCAV (2550-4800kBytes/sec)
4x CLV (5.5 MBytes/sec)
32x ZCLV (3000-4800kBytes/sec)
2.4x CLV (3.3 MBytes/sec)
24x PCAV (2550-3600kBytes/sec)
+R9
4x CLV (5.5 MBytes/sec)
24x ZCLV (3000-3600kBytes/sec)
2.4x CLV (3.3 MByte/sec)
16x CLV (2400kBytes/sec)
+RW
4x CLV (5.5 MBytes/sec)
8x CLV (1200kBytes/sec)
2.4x CLV (3.3 MBytes/sec)
-RW
24x ZCLV (3000-3600kBytes/sec)
-R
16x CAV( 9 - 22MBytes/sec)
13x CAV (7.3 - 17.5MBytes/sec)
12x ZCLV (8.2 – 16.6MByte/sec)
16x CLV (2400kBytes/sec)
8x ZCLV (5.5 -11MBytes/sec)
6x ZCLV (5.5-8.2MBytes/sec)
4x CLV (5.5 MBytes/sec)
10xCLV (1500kBytes/sec)
2x CLV (2.7 MBytes/sec)
-RW
4x CLV (5.5 MBytes/sec)
2x CLV (2.7 MBytes/sec)
4xCLV (600kBytes/sec)
1x CLV (1.38 MBytes/sec)
Transfer Rate Read
DVD-R 16x CAV (max 22000 kb/s)
CD-R 48x CAV (max 4800 kb/s)
DVD-RW 4x CLV (5520 kb/s)
DVD+R 16x CAV (max 22000 kb/s)
CD-RW 16x CLV (max 2400 kb/s)
DVD+RW 4x CLV (5520 kb/s)
DVD+R9 4X CLV (5500 KByte/s)
Access Time
140ms
120ms
Mechanism
motorized Tray load mechanism for horizontal and vertical use
Interface
IDE / ATAPI
Burst Transfer Rate
PIO mode 4 / Ultra DMA 33
Cashe Memory
2MB
Audio
digital-out and line-out at the back (MPC compatible)
Modes supported
DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-Video, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-Audio, CD Extra, CD Text, CD-IReady, CD-Bridge, Photo-CD, VideoCD, Hybrid CD
Writing methods
DAO(disc at once), SAO(session at once), TAO(track at once) with zero gap, variable or fixed packet, multisession
Compatibility
MPC Level 3, MultiRead, PC2001
Weight
1.01 kgr
Dimensions
148mm x 42mm x 190mm

The drive cannot read DVD-RAM media, it does not support Mount Rainier and it uses the well known RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times. Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool, VSO Inspector and DVDInfoPro:

- The drive / Retail Package

The retail version of the ND-3500A comes with "electronic manuals" in six languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch) on the software CD-ROM, all parts necessary to assemble the drive (screws, IDE and audio cable) and a full featured software solution from Ahead (Nero Express 6, Nero InCD 4, Nero Vision Express 2, Nero Back IT Up, Nero StartSmart, Nero Recode 2 and Nero Showtime).

On the drive's front panel, you can see the eject button, the activity led and the eject hole. There are no volume control or headphone jack. The drive is also available in black, and coming soon, in silver as well.

On the rear panel you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input.

Opening the device's case will void the warranty, so we advise against it. Instead, use the photos in this review for a closer look under the hood. Clicking on the image below will reveal a high resolution image.

click to enlarge!

The main chipsets come from NEC, with part numbers NEC D63635GM and NEC C333500. The same chipsets are used in the TDK 1616N, the Pioneer DVR-108 and ASUS DRW-1604P.

Model name
C3335
Process
Bi-CMOS 0.35
Voltage
5V
Package
120-pin TQFP (14x14mm)
Power consumption
0.66W (8x DVD playback)
0.74W 8x DVD recording)
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

Model name
D63635
Process
CMOS 0.15
Voltage
1.5V core, 3.3V I/O
Package
216-pin LQFP (24x24mm)
Power consumption
0.35W (8x DVD playback)
0.95W (8x DVD recording, LVDS)
Interface
Host
ATA/ATAPI5
Buffer
16Mbit SDRAM
Speeds
DVD playback
16x CAV
DVD-RAM playback
4x
DVD recording
16x
CD playback
48x
CD recording
48x

The following picture shows the laser lens assembly of the NEC ND-3500A. By clicking on the picture, you can see a higher resolution image.

click to enlarge!

Compared to the TDK 1616N laser lens, you can see that these two laser lenses are identical.

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "NEC DVD_RW ND-3500AG " under WinXP. You can see that the book type option is supported, just as with the NEC ND-2510A. This option was missing in the TDK 1616N drive.

The drive arrived with v2.16 firmware revision, meanwhile NEC had contacted us to inform us that a new version was available. We flashed the drive successfully with their latest firmware version, v2.07. Writing strategies and the support media list with this firmware will be discussed later on this review.

In this review, we will be comparing the drive to a wide range of DVD recorders with similar specifications, the Pioneer DVR-108, the Memorex (F16) and the BenQ DW1620A.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.21
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  5. KProbe v2.4.2 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, LiteOn SOHD-167T firmware 9S13, LiteOn XJ-HD165H firmware CH11, and LiteOn LTD-163 firmware GH5S, Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.16 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.05, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v3.16
  8. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.20
  9. DVD Decrypter 3.5.1.0
  10. CopyToDVD 3.0.29.48

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The NEC ND-3500A supports up to 48X reading speed. Below are the transfer rate graphs along with the comparative results for the Pioneer DVR-108, the Memorex (F16) and the BenQ DW1620A drive:

The NEC ND-3500A proved to be faster than the Pioneer model with Pressed CDs, CD-R media and US-RW media. However, the Memorex drive was the fastest drive with CD Pressed and CDR media, while the BenQ DW1620A was the fastest drive with Ultra-Speed CD-RW media.

- DVD Format

Only small differences were reported with pressed single layer DVD-ROM media. The ND-3500A reported the slowest average speed, slightly lower than the Pioneer model.

The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards the outer range for each layer. The ND-3500A reading performance was not good with this type of disc. We observed the slowest speed compared to the other drives. The Pioneer drive was the fastest.

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer on the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks towards the inner part of the disc. Again, same image here, with the NEC drive being the slowest. The average reading speed was 5.40X with a start speed of 3.02X and end speed of 7.20X.

The ND-3500A can read DVD ±R media up to 16X and DVD ±RW up to 8X. That makes the TDK 1616n one of the fastest readers on the market for ±R media.

The ND-3500A reported an average ripping speed of 5087kb/sec with DVD-Video discs (even slower than the TDK 1616N that reported 5125kb/sec), and proved to be slower than all other drives when it comes to DVD Video ripping. The Memorex drive was the fastest DVD Video ripper.

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 1457211
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 173395 Avg: -80.4 dB(A) Max: -18.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 5997 Avg: 1.2 Samples Max: 18 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 36 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
63.9 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
98.6 %

The total error count was about average, and the maximum error loudness level was high at -18.5dB. There were 36 skipped samples which is high, while the drive achieved a total score of 65.4. In general, the drive 's performance was not that good with this test disc.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 8438
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 12262 Avg: -85.5 dB(A) Max: -11.5 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 323 Avg: 4.4 Samples Max: 18 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 2 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
73.9 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
96.3 %

The Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read. Most drives manage to compile a score in the 90s with the better drives managing 100. The drive managed only 73.9, showing again that the drive's CD error correction capabilities need improving. A good reader should produce better results than these.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
NEC ND-3500A
5/5
5/5
3/5
0/5
0/5

The drive successfully passed only the first two out of the five check levels for this test. Here too, the drive turned in a poor performance. Almost all drives have difficulties reading the 5th level but good quality drives can read up to the 4th level. However, most drives will pass at least the third level without any problems.

- Summary

Generally we can say that the CD error correction of the NEC ND-3500A is less than average, something that could be fixed with newer firmware releases.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the NEC ND-3500A drive with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests, we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media

ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The ND-3500A needed to lower its speed to read over the scratched area. However, no errors were reported, and the maximum 16X reading speed was achieved near the end of the reading process.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

The ND-3500A read this disc as if there were no defects and fingerprints at all. A continuous line was produced, and the drive once again reached its highest 16X reading speed.

- Dual Layer media

ABEX TDR-841

This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.

.

Most NEC based drives have problems reading this type of disc. As seen above, the NEC has improved DVD error correction capabilities over former drives. The ND-3500A gave no errors during reading. The test was completed successfully. Excellent performance at this point!

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defective areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micrometers.

Again, the drive had no problems reading this disc.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB. The disc is based on the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

The current TDV-541 also checks the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

click to enlarge!

According to this reading behavior, the drive could read the disc with no problems. It started to read at a speed of 1.92X, reached a highest reading speed of 4.61X at the end of the first layer, lowered the reading speed just after the start of the second layer and produced an average speed of 3.24X (similar results were reported by the TDK 1616N, as would be expected).

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meter fingerprints.

click to enlarge!

Not even this disc was a problem for the ND-3500A model.

- Summary

NEC drives were known to be bad readers, and their DVD error correction capabilities were limited. We were happy to see that NEC improved DVD error correction with their new ND-3500A, making it a very good reader for problematic media.


5. Protected Disc Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests

- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case.
Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
01:06 min
1349 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
32:56 min
170 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:08 min
1819 sectors/sec

Although the BenQ drive was the fastest with Lybcrypt protected discs, the ND-3500A was not far behind being a good deal faster than both the Pioneer and Memorex drives. With SecuROM v2 ripping, the drive was slightly faster than the Pioneer DVR-108 and BenQ DW1620A drives, but much slower than the Memorex drive, which was also the fastest with SafeDisc protected discs.

- Writing Tests

The NEC ND-3500A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 5 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1

Sims Superstar SD v2.9
Sims Unleashed SD v2.8
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.51.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
No
No
Yes
No
Creative CD5233E
No
No
Yes
No

NEC ND-3500A

Yes
No
Yes
Yes

Like most NEC based drives, the ND-3500A cannot produce working backups with the newest v2.8x, v2.9x and v3.1x builds. Partially working backups were produced for SafeDisc v2.51.051 & v2.51.020.


6. DAE Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The ND-3500A supports up to 13-32X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy.

The NEC ND-3500A was slower with both Pressed CD and CDR media. The Memorex 16X recorder supports up to 48X CAV DAE speed, the highest speed available.

The NEC ND-3500A drive can report C2 errors, but caching is not supported.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The NEC-ND3500A achieved a score of 95.3, which is a good score (but not perfect, and lower than the TDK 1616N). Very good recorders can achieve a perfect quality score of 100. At the same time, ND-3500A was the slowest drive in the comparison matrix. The ND-3500A cannot read Leadin data or Leadout data, but it can read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 24.17X.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

click to enlarge!

The drive can read/rip flawlessly 90min Audio CDs at an average speed of 23.17X, starting the reading process at 15.38X and reaching a maximum speed of 32.97X. Reading speed dropped to around 5X near the end of the reading process, from the 77th min to the end but the drive read the disc without errors.

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

The 99min Audio CD we used for this test was not recognized correctly by the NEC ND-3500A. The time length was wrong and the reading process could not start, giving the following error message.

It should be noted that 99min Audio CDs were a problem with all NEC based drives.


7. Protected AudioCDs

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process on all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9 beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200, contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by the reader, while the Key2Audio contains a second session causing problems for readers when trying to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The tested tasks are:

The drive recognized up to the 12th Audio track of the CDS200 disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, the drive recognized the 13th track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
NEC ND-3500A
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison successful for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports no problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

The NEC ND-3500A could not rip 100% accurately CD200 discs since Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same between corresponding tracks. On the other hand, Key2Audio protected CDs were not a problem. EAC did not report timing problems, and at the same time, Read&Test CRC check comparison was the same for all corresponding tracks.

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors which create problems during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses.

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the wav file produced from the Cactus Data Shield 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a disc with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors and for BETA/Jitter errors with PlexTools software using Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.05).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
NEC ND-3500A
Reading performed without any errors.

The C1/C2 error graphs show that the ND-3500A managed to produce a 100% error free disc.

We then tried to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712SA and PlexTool DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files. The drive can backup the disc 100% accurately.


8. CD Recording Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The NEC-3500A probably has the largest combination of writing speeds and writing strategies. Supported writing speeds are as follows:

It's uncommon for a drive manufacturer to support both Z-CLV and P-CAV/CAV writing strategies for the same writing speeds, but depending on the media manufacturer, the drive adjusts accordingly to produce the best possible results. We experienced the same writing methodology with the TDK 1616N model.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive clocked in an average speed of 36.31X. The test started at 21.47X and finished at 40.07X.

click to enlarge!

- CD-R Recording Times

We created an 80min data compilation with Nero Burning Rom and recorded it on a 700MB disc. The writing performance varies according to the inserted media. Below is a chart depicting all recording times with various media.

You will notice that not all media could be recorded at 48X. This is a major drawback for this drive, since not even good quality media like TY could be recorded at full speed. The ND-3500A returned a time of 3:34 minutes at the 32X writing speed with Intenso 52X media being written at 32X, and 3:01 at 48X writing speed with BenQ 52X media. Very good performance at this speed. It should be noted that all media was recorded at maximum supported speeds by the drive.

- Other features

The NEC ND-3500A supports overburning up to 90mins at full speed and can both read and write CD-Text.

Unfortunately, the drive cannot overburn more that 90mins, and gives the following error message.

- CD-RW Format

The ND-3500A supports 4X, 10X, 16X (CLV) and 24X (Z-CLV) rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW).

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24x US-RW media from Mitsubishi Chemicals.

click to enlarge!

- CD-RW Mount Rainier

The NEC ND-3500A does not support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 9

Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

On this page we present the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs when using various media burned at 32X and 48X writing speeds.

- 3T Pit results

The highest 3T Pit jitter reached 53nsec (Traxdata), which is way above the Red Book limit (35nsec). Best results were achieved with BenQ CD-R and Taiyo Yuden media. Generally, the performance of the ND-3500A was not good, and this is a point that NEC should improve with future firmware releases.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land results were also high, reaching a maximum of 55nsec, again with Traxdata media, while Taiyo Yuden and BenQ CD-R media once again produced the best results.

Former NEC drives reported better performance than the ND-3500A did here. On the other hand, when writing at 32X, recording quality was far better, but when writing at 48X, media quality was reduced. It should be noted that all discs were recorded at the maximum supported speeds.


10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 10

Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used is PleXTools Professional v2.16, and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.05).

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

Intenso 80min 48X @ 32X

MMORE 80min 52X @ 48X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

TY 80min 48X @ 32X

- Summary

There were C2 errors reported with certain discs that could be better. The overall writing performance of CDR media needs improvement. NEC needs to look into improving this aspect with future firmware releases. It should be noted that all discs were recorded at the maximum speed supported by the recorder.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
BenQ 52X
97m22s67f
Daxon
79m59s74f
SKC 52X
97m26s26f
SKC Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Intenso 52X
97m32s19f
Prodisc
79m59s71f
TraxData 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f
MMore 52X
97m17s 6f
Moser Baer India
79m59s74f

11. DVD Recording Tests

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The NEC ND-3500A supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for DVD±R is 16X CAV and 4X CLV for DVD±RW media. You can see the full range of supported speeds on the first page of this review. Nero Burning Rom's reported speeds are shown below.

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed with DVD-R and DVD+R media, we are able to see the 8X ZCLV, 12X ZCLV, 13X CAV and 16X CAV recording technology being used by the recorder for -R and +R media.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

Below is a table with several 12X and 16X recorders, listing their average writing speeds as measured by Nero CD-DVDSpeed and showing that the NEC ND-3500A and TDK 1616N are the fastest 16X recorders.

Drive
Writing Strategy
Writing Speed
Average
Writing Speed
Plextor PX-712A
P-CAV
12X
10.62X
LG GSA-4120B
Z-CLV
12X
9.87X
BenQ DW1620A
CAV
16X
11.52X
ASUS DRW-1604P
Z-CLV
16X
10.11X
TDK 1616N
CAV
16X
11.86X
NEC ND-3500A
CAV
16X
11.86X
Pioneer DVR-108A
Z-CLV
16X
10.03X

- Burning Tests

Full Media Support list will be discussed later on this review

There are only a few -R media that can be recorded at 16X. The TDK 8X media was recorded at the 16X speed but the drive could not pass the 14X limit, giving similar recording performance to that of TY 8X media recorded at 12X. Maxell 16X media had the best performance of all.

Best performance was reported with Verbatim 16X media (recorded at 16X). It should be reminded that the TDK 1616N could write BeALL and BenQ 8X media only at 4X, and the NEC ND-3500A should support these speeds as well. For 16X media, CMC Magnetics and Philips media could only be recorded at 8X, while Traxdata 8X and 16X media (Ritek based) supported only 4X(!). This is a major drawback for this device.

- Comparison with other drives

Although there are faster +R media recorders, recording times reported by the NEC ND-3500A were indeed more than satisfactory. The Pioneer DVR-108 seems to be the slowest drive, being able to write at 16X Z-CLV in 431secs. With -R media, the Memorex drive could not compete with the other drives, since it can only write at 8X. The ND-3500A was the fastest for this media format.

With DVD re-writable media, all drives could record up to 4X, and the Memorex recorder was the fastest of all. However, the ND-3510A surpassed the Pioneer and BenQ drives.

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested if the NEC ND-3500A can overburn using DVD+R and DVD-R media. The drive does not support overburning, giving the following error with all inserted media.

- DVD+MRW Tests

The NEC ND-3500A does not support the Mount Rainier feature.


12. Media Support list - +R/+RW/+R9 (DL) media

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 12

Media Support list - +R/+RW/+R9 (DL) media

You can find the media support list for the ND-3500A model at NEC's website (pdf document format). However, you can see a more comprehensive list of media supported by this recorder in the following tables (this tables applies for firmware version 2.07).

NEC ND-3500A
DVD+R media
Writing Speed
Maker
Media speed
Manufacture ID
Media type ID
16X
YUDEN 16X
16x
YUDEN000
T03
YUDEN
8x
YUDEN000
T02
TDK
8x
TDK
002
Mitsubishi
16x
MCC
004
PRODISC
16x
PRODISC
R04
MAXELL
16x
MAXELL
003
TDK
16x
TDK
003
12X
Ricoh
8x
RICOHJPN
R02
8X
MAXELL
8x
MAXELL
002
YUDEN
4x
YUDEN000
T01
SONY
8x
SONY
D11
MPO
8x
MPOMEDIA
080
PRODISC
8x
PRODISC
R03
CMC
8x
CMC MAG
E01
Mitsubishi
8x
MCC
003
OPTODISC
8x
OPTODISC
OR8
PHILIPS
8x
Philips
081
PHILIPS
8x
PHILIPS
C08
PHILIPS
16x
PHILIPS
C16
NANYA
8x/12X
NANYA
CLX
TDK
4x
TDK
001
Ricoh
4x
RICOHJPN
R00/R01
EDD
8x
DT-D03
004
E-TOP
12x
DKP
000
NANYA
12/16x
NANYA
CL1
SKYMEDIA
8x
SKYMEDIA
R03
INFOSOURCE
8x
ISSM
001
INFODISC
8x
INFODISC
R20
INFOMEDIA
8x
INFOME
R20
Plasmon
8x
Plasmon1
C01
INTER AXIA
8x
VDSPMSAB
002
MBI
16X
MBIPG101
R04
POSTECH
8x
POS
R01
VANGUARD
8x
VANGUARD
001
VIVA
8x
VIVA
002
WINGSHING
8x
WINGSHING
001
RITEK (NEW 8X)
8x
RITEK
R03
4X
YUDEN
4x
YUDEN000
T01
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
4x
MCC
002
SONY
4x
SONY
D01
Maxell
4x
MAXELL
001
CMC
4x
CMC MAG
F01
BeALL
4x
BeAll
P40
BeALL
8x
BeAll000
P80
ProDISC
4x
PRODISC
R02
Ritek
4x
RITEK
R02
RITEK
8x
RITEK
R03
OPTODISC
4x
OPTODISC
OR4
DAXON(ACER)
4x
DAXON
AZ1
DAXON(ACER)
8x
DAXON
AZ2
MBI
4x
MBIPG101
R03
MBI
8x
MBIPG101
R04
MPO
4x
MPOMEDIA
040
EURODIGITAL
4x
DT-D02
02
PROMEDIA
4x
AML
001
PROMEDIA
8x
AML
002
INFOSMART
4x
IS01
001
Longten
4x
LONGTEN
002
Longten
8x
MUST 002
Longten
8x
MUST
002
Lead Data
4x
LD
A02
Ritek
4x
RITEK
M02
INTER AXIA
4x
VDSPMSAB
001
INTER MEDIA
8x
IMC JPN
R01
NANYA
4x
NANYA
RJB
NANYA 4x Azo
4x
NANYA
DR
NANYA
8x
NANYA
CHX
INFODISC
4x
INFODISC
R10
GIGASTRAGE
8x
GSC503
H01
Digital Disc Dessau
4x
DDDessau
V20
YUDEN
2.4x
YUDEN000
T00
E-TOP
8x
EMDP
000
UL TRAN
8x
ULTRAN
202
3A MEDIA
4x
POMSC001
002
2.4X
ProDISC
2.4x
PRODISC
R01
Ritek
2.4x
RITEK
R01
Ricoh
2.4x
RICOHJPN
R00
CMC
2.4x
CMC Mag
R01
MPO
2.4x
MPOMEDIA
001
Lead Data
2.4x
LD
001
Euro Digital
2.4x
DATATRAK
001
Digital Disc Dessau
2.4x
DDDessau
V10
OPTODISC
2.4x
OPTODISC
OP1
OPTODISC
2.4x
OPTODISC
OP2
DAXON(ACER)
2.4x
DAXON
AZ0
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
2.4x
MCC
001
CMC
2.4x
CMC MAG
R01
DAXON(ACER)
2.4x
DAXON
AZ0
BeAll
2.4x
BEALL P0
001

 

NEC ND-3500A
DVD+RW media
Writing Speed
Maker
Media speed
Manufacturer ID
Media Type ID
4X
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
4x
MKM
A02
PHILIPS
4x
PHILIPS
041
RICOH
4x
RICOHJPN
W11
SONY
4x
SONY
S11
RiTEK
4x
RITEK
004
CMC
4x
CMC MAG
W02
INFODISC
4x
INFODISC
A10
DAXON
4x
DAXON
D42
PRODISC
4x
PRODISC
W02
OPTODISC
4x
OPTODISC
OP4
SENTINEL
4x
SENTINEL
W02
NANYA
4x
NANYA
DRW
MBI
4x
MBIPG101
W04
2.4X
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
2.4x
MCC
A01
RICOH
2.4x
RICOHJPN
W01
TDK
2.4x
TDK
t01
PHILIPS
2.4x
PHILIPS
010
RiTEK
2.4x
RITEK
001
CMC
2.4x
CMC"null" MAG
W01
CMC
2.4x
CMC"space"MAG
W01
OPTODISC
2.4x
OPTODISC
OP1
PRODISC
2.4x
PRODISC
W01
INFODISC
2.4x
INFODISC
A01
NANYA
2.4x
NANYASC
DRW
SENTINEL
2.4x
SENTINEL
W01
MBI
2.4x
MBIPG101
W03

 

NEC ND-3500A
DVD+R Double Layer media
Recommend
Maker
Media speed
Manufacture ID
Media type ID
4x
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
2.4x
MKM
001

13. Media Support list - -R/-RW

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 13

Media Support list - -R/-RW

You can find the media support list for the ND-3500A model at NEC's website (pdf document format). However, you can see a more comprehensive list of media supported by this recorder in the following tables (this tables applies for firmware version 2.07).

NEC ND-3500A
DVD-R media
Writing Speed
Maker
Media speed
ID3
ID4
16X
MCC
16x
MCC 03
RG20
TDK(NEW)
8x
TTH01
TDK
16x
TTH02
MAXELL
8x
MXL RG
03
SONY
8x
SONY08
D1
12X
Yuden
8x
TYG02
MCC
8x
MCC 02
RG20
8X
FUJI
8x
FUJIFI
LM03
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
4x
MCC 01
RG20
PVC
4x
PVCR00
1002
YUDEN
4x
TYG01
TDK
8x
TTG02
Prodisc
8x
Prodis
cS04
Prodisc
8x
Prodis
cF01
Nanya
8x
NAN YA
A01
CMC
8x
CMC MA
G. AE1
RITEK (G Type)
8x
RITEKG
05
TDK
4x
TTG01
6X
FUJI
4x
FUJIFI
LM02
4X
Maxell
4x
MXL RG
02
Panasonic
4x
MEI 00
V002
PVC
2x
PVC001
001
Ritek L19
4x
RITEKG
04
AMC
4x
KIC01R
G20
BeALL
4x
BeAll
G40001
CMC (Vervatim Bland)
2x
CMC MA
G.AF01
CMC
4x
CMC MA
G. AF1
DAXON
4x
DAXON
4x
D VISION
4x
Dvsn
FUJI
2x
1FUJIF
ILM
Gigastorage
4x
GSC002
Info smart
4x
AN31
Info smart
4x
INFOSM
ART01
inter axial
4x
VDSPMS
AB 01
Inter Media
4x
UTJR00
1001
Inter Sonic
4x
INTERS
OMPGPS
Inter Sonic
4x
OMP 4K
G001
Lead Data
4x
LEADDA
TA01
LONGTEN
4x
LONGTE
N 001
LONGTEN
4x
LONGTE
N 009
LONGTEN
4x
MUST 0
01
MBI
4x
MBI 01
RG20
Nanya
4x
NANYA-
JC001
OPTODISC
4x
OPTODI
SCK001
OPTODISC
4x
OPTODI
SCR004
Plasmon
4x
Plasmo
n LV3
PONY
4x
GSC001
POSTECH
4x
POSG04
Princo
4x
RINCO
Prodisc
4x
Prodis
cS03
PROMEDIA
4x
AML
RITEK (M2 Type)
4x
RITEKM
02
SKC
4x
SKC Co
..Ltd.
SONY
4x
SONY04
D1
UL-TRAN
4x
ONIDTE
CH
Vanguard Disc Inc.
4x
VANGUA
RD
Yi Jhan
4x
Yi Jha
n 001
AUVSTAR
4x
AUVST
ARM01
FORNEX
4x
FORNEX
101
DIGITALSTORAGE
4x
Dvsn A
001
EURO DIGITAL
4x
DATA T
RACK
King Pro
4x
DKM_01
INFODISC
4x
INFODI
SC-R01
TAROKO International
4x
TAROKO
-MX4
2X
Panasonic
2x
MEI 00
V001
SONY
2x
SONY
TDK
2x
TDKG02
000000
YUDEN
2x
TAIYOY
UDEN
ADVANCED MEDIA
4x
MAM4XG
01
AMC
2x
KIC 00
RG200
BeALL
2x
BeAll
G00001
CMC Type 1
2x
CMC00R
G200
CMC Type 2
2x
CMC00R
G300
CMC
2x
CMC MA
G.
CMC MrDATA
1x
CMC MA
G. CO.
CMC (Vervatim Bland)
2x
CMC MA
G.AF01
Digital Disc Dessau
1x
DDD DV
DR
Euro Digital Disc
2x
DATA T
RACK
Gigastorage
2x
GSC001
GQ
1x
LD01
Inter Media
2x
UTJG01
001
LD/radius/GQ
1x
LD
LG 2X
2x
LGE
LG
4x
LGE04
Maxell
2x
MXL RG
01
MBI
2x
MBI
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
2x
MCC 00
RG200
MITUI
2x
MCIG01
MITUI
4x
MCI4XG
01
OPTODISC
2x
OPTODI
SC
OPTODISC
2x
OPTODI
SCK001
Plasmon
2x
Plasmo
n-Gen
Princo/SAILOR
1x
PRINCO
ProDISC
2x
PRODIS
CG02
radius (Lead Data/Acro)
2x
Lead D
ata
Ritek M2
2x
RITEKG
02
Ritek L16
2x
RITEKG
03
Ritek G01/Samsung
1x
RITEKG
01
TDK Video SuperX
1x
TDKG01
0000d9
Vivaster
1x
VIVAST
AR
Xcitec PRINCO (SuperX)
1x
PRINCO
AUVSTAR
1x
Auvist
ar

 

NEC ND-3500A
DVD-RW media

Writing Speed

Maker
Media speed
ID3
ID4
4X
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
4x
MCC 01
RW4X
JVC
4x
JVC0Vi
ctorD7
TDK
4x
TDK601
saku
OPTODISC
4x
OPTODI
SCW004
PRINCO
4x
PRINCO
RW0004
RiTEK
4x
RITEKW
04
CMC
4x
CMCW03
PRODISC
4x
Prodis
c DW06
2X
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
2x
MCC 01
RW11n9
JVC
2x
JVC_Vi
ctorW7
TDK
2x
TDK502
sakuM3
PVC
2x
PVCW00
D002K9
PVC
2x
PVCW00
V00245
RiTEK
2x
RITEKW
01
CMC
2x
CMCW02
OPTODISC
2x
OPTODI
SCW002
OPTODISC
2x
OPTODI
SCK001
DAXON
2x
DAXON_
RW2X01
PRODISC
2x
Prodis
c DW04
1X
Mitsubishi (Verbatim)
1x
MCC 00
RW11N9
PVC
1x
PVCW00
0002A9
PVC
1x
PVCW00
0001Q9
JVC
1x
JVC/Vi
ctorT7
TDK
1x
TDK501
saku]3
TDK
1x
TDK401
saku=3
SONY
1x
SONY00
0000U9
PRINCO
2x
PRINCO
RITEK
1x
RITEK0
04V11
RITEK
1x
RITEK
V11
RITEK
1x
RITEK0
00V11A
SKC
1x
SKC Co
.,Ltd.
OPTODISC
1x
OPTODI
SCK001
PRINCO
1x
PRINCO
PRODISC
1x
Prodis
cDVDRW

14. Media Support list - CD-R/CD-RW

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 14

Media Support list - CD-R/CD-RW

You can find the media support list for the ND-3500A model at NEC's website (pdf document format). However, you can see a more comprehensive list of media supported by this recorder in the following tables (this tables applies for firmware version 2.07).

NEC ND-3500A
CD-R media
Writing Speed
Maker
Media speed
48X
MITSUBISHI(Verbatim)
48x
ACER (Phtharo)
40x/48x
CMC (Phtharo)
48x
Moser Baer India Limited
40x/48x
RiTEK JS Type (Phtharo)
48x
TDK(Phtharo)
32x/40x
32X
Sky Media
MITSUBISHI(Verbatim)
32x/40x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
48x
Computer Support Italy
48x
CMC (Phtharo)
40x
CMC (Phtharo)
48x
DST
40x
FORNET 07
40x
FORNET 07 90
40x
FORNET
48x
FUJI (Phtharo)
12x/40x
Maxell (Phtharo)
24x/32x
MITSUI
40x
MITSUI
32x
Plasmon
52x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
52x
RICOH
32x
SKC(Phtharo)
12x/16x/24x/32x
SKC (Phtharo)
40x/48x
SONY (Phtharo)
48x
That's
40x/48x
Wing Li Holdings
48x
CMC (Phtharo)
24x/32x
MITSUBISHI(Verbatim)
16x/24x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
32x/40x
RiTEK JS Type (Phtharo)
32x
RiTEK S Type (Cyanine)
48x
Sean Tram
8x/4x
SKC 90min (Phtharo)
SONY (Phtharo)
40x
TDK 90min (Phtharo)
40x
That's
24x/32x
24X
ACER (Cyanine)
12x
ACER (Phtharo)
12x
CMC (Phtharo)
16x
NAN-YA Plastics
24x
Plasmon
24x/40x
KODAK
24x
Prime Disc
16x/24x
RICOH
20x/24x
RiTEK K Type (Cyanine)
SONY
8x/10x/12x/16x/24x
SONY (Cyanine)
32x
CMC (Cyanine)
CMC (Phtharo)
8 x /12x
Gigastorage(Cyanine)
8x/12x
Lead Data
40x
MITSUI
16x/24x
MPO (Phtharo)
24x/32x/40x/48x
Multi Media Masters & Machinary SA
16x
Multi Media Masters & Machinary SA
16x
Multi Media Masters & Machinary SA
24x
PRINCO (blue)
16x
RICOH
8x/12x/16x
RiTEK Cyanine Ktype
16X
FORNET
FUJI (Cyanine)
8x/12x
Maxell
16x
MITSUBISHI
8x/12x
RiTEK R Type (Phtharo)
SKC (Cyanine)
12x/24x
TDK
16x/24x
That's
16x
AMS Technology
DST
DST 90min
DOREMI
Ever Media
16x
FORNET
FRENDRY
8x/12x
Grand Advance Technology
16x
HOTEN
8x
Lead Data(Cyanine)
16x/24x
MEICER
8x
Memorex Black CDR
16x
NATURE Brand
8x
NATURE Brand
12/16x
Optical Disc Manufacturing Equipment
12x
PNY Black Diamond
16x
ProDISC (Cyanine)
12x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
12x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
12x/24x
ProDISC (Phtharo)
12x
Ritek (Phtharo)
RiTEK G Type (Phtharo)
That's
8x/12x
VIVA MAGNETICS
Wealth Fair Invesment
12x
Woongjin
8X
CMC (Cyanine)
8x
JVC
MAXELL
6x/8x/12x
MITSUBISHI
6x
MITSUI
8x/12x
P.V.C
6x/8x
TDK
4x/6x/8x/12x
Unidisc Technology 8cm 21min
Auvistar Indust
24x
CMC (Cyanine)
6x/8x
FORNET 8cm 21min
FORNET 8cm 300M
FORNET 99min
KODAK
8x
Lead Data
RITEK 90/99min
Office DEPOT ( PNY Bland )
16x
Opti.Me.S.
ProDISC 99min
Wealth Fair Invesment 8cm 300M
MITSUI
6x
Ricoh
6x
TDK
6x
That's
6x

 

NEC ND-3500A

CD-RW media

Writing Speed
Maker
Media Speed
24xZCLV
MCC(Verbatim)
8x-32x
MCC(Verbatim)
8x-24x
CMC
8x-24x
10xCLV
MCC(Verbatim)
4x-10x
Ricoh
4x-10x
Ritek
4x-10x
CMC
4x-10x
Ritek
4x-10x
Daxon
4x-10x
Imation
4x-10x
NANYA
4x-12x
SKC
4x-10x
Infodisc
4x-10x
Prodisc
4x-12x
4xCLV
MCC(Verbatim)
1x-4x
Ricoh
1x-4x
Ritek
1x-4x
CMC
1x-4x
Ritek
1x-4x
Daxon
1x-4x
Prodisc
1x-4x
Princo
1x-4x
Lead Data
1x-4x
Fornex
1x-4x
SKC
1x-4x
Infodisc
1x-4x
Gigastorage
1x-4x
Postech
1x-4x
Moser Baer India
1x-4x

15. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 15

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

The PI/PIF scans show that the NEC ND-3500A performed very well with the used DVD-R media at 16X. The red peak values in Plextools PI/PO scan indicate POE errors, but these are correctable errors. The drive might need to lower its speed during the reading process to correct POE errors, but the disc should be read successfully.


16. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 16

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

12X DVD-R Writing Speed

- Summary

Both Verbatim and TY 8X media performed very well, according to the quality scan graphs above. However, to be more exact, TY media reported more POE correctable errors than Verbatim media. The ND-3500A keeps producing good quality discs.


17. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 17

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD-R Writing Speed

28/09/2004 Updated

- Summary

Verbatim media produced the best performance. However, the quality of all media we tested was rather good, giving again low PI/PIF error levels.


18. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 18

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

At 16X writing speed, the rotation speed and the drive's vibrations are higher than at all other speeds. We expected to see worse results than the above, but were pleasantly surprised to see such good scans at 16X writing speed. The ND-3500A produces excellent quality discs. Quality scans indicate even better writing quality than with -R media format.


19. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 19

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

DVD recording at 12X was supported with only one media from among the discs we tested. High PI error levels were reported, but we cannot give a good or bad ruling for the drive from only one media test result. Unfortunately, according to NEC's media support list for the 3500A model, no other media is supported at 12X at this time. However, we will test 12X writing further with more +R discs when future firmware releases arrive. You can always check our forum for these burning quality results.


20. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 20

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

28/09/2004 Updated

- Summary

Media quality at 8X writing speed was known to be very good with all former NEC drives. The ND-3500A continues the tradition, and gives very good quality scans. Media quality seems to be further improved, compared with the NEC ND-25x0 series.


21. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 21

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

In order to test the writing quality and readability of the burned media we are using two readers with two software applications:

In general, a "perfect" disc should have a smooth reading curve, very low PIE/POE and zero (0) POF error rates. Most times however, even though a disc has very low PIE/POE error rates, the reading curve may not be smooth containing dropoffs. Due to the fact that we oversped the reading capabilities of the LiteON SOHD-167T, such drops are expected, especially near the outer area of the disc.

The measurements below should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality, but as an indication level.

DVD+RW and DVD-RW Media

- Summary

We were expecting to see good quality performance with DVD+RW and DVD-RW media, since the writing speed is reduced to 4X. The NEC ND-3500A disappointed us at this point, since some discs were unreadable. The Plextor 712A drive kept on freezing near the end of the scanning process. However, all media that was readable gave very good quality scans.

We contacted NEC regarding this problem, as we thought that this might be caused by a buggy firmware version. We concluded that the problem occurs due to a problematic device, so we can only exclude the "reading" problems that some discs reported. In that case, the device seems to record +RW and -RW media, producing good quality discs. However, we will test burning quality for this media with the same device we received with future firmware releases. Please, check our forum for these quality scans.


22. DVD+R DL - Page 1

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 22

DVD+R DL - Page 1

- Writing Tests

We burned some DVD+R DL discs with DVD-Video content. The source disc was "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with a total size of 6.86GB. First we transferred the movie to the hard disc with DVD Decrypter as ISO format (single file). We used Double Layer media provided by Traxdata and Verbatim (MKM). The following picture shows the media code of these Double Layer discs.

You might notice that Traxdata media Id Code speed cannot be read by the drive. This means that this media is not supported with the current firmware the ND-3500A had. Former NEC drives had the same problem with Traxdata double layer media. We then used Nero CD/DVD Speed to see the supported speed.

Only 1X recording speed is supported by the recorder, making it impossible to write. However, we tried to burn the disc with CopyToDVD software, and latest Nero Burning Rom. We came up with the following error messages.

We then used CopyToDVD v3.0.29.48 with Verbatim Double Layer media, and specifically the "Movie & Pictures" option, and then "Write DVD Video". The software prompts us to select Video_TS/ISO image folder. We chose the "GLADIATOR.ISO" image and we selected the NEC ND-3500A burner.

After pressing "OK", the burning procedure started without any unexpected delays. It should be noted that we did change the default booktype setting prior to writing the disc to DVD-ROM booktype, with the latest DVDInfoPro software.

The writing process was finished after 22:52minutes, only one second slower than the TDK 1616N. The average speed was 3.87X as reported by the CopyToDVD software.

For comparison reasons, we post DL burning results with other writers, with the same disc content and same recording software:

Drive
Time (mins)
NEC 2510A
37:17
BenQ DW1600A DL
40:16
BenQ DW830A
39:14
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A

38:39

LG GSA-4120B
38:12
ASUS DRW-1604P (4X)
23:10
ASUS DRW-1604P (2.4X)
38:08
Pioneer DVR-108A (4X)
23:10
Pioneer DVR-108A (2.4X)

38:23

NEC ND-3500A
22:52
TDK 1616N
22:51
BenQ DW1620A
40:03

The TDK 1616N is to date the fastest Double Layer recorder of all, but only by 1 second from the ND-3500A.


23. DVD+R DL - Page 2

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 23

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the NEC ND-3500A DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712SA drives.

Using Nero CD/DVD Speed, we got a very good scan, indicating again, good quality performance from the drive with the DL media recorded. Reading speed was not reduced at any point, and the drive reached 9.60X maximum reading speed.

The reported PI error rates were lower than the 280 limit according to the Plextools scans. In general, the NEC ND-3500A gave again an image of a very good quality burner, even with Double Layer media.

In the following images, you can see for reference reasons, the media info reported by DVDInfoPro software for the Double Layer discs we burned. We remind you that Verbatim media was burned with DVD-ROM booktype.

- Compatibility

The NEC ND-3500A can burn directly all DVD+R9 projects with DVD-ROM booktype, making sure you will get maximum compatibility.


24. BookType Setting

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 24

BookType Setting

The NEC ND-3500A allows the booktype setting to be changed. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the booktype with Nero Burning Rom 6.3.1.20, not even with the booktype option in the "choose recorder" tab.

There are few utilities that can be used to change the booktype setting, but unfortunately, only DVD+R DL changes are supported for now.

Using the latest DVDInfoPro software, we were able to see the default setting of the drive, which was DVD+R DL.

We then successfully changed the booktype setting to DVD-ROM.

We then used the WinBType booktype setting utility. Again, we had no problem changing the default booktype to DVD-ROM.

The following table shows the supported booktype setting for this drive for various media formats. It should be noted that these apply when no hacked firmware is installed.

NEC ND-3500A
Media Type
Book Type
DVD +R
DVD +R (cannot be changed)
DVD +RW
DVD +RW (cannot be changed)
DVD +R Double Layer (+R9)
DVD +R DL
DVD-ROM

The table above is valid for all NEC ND-25x0A series drives, LaCie d2 recorders, TDK 880N, TDK 882N, TDK 1616N (firmware v.2.78 or older) and of course the NEC ND-3500A.


25. Conclusion

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 25

Conclusion

Most end users are now familiar with NEC drives, as they are known to be good quality recorders, especially after the big success of the ND-25x0 series. Judging from the look of the drive, nothing has changed. Most users will like the black stylish front panel that TDK uses for these drives. The only thing that is missing is the phone jack and the volume control slider. You will notice that there is no DVD DL logo on the front panel. But inside this rather simple cover, lies the new NEC D63635GM chipset, making the drive one of the fastest available on the market.

DVD error correction was always a headache for NEC drives. This is not the case with the new ND-3500A, since it managed to read all test discs. On the other hand, CD error correction needs further improvements, since high reading errors were produced when reading the Abex TCD-721R/726 test discs. DAE speed is still low, compared to other recorders available on the market, and it cannot make SafeDisc 2.60+ backups, due to the NEC chipsets used and cannot recognize 99mins discs.

When CD-R media was used to test writing performance, we discovered that some well known media could not be burned at high speed (48X) but only at 32X. This produces better quality burns, but speed is reduced. With 48X recording speed, writing quality was reduced, and these discs reported high jitter values. Of course, writing speed can be better balanced with a future firmware release, and we will be happy to see NEC improve the drive's performance with CDR media.

On the other hand, DVD recording performance was way better than CD-R media recording. The CAV writing method makes this drive the fastest 16X recorder, when 16X certified media is used. Media quality measurements indicated that NEC intends to keep its reputation of being a very good quality recorder manufacturer. Low PI/PO error levels were reported, with minor exceptions. The Media Support list is a key component where NEC needs focus more on, as Traxdata 16X media can be recorded only at 4X, and CMC and Philips 16X media at 8X.

The ND-3500A is one of the fastest recorders available, even with DVD+R Double Layer media. A major drawback is of course the Traxdata DL media that is not officially supported, until now (firmware version 2.07). DVD-ROM booktype (DVD+R DL media) ensures highest compability with DVD Players. However, default booktype for +R/+RW media cannot be changed.

In general the drive is one of the best on the market, and its price makes it a very attractive buy. End users that choose to purchase this drive can be certain that they will get one of the best drives available!

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To be fixed

To discuss this drive further or to discuss it with other users, go to our forum.

 


26. Firmware Versions

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 26

Firmware Versions

When different firmware versions from NEC ND-2510A were investigated, we observed that NEC was releasing firmware versions 2.1x for their own drives, and at the same time, firmware versions 2.0x, 2.3x and 2.7x were used for NEC OEM devices. For example, firmware versions 2.16 and 2.06 used exactly the same writing strategies, but the 2.16 version was intended for the NEC ND-2510, while 2.06 was intended for the ND-2510A OEM devices. We don't know if NEC will follow the same strategy with the new ND-3500A. The drive arrived at our labs with firmware version 2.16 and we received via email an updated firmware, version 2.07. What remains to be seen is if the upcoming firmware version 2.17 will use the same writing strategies as version 2.07.

The following table shows different writing strategies that firmware versions use:

As you can see, the latest firmware version for now is 2.07.


27. Firmware Hacks - Page 1

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 27

Firmware Hacks - Page 1

There are a lot hacked firmware versions available all over the internet. The main interest is in expanding the supported media list and increasing the compatibility of Double Layer media. Most firmware can be found at "The Dangerous Brothers" website, and new, more advanced firmware is starting to appear in our forum. Of course, this firmware should be used at your own risk, since these are unofficial firmware that will void the warranty.

The biggest problem with Double Layer media is that the NEC ND-3500A firmware does not support Traxdata DL media. Users trying to solve this problem, are mainly using OEM device firmware to support this type of media. Known OEM ND-3500A drives are the TDK 1616N and the Mad Dog MD-16XDVD9.

The following table indicates the writing strategies of TDK's firmware.

Firmware version 2.78 is the latest version available. Version 2.C7 was intended to support only the Singapore local media market. However, these two version have a major difference.

As already discussed, DVD+RW media is written as DVD-ROM by default, while DVD+R media is written as DVD+R. With version 2.C7, booktype setting for DVD+R media is set to DVD-ROM by default. Unfortunately, there is no way to change that, but this ensures higher compatibility with stand-alone DVD Players. On the other hand, this does not apply for the 2.78 firmware version.

There are several firmware available that are based on this limited TDK 2.C7 firmware version, and the only thing that is changed is that the ND-3500A will not be renamed to TDK 1616N. We tested this firmware and we got the following information from NeroInfoTool.

We then tried to burn CMC Magnetics +R media to check the default booktype setting for this media type. As you can see below, latest DVDInfoPro and Nero CD/DVD Speed reported DVD-ROM booktype setting.

One other advantage with this firmware is that it supports Traxdata DL media at 4X writing speed. We used CopyToDVD to record our usual Double Layer recording project, the "GLADIATOR" movie first DVD disc. Recording was completed in 22:51mins, exactly the same time that the TDK 1616N reported.

For the transfer rate tests, we used the LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. As shown above, the disc could be read successfully, but reading speed was decreased near the end of the first layer. This indicate higher POE error values, requiring the drive to lower its speed to correct them.

Using Plextools, we observed a rather good scan, but a little worse than Verbatim's media quality scan. However, PIE errors were far lower than the 280 limit, and no uncorrectable errors were reported.


28. Firmware Hacks - Page 2

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 28

Firmware Hacks - Page 2

Mad Dog MD-16XDVD9 firmware uses similar writing strategies to NEC's official firmware writing strategies. A list of writing strategies is shown below. Known firmware versions are v2.F6 and v2.F8.

The main difference between these two versions is that with v2.F8, Single Layer bitsetting changes are possible. This means that users can change the default +R booktype setting to DVD-ROM. Again, there are several firmware that use this v2.F8 version, renamed to NEC ND-3500A. We tested this firmware and obtained the following information with NeroInfoTool.

As you can see, the drive is still named "NEC DVD_RW ND-3500AG" with v2.F8 firmware version.

We then used the WinBtype Booktype utility to change the default booktype setting.

You can see that there are now two option tabs, one for DVD+R DL media and one for DVD+R media.

We were finally able to successfully change the default DVD+R booktype to DVD-ROM.

We then tried to see if Traxdata DL media was supported with this firmware. Again, we were happy to see that we were able to write Traxdata DL media at 4X. DVDInfoPro and Nero CD/DVD Speed returned the following information.


29. Firmware Hacks - Page 3

NEC ND-3500A Recorder - Page 29

Firmware Hacks - Page 3

We were able to find a newer hacked firmware version that seems to be using the latest writing strategies for all. It is actually TDK 1616N v.2.78 firmware renamed to NEC ND-3500A v.2.08. There is no support for rip lock or single layer bitsetting. Only the Double Layer media booktype can be changed.

The flashing procedure is very easy, since there is no need to use a DOS Flasher anymore. We used the Windows flasher that can be found in the "The Dangerous Brothers" website.

NeroInfoTool reported the following information.

The following pictures indicate writing performance with +R 16X media.

click to enlarge!

We tested the DVD+R default booktype setting by writing CMC Magnetics 8X media, and we observed that it is set to +R by default.

Finally, Traxdata DL media is supported with this firmware version, but since TDK 1616N 2.78 firmware version lowered the writing speed to 2.4X for this media, NEC's unofficial 2.08 firmware follows this strategy. DVDInfoPro and Nero CD/DVD Speed reported the following information prior to writing.

We used the latest CopyToDVD software to burn our usual Double Layer recording project, the "GLADIATOR" movie first DVD disc.

The recording process started with a small 42sec delay, while the Traxdata DL media was initialized. The requested and effective speed was set to 2.4X automatically by the software

The burn process was completed in 38:27 mins and the average speed reported by CopyToDVD was 2.36X.

For the transfer rate tests, we used the LiteON SOHD-167T with patched firmware being able to read DVD5 up to 16X CAV and DVD9 up to 10X CAV. As shown above, Nero CD/DVD Speed could scan the media with no problems, indicating a very good burn. This was more or less expected, since 2.4X writing speed produces better results than 4X.

Again, Plextools indicate a very good scan with Traxdata DL media burned at 2.4X.

To discuss this drive further or to discuss it with other users, go to our forum.



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