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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Tuesday, January 25, 2005
NEC ND-3520A full review


1. Introduction

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 1

With double layer DVD-R media sitting at our doorstep and writing speeds rising for DVD+RW and DVD-RW media, NEC has released the long awaited ND-3520A model, their second generation 16X burner. NEC is known for developing high quality burners with a considerably low price tag. Keeping in mind that 16X writing speed is the physical limit for DVD media, DVD+RW re-writing speed now reaches 8X and DVD-RW writing speed reaches 6X, up from 4X.

- Features

While the new NEC model is capable of writing DVD media at 16X, the drive cannot write -R double layer media for now although a new firmware upgrade will be available to support this media type in the future. As NEC informed us: "In addition to + 4x Double Layer functionality, ND-3520 will also support - 4x Double Layer, as soon as the DVD Forum will have released final specification (scheduled for march 2005 tbc)". CD writing speed is not changed, already tuned at 48X for CD-R media and 24X for CD-RW media. It can also burn double layer media at 4X, and supports anti-buffer underun protection. WOPC is introduced to further improve burning quality. You can see a simple WOPC schematic here.

- Specifications

Drive
NEC ND-3520A
Media
DVD
CD
Transfer Rate Write
+R

16x (9 - 22MBytes/sec)

-R
48x (3000-7200kBytes/sec)
+R9
4x (5.5 MBytes/sec)
2.4x (3.3 MByte/sec)
+RW
8x (11 MBytes/sec)
-RW
24x (3000-3600kBytes/sec)
-R
16x ( 9 - 22MBytes/sec)
-RW
6x (8.2MBytes/sec)
Transfer Rate Read
DVD-R 16x CAV (max 22000 kb/s)
CD-R 48x CAV (max 4800 kb/s)
DVD+R 16x CAV (max 22000 kb/s)
CD-RW 16x CLV (max 2400 kb/s)
DVD+R9 4X CLV (5500 KByte/s)
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 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. Unfortunately, it cannot read or write DVD-RAM media. Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool, VSO Inspector and DVDInfoPro:

- The Drive

We received the bulk version of the drive in our labs. The drive is available in beige, black and silver colour.

The drive unit uses the same casing that the ND-3500A did. The front panel does not introduce anything new. You can see the eject button, the activity led and the eject hole.

On the rear panel you will find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE master/slave/cs selector pins, the IDE connector and the power input.

Opening the device 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!

Bad news for all ND-3500A owners is the fact that the drive uses a new NEC D6364 chipset series, making it impossible to convert/update the previous ND-3500A model to this new ND-3520A.

click to enlarge!

The following picture shows the laser lens assembly of the NEC ND-3520A. By clicking on the picture, you can see a higher resolution image.

click to enlarge!

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "NEC DVD_RW ND-3520A" under WinXP, with firmware version 1.04.

Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

In this review, we will compare the new NEC ND-3520A with the Plextor PX-716A and the Toshiba SD-R5372 drive, since all these burners have similar specifications.

You can always read users' opinions and share your thoughts for this burner in our forum section.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests, we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.55
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. Nero Info Tool v2.27
  4. PlexTools v2.18
  5. DVDInfoPro v2.63
  6. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.0.3
  7. CopyToDVD 3.0.35

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The CD reading speed is not changed from the ND-3500A and is tuned up to 48X. Below are the transfer rate graphs along with the comparative results for the Plextor PX-716A and the Toshiba SD-R5372 drives:

The performance matrix indicates more or less the same behaviour for all drives except in the RW transfer where the Plextor drive managed to outperform the NEC drive with Ultra-Speed CD-RW media and the Toshiba burner being the slowest.

- DVD Format

Although the NEC ND-3520A was the slowest among the three burners, the differences was marginal.

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. With pressed PTP dual layer media, the ND-3520A was the slowest among the drives, while the Plextor burner was the fastest again and with a large difference.

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. Same picture here with the NEC drive being the slowest and Plextor burner again way in front.

The NEC ND-3520A seems to take its revenge with DVD-R and DVD+R media. It reported 11.92X and 11.91X average reading speeds respectively. ReWritable media reading speeds however, were slowest, slightly behind the Toshiba SD-R5372 and a good deal behind the Plextor.

DVD-Video ripping speed was never a strong point of NEC drives, since NEC uses a so called "Rip-Lock" to reduce the maximum ripping speed allowed by the burner, to ensure safer reading performance. The ND-3520A drive reported an average speed of 5096kb/sec while the Plextor burner was more than twice as fast. On the other hand, the ripping speed of Plextor PX-716A cannot be surpaased by any burner currently available on the market.

-Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - 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: 1521355
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 160496 Avg: -79.5 dB(A) Max: -16.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 6038 Avg: 1.4 Samples Max: 563 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 90 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
62.0 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
96.9 %

The maximum error loudness level was high at -16.0dB and there were 90 skipped samples. This indicate poor CD error correction capabilities.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 8595
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 6634 Avg: -86.0 dB(A) Max: -15.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 164 Avg: 11.2 Samples Max: 467 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 1 Avg: 6.0 Samples Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
75.6 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
98.1 %

Although the Abex TCD-726 test disc is much easier for drives in general to read, the NEC burner 's performance does not indicate high error correction. There was only one skipped sample, but the drive managed a total score of 75.6 where better drives manage scores closer to 100. In general, the drive's CD error correction capabilities need to be further improved.

- 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-3520A
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-3520A is not good, something that could be fixed with newer firmware releases.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the NEC ND-3520A 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-3520A managed to read this test media without problems. It should be noted that the ND-3500A also managed to read this disc, but needed to lower its reading speed over the defects. This shows improved DVD error correction capabilities with the 3520A, since it did not have to lower its reading speed.

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 between 65 and 75 micrometers.

Small speed fluctuations were introduced, in order to succesfully read the entire test disc. On the other hand, the process was completed with no read errors. It should be noted that the burner reached 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.

Again, the ND-3520A proved to be a very good reader, giving no errors and no speed drops.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of 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 micro meters.

Excellent performance once again from the NEC drive.

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 the graph above, the drive shows excellent performance with the TDV-541 test disc. The scratched area was read without any errors.

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!

Again, the ND-3520A proves to be a very good reader. It had no problems reading black dots and fingerprints on the surface of the disc.

- Summary

Although the ND-3520A model is not the fastest reader available, users will not have any problem reading old, scratched media. High DVD error correction capabilities will ensure best possible reading with defective discs.


5. Protected Disc Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - 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
01:09 min
1310 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter v1.07
SafeDisc v.2.60.052
32:28 min
172 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:05 min
1858 sectors/sec

The NEC ND-3520A is one of the slowest drives for SafeDisc v2 ripping. It could only backup the test disc at an average speed of 172.19 sectors/sec. With SecuROM v2 protected discs, the NEC burner was slightly slower than the Plextor and the Toshiba burners and the Toshiba SD-R5372 burner was the fastest with PSX discs.

- Writing Tests

The NEC ND-3520A 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-3520A

Yes
No
Yes
Yes

Like most NEC based drives, the ND-3520A 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-3520A Burner - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD results

The ND-3520A supports up to 13-32X CAV DAE speed. The following results were reported when using Exact Audio Copy software.

The Plextor burner supports up to 40X DAE speed. This makes it faster than the NEC burner. On the other hand, for 32X DAE speed, the ND-3520A reported very good performance.

The NEC ND-3520A drive can report C2 errors, but caching is not supported.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The performance of the ND-3520A was not that good at this point. Always remember that good burners can achieve a perfect quality score of 100, but the NEC burner could only achieve a score of 75.0. Additionaly, the drive was the slowest of all three burners in this comparison matrix, while the Plextor PX-716A reported the highest speed. The ND-3520A cannot read Leadin data or Leadout data, but it can read CD Text and Subchannel data. The reported average speed was 24.28X. It seems that the drive's performance has not improved from the ND-3500A model.

- Ripping 90mins AudioCDs

The ND-3520A had problems ripping 90mins AudioCDs. Reading speed dropped to around 10X near the end of the reading process, from the 77th min to the end but the drive could not read the disc succesfully. We reminded you that the ND-3500A model could read/rip 90mins discs without problems.

- Ripping 99mins AudioCDs

With 99min AudioCDs, the burner could not even start the reading process, giving the following error message.

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


7. Protected AudioCDs

NEC ND-3520A Burner - 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-3520A
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

We observed similar performance as the ND-3500A model. The NEC ND-3520A 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-3520A
Reading performed without any errors.

The C1/C2 error graphs show that the ND-3520A 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-3520A Burner - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

- CD-R Format

The drive supports 8X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 40X and 48X (CAV) writing speeds.

According to Nero CDSpeed, the drive clocked in an average speed of 36.36X. The test started at 21.43X and finished at 48.08X.

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 here that not all media could be recorded at 48X, not even good quality media such as TY. The ND-3500A had the same problem. The burner needed 3:03mins to complete a succesfull burn at 48X, and 3:33mins at 32X.

- Other features

Overburning writing
Up to 90min
CD text reading/writing
Yes

- CD-RW Format

The ND-3520A 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-3520A does not support the Mount Rainier feature.


9. Writing Quality Tests - 3T Jitter Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - 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 maximum speed allowed by the burner.

- 3T Pit results

The highest 3T Pit jitter level reached was 42nsec with Traxdata 52X media. But in all other cases, 3T Pit jitter values remained below 35nsec, which is the Red Book limit. Best performance came with SKC 52X media (32nsec), followed by Verbatim 52X media (32.22nsec). Generally, the performance of the ND-3520A was rather good, great improvement compared with the ND-3500A model.

- 3T Land results

The 3T Land results were also acceptable in most cases. Again, best results came with SKC 52X media (30.22nsec).

Although CDR writing quality was a headache for the ND-3500A, the new ND-3520A managed to perform quite well. Note that most media were burned at 48X, so lower burning speeds should by rights, produce even better results.


10. Writing Quality Tests - C1 / C2 Error Measurements

NEC ND-3520A Burner - 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 the latest PleXTools Professional , and in particular the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712SA (firmware v1.05).

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

TY 80min 48X @ 32X

Verbatim 80min 52X @ 48X

- Summary

We noticed some uncorrectable errors with certain media that should not be reported by a good burner. BenQ media, for example, reported uncorrectable errors nearly at the end of the disc, while C1 error rates were low through the whole media. TY 48X media reported C2 errors, but in all cases the discs could be read succesfully by our main DVD reader, the LiteON drive. For reference, you can see below Nero CD/DVD screenshots of the reading process.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- 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
Verbatim 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemicals
79m59s73f
TraxData 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f

11. Writing Quality Tests - Clover System Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 11

Writing Quality Tests - Clover System Tests

This is the first time we include the following tests in a burner review. The Clover Systems CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a high-speed tool to quantitatively measure the quality of a CD. It will analyze CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-R, Photo-CD, Enhanced CD and CD-RW discs at 4X, 8X, 24X, 32X or 40X speed. It effectively measures disc quality by examining the quantity and severity of CIRC errors generated during playback. It also provides the capability to measure signal parameters related to pit geometry, such as asymmetry and reflectivity. Together, all these bits of information provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover Systems Analyzers can also perform various format-checking tests on data discs, and do bit-for-bit data comparison on all types of CDs. All tests are carried out at the maximum speed of 40X.

CIRC error correction uses two principles to detect and correct errors. The first is redundancy (extra information is added, which gives an extra chance to read the disc), and the second is interleaving (data is distributed over a relatively large physical area). The CIRC error correction used in CD players uses two stages of error correction, the well known C1 and C2, with de-interleaving of the data between the stages.

The error type E11 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C1 stage. E21means two bad symbols were corrected in the C1 stage. E31 means that there were three or more bad symbols at the C1 stage. This block is uncorrectable at the C1 stage, and is passed to the C2 stage. Respectively, E12 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C2 stage and E22 means two bad symbols were corrected in the C2 stage. E32 means that there were three or more bad symbols in one block at the C2 stage, and therefore this error is not correctable.

BLER (Block Error Rate) is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors, at the input of the C1 decoder. Since this is the most general measurement of the quality of a disc, you will find BLER graphs for all media tested below. If you click on the images you can see a more detailed table, indicating error levels. The Red Book specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second averaged over ten seconds. Discs with higher BLER are likely to produce uncorrectable errors. Al low BLER shows that the system as a whole is performing well, and the pit geometry is good. However, BLER only tells us how many errors were generated per second, and it does not tell us anything about the severity of those errors.

BenQ 80min 52X @ 48X

click for full results

SKC 80min 52X @ 32X

click for full results

Traxdata 80min 52X @ 48X

click for full results

TY 80min 48X @ 32X

click for full results

Verbatim 80min 52X @ 48X

click for full results

- Summary

In most cases, CDR recording quality is very good. Especially with SKC 52X media which is listed as "A Graded media", meaning low error rates in all levels. Worst results came with BenQ media, giving uncorrectable errors.


12. DVD Recording Tests

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 12

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

The NEC ND-3520A supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for DVD±R is 16X CAV, the same speed supported by the ND-3500A. 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 16X CAV recording technology in action for -R and +R media. You can clearly see that WOPC is activated. It should be reminded that (as was the case with the ND-3500A), when writing at lower speeds, the burner can switch from CAV writing to Z-CLV writing strategy to improve disc quality (depending on media used).

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

DVD+RW writing speed is raised to 8X, while DVD-RW media can be burned at 6X. Although these high speed ReWritable media cannot be easily found on the market, CDRInfo managed to get this media from Verbatim. It is very interesting to see quality performance at these speeds.

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- Burning Tests

Full Media Support list will be discussed later on this review

Although there are only a few -R 16X certified media, the ND-3520A used its overspeed burning feature in many cases and managed to burn 8X certified media at 12X or even 16X. However, writing quality with overspeed burned media is very interesting and will be discussed later on in this review. Best time came with Verbatim 16X media. The burner needed only 5:53mins to complete the burning process. Very good performance by NEC's drive. With -RW 6X media, it took only 7:52mins, an excellent time at this writing speed. Not even Write-Once media can achieve such good performance when writing at 6X.

Again, using the overspeed burning feature, the burner could burn at higher speeds than the media indicated speed, in many cases. On the other hand, some media could not be burned at the indicated speed, but the drive used lower writing speed to ensure writing quality. Philips 16X media could be burned at 8X and CMC Magnetics 16X media could be burned at 12X. This is something that can be corrected with future firmware releases. Best performance came with Verbatim 16X media (5:58mins). With +RW 8X media, it took only 8:21mins too complete a succesfull burn.

- Comparison with other drives

In all cases, the NEC ND-3520A model was faster than the Plextor burner although slower than the Toshiba SD-R5372, but speed differences were not that significant.

Although the Plextor drive supports the same +RW/-RW writing speeds as the NEC burner, it actually cannot burn at these speeds with +RW 8X certified and -RW 6X media. This makes the NEC ND-3520A a much faster burner than the Plextor PX-716A. However, this problem is known to Plextor and will be fixed very soon with a new firmware update (not released yet while these lines are being written). A fairer comparison should be made when this updated firmware is released.

- DVD Overburning Tests

Using Nero CD-DVD Speed, we tested if the NEC ND-3520A 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-3520A does not support the Mount Rainier feature.


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

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 13

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

You can find the media support list for the ND-3520A 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 1.04).

ND-3520A Support Media (DVD+R Double Layer)
Recommend Maker Media speed Manufacture ID Media type ID
Max Write Speed :4x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 2.4x MKM 001
         
Max Write Speed :2.4x             
         
         
Adjusted Maker Media speed Manufacture ID Media type ID
Max Write Speed :4x        
         
Max Write Speed :2.4x Ricoh 2.4x RICOHJPN D00
  Ritek 2.4x RITEK D01
  CMC 2.4x CMC MAG D01
  PHILIPS 2.4x PHILIPS CD2

 

ND-3520A Support Media (DVD+R)
Recommend Maker Media speed Manufacture ID Media type ID
Max Write Speed :16x YUDEN 16X 16x YUDEN000 T03
YUDEN 8x YUDEN000 T02
TDK 8x TDK 002
       
Max Write Speed :8x MAXELL 8x MAXELL 002
YUDEN 4x YUDEN000 T01
MPO 8x MPOMEDIA 080
Max Write Speed :4x YUDEN 4x YUDEN000 T01
         
         
Adjusted Maker Media speed Manufacture ID Media type ID
Max Write Speed :16x Mitsubishi 16x MCC 004
PRODISC 16x PRODISC R04
MAXELL 16x MAXELL 003
TDK 16x TDK 003
SONY 16x SONY D21
MBI (16X) 16x MBIPG101 R05
         
Max Write Speed :12x Ricoh 8x RICOHJPN R02
SONY 8x SONY D11
PRODISC 8x PRODISC R03
DAXON(ACER) 8x DAXON AZ2
CMC (16X) 16x CMC MAG M01
         
Max Write Speed :8x 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
Lead Data 8x LD S03
Digital Disc Dessau(8X) 8x DDDessau V30
MBI 8x MBIPG101 R04
MAM-E ADVANCED MEDIA 8x 8x MAM M02
         
Max Write Speed :4x 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 (NEW 8X) 8x RITEK R03
RITEK 8x RITEK R03
OPTODISC 4x OPTODISC OR4
DAXON(ACER) 4x DAXON AZ1
MBI 4x MBIPG101 R03
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
MAM-E ADVANCED MEDIA 4x 4x MAM4XG01 001
SAST 4X 4x SAST S01
         
Max Write Speed :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

 

ND-3520A Support Media (DVD+RW)
Recommend Maker Media speed Manufacturer ID Media Type ID
Max Write Speed :8x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 8x MKM A03
       
Max Write Speed :4x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 4x MKM A02
PHILIPS 4x PHILIPS 041
RICOH 4x RICOHJPN W11
SONY 4x SONY S11
Max Write Speed :2.4x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 2.4x MCC A01
RICOH 2.4x RICOHJPN W01
TDK 2.4x TDK t01
PHILIPS 2.4x PHILIPS 010
         
Adjusted Maker Media speed Manufacturer ID Media Type ID
Max Write Speed :8x        
       
Max Write Speed :4x 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
Max Write Speed :2.4x 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

14. Media Support list - -R/-RW

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 14

Media Support list - -R/-RW

You can find the media support list for the ND-3520A 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 1.04).

ND-3520A Support Media (DVD-R)
Recommend Maker Media speed ID3 ID4
Max Write Speed :16x MCC 16x MCC 03 RG20
TDK(NEW) 8x TTH01  
       
Max Write Speed :12x Yuden 8x TYG02  
MCC 8x MCC 02 RG20
       
Max Write Speed :8x FUJI 8x FUJIFI LM03
Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 4x MCC 01 RG20
PVC 4x PVCR00 1002
YUDEN 4x TYG01  
         
Adjusted Maker Media speed ID3 ID4
Max Write Speed :16x TDK 16x TTH02  
MAXELL 8x MXL RG 03
SONY 8x SONY08 D1
MBI 16x MBI 03 RG40
SONY 16x SONY16 D1
FUJI 16x FUJIFI LM04
OPTO DISC16X 16x OPTODI SCR016
MAXELL 16x 16x MXL RG 04
BEALL 16X 16x BeAll G16001
PRODISC 16X 16x Prodis cF02
CMC 16X 16x CMC MA G. AM3
YUDEN 16x TYG03  
         
Max Write Speed :12x        
       
Max Write Speed :8x 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  
Princo 8x PRINCO 8X01
OPTODISC 8x OPTODI SCR008
LG 8x LGE08  
BeALL 8x BeAll G80001
Princo 8x PRINCO 8X02
Plasmon 8x Plasmo n1A
King Pro 8x DKMZ01  
MBI 8x MBI03R G30
DAXON 8x DAXON0 08
DST 8x Dvsn-8 0
INFO DISC 8x INFODI SC-R20
UL-TRAN 8x ULTRAN 102
e TOP 8x DKMZ01  
e TOP 12x-16x EDM_02  
Gigastorage 8x GSC004  
AMC 8x KIC01R G080
inter axia 8x ENGAGE 01
3A Media 8x POMS3A  
DAXON 8x DAXON0 08S
Lead Data 8x LEADDA TA S03
MUST 8x MUST 0 03
LONGTEN 8x LONGTE N 003
MAM-E ADVANCED MEDIA 8X 8x MAM8XG 01
RITEK (G Type) 8x RITEKG 06
Gigastorage 8x 8x GSC003  
       
Max Write Speed :6x FUJI 4x FUJIFI LM02
Max Write Speed :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
e TOP 4x EDM 01  
OCTOPLUS 4x OCTOPL US
Thai Media 4x TMI001 .2003
4M SYSTEMS 4x 4M SYS 202C1
info source 4x ISSM 01
RITEK (8cm) 4x RITEKG 04 01
Wing Shing 4x WINGSH ING04
       
Max Write Speed :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
Lead Data 8cm 2x LEAD D ATA
       
         
  Maker Media speed ID3 ID4
Not Write CHUEN WUI 4x CWG01  

 

ND-3520A Support Media (DVD-RW)
Recommend Maker Media speed ID3 ID4
Max Write Speed :6x MCC 6x MKM 01 RW6X01
JVC 6x JVC1Vi ctord7
         
Max Write Speed :4x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 4x MCC 01 RW4X
JVC 4x JVC0Vi ctorD7
  TDK 4x TDK601 saku
Max Write Speed :2x Mitsubishi (Verbatim) 2x MCC 01 RW11n9
JVC 2x JVC_Vi ctorW7
TDK 2x TDK502 sakuM3
PVC 2x PVCW00 D002K9
PVC 2x PVCW00 V00245
Max Write Speed :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
         
Adjusted Maker Media speed ID3 ID4
Max Write Speed :6x RiTEK 6x RITEKW 06
         
Max Write Speed :4x OPTODISC 4x OPTODI SCW004
PRINCO 4x PRINCO RW0004
RiTEK 4x RITEKW 04
  CMC 4x CMCW03  
  PRODISC 4x Prodis c DW06
Max Write Speed :2x RiTEK 2x RITEKW 01
CMC 2x CMCW02  
OPTODISC 2x OPTODI SCW002
OPTODISC 2x OPTODI SCK001
  DAXON 2x DAXON_ RW2X01
  PRODISC 2x Prodis c DW04
  INFOMEDIA 2x INFOME DIA
  PRINCO 2x PRINCO RW2X01
Max Write Speed :1x 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

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

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 15

Media Support list - CD-R/CD-RW

You can find the media support list for the ND-3520A 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 1.04).

ND-3520A Support Media (CD-R)
Recommend Maker Media speed
Max Write Speed :48x MITSUBISHI(Verbatim) 48x
   
Max Write Speed :32x Sky Media  
MITSUBISHI(Verbatim) 32x/40x
ProDISC (Phtharo) 48x
Computer Support Italy 48x
Not Recommend Maker Media speed
Max Write Speed :48x ACER (Phtharo) 40x/48x
CMC (Phtharo) 48x
Moser Baer India Limited 40x/48x
RiTEK JS Type (Phtharo) 48x
TDK(Phtharo) 32x/40x
MITSUI 40x/48x
Max Write Speed :32x 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
Max Write Speed :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  
Max Write Speed :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  
Max Write Speed : 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  
Max Write Speed : 8x MITSUI 6x
  Ricoh 6x
63min TDK 6x
  That's 6x

 

ND-3520A Support Media (CD-RW)
Recommend Write Speed Maker Media Speed
Ultra Speed + 24xZCLV MCC(Verbatim) 8x-32x
      8x-32x
Ultra Speed 24xZCLV MCC(Verbatim) 8x-24x
      8x-24x
High Speed 10xCLV MCC(Verbatim) 4x-10x
      4x-10x
    Ricoh 4x-10x
      4x-10x
    Ritek 4x-10x
Multi Speed 4xCLV MCC(Verbatim) 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Ricoh 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Ritek 1x-4x
Adjusted Write Speed Maker Media Speed
Ultra Speed 24xZCLV CMC 8x-24x
High Speed 10xCLV CMC 4x-10x
      4x-10x
    Ritek 4x-10x
      4x-10x
    Daxon 4x-10x
    Imation 4x-10x
    NANYA 4x-12x
    SKC 4x-10x
    Infodisc 4x-10x
    Prodisc 4x-12x
Multi Speed 4xCLV CMC 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Ritek 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Daxon 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Prodisc 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Princo 1x-4x
    Lead Data 1x-4x
      1x-4x
    Fornex 1x-4x
    SKC 1x-4x
    Infodisc 1x-4x
    Gigastorage 1x-4x
    Postech 1x-4x
    Moser Baer India 1x-4x

16. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 16

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

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click to enlarge!

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- Summary

Worst results came with Maxell 8X media, burned at 16X, but the drive already used overspeed burning for this disc to increase burning speed. In all other cases, quality results were very good, with the TDK 16X certified media being the best of all.


17. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 17

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

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- Summary

Again, quality results were rather good with these media types. However, 16X quality results were better than 12X quality results. PI/PO errors were below the 280 limit in all cases.


18. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 3

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 18

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

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- Summary

Excellent performance from the NEC ND-3520A. All media tested produce very good quality scans. Traxdata and TY media compete for the best results with low PI/PIF error levels, but it should be noted that TY media is 4X certified, burned at 8X.


19. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 4

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 19

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.

4X DVD-R Writing Speed

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- Summary

Once more, excellent performance. It is not common to see a burner being able to produce such good quality discs with such a wide range of media.


20. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 5

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 20

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.

16X DVD+R Writing Speed

click to enlarge!

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- Summary

The quality scan that we got with Verbatim 16X media is the best quality scan for this writing speed. Most users prefer to write at lower speeds because they are concerned about writing quality. Well, with the ND-3520A, there are no concerns at high speed.


21. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 6

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 21

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.

12X DVD+R Writing Speed

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge!

- Summary

Only two media could be burned at 12X, since most 8X media were oversped directly to 16X, or did not overspeed at all. This means that we do not have enough evidence to certify burning quality for 12X. Ricoh 8X media did not produce good quality scans, and high PI error levels were reported. On the other hand, CMC Magnetics 16X media produced far better results. Unfortunately, according to NEC's media support list for the 3520A model, no other media is supported at 12X at this time.


22. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 7

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 22

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.

8X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

Media quality at 8X writing speed was known to be very good with all former NEC drives. The ND-3520A continues the tradition, and gives very good quality scans. Excellent performance, again.


23. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 23

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 8

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.

4X DVD+R Writing Speed

- Summary

As expected, 4X writing speed produces very good quality media. This is logical, considering that the drive can write at 16X, so at the 4X speed it should be more stable than a recorder that has only 4X maximum speed. Low PI error levels for all tested media. Great performance.


24. CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 9

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 24

CDSpeed/PlexTools Scans - Page 9

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

The ND-3500A model had some minor problems with ReWritable media, producing unreadable media, or high PI error values. NEC engineers seem to have done some work on this matter, and the new ND-3520A not only managed to produce 100% readable media, it further improves quality from the former ND-3500A model. When writing at high speed, Verbatim DVD+RW 8X media could be written at 8X. Writing quality at this speed was reduced, but again, it was satisfactory. Verbatim DVD-RW 6X media was burned at 6X, and again, writing quality was reduced, but PI error levels remained below the 280 limit. In all cases, all media could be read by our LiteOn reader.


25. DVD+R DL - Page 1

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 23

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 screenshots show the media codes for these Double Layer discs.

Acording to NEC's supported medialist for the ND-3520A, only Verbatim double layer media can be burned at 4X. All other media were burned at 2.4X.

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 not change the default booktype setting prior to writing the disc to DVD-ROM booktype, in order to investigate the default booktype setting for this media type.

The writing process was finished after 22:35minutes, even faster than the ND-3500A burner. The average speed was 3.92X as reported by the CopyToDVD software.

We then repeated the same procedure for all media shown above. The following table indicates the recording times for double layer media. As you can see, the Verbatim double layer media was the fastest of all, since it was the only one that could be burned at 4X.

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
NEC ND-3520A

22:35

BenQ DW1620A
40:03

26. DVD+R DL - Page 2

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 24

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the NEC ND-3520A DVD+R DL writing quality, we used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and the Plextor PX-712SA drives.

With all media tested, the reported PI error rates were lower than the 280 limit according to the Plextools scans. The NEC ND-3520A gave again, an image of a very good quality burner, even with Double Layer media. It should be noted that CDRInfo tested all double layer media supported by the burner.

In the following screenshots, you can see for reference reasons, the media info reported by DVDInfoPro software for the Double Layer discs we burned. You can see that the default booktype setting for double layer media is set to DVD-ROM. This ensures maximum compatibility with stand-alone DVD Players.


27. BookType Setting

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 25

BookType Setting

The NEC ND-3520A allows the booktype setting to be changed. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the booktype with the latest Nero Burning Rom, not even with the booktype option in the "choose recorder" tab.

Like all NEC based drives, +R9 bitsetting can be changed with several utilities, easily found on the internet. Unfortunately, single layer +R bitsetting cannot be changed for now. This means that the ND-3520A will burn DVD+R media as DVD+R, DVD+RW media as DVD+RW and DVD+R9 (double layer) media as DVD-ROM.

Using the latest Nero CD/DVD software, we were able to see the default setting of the drive, which was DVD-ROM.

We then successfully changed the booktype setting to DVD+R DL.

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


28. Conclusion

NEC ND-3520A Burner - Page 26

Conclusion

NEC is known to always manufacture good quality burners, and the NEC ND-3520A continues this tradition. NEC introduced at the end of December 2004, their second generation 16X DVD burner, offering higher DVD+RW and DVD-RW speed and DVD-R double layer upgradability. All these are possible because of the new NEC D6364 chipset, making it impossible to update all previous NEC ND-3500A models to ND-3520A. However, nothing is changed from the look of the drive, since NEC uses the same casing as the ND-3500A model.

When this drive was used as a reader, it reported very good DVD-R, DVD+R and CD reading speeds, but DVD-Video ripping is reduced because of the "rip-lock" that is introduced to ensure safe reading. The drive has high DVD error correction capabilities, since all problematic test media could be read with no problem, and DVD error correction could reproduce missing blocks. On the other hand, CD error correction could be further improved. Like the ND-3500A model, DAE speed was considerably low (32X), and it cannot make SafeDisc 2.60+ backups, due to the NEC chipsets used and cannot recognize 99mins discs.

The drive can burn CD-R media up to 48X, but we observed that some media (even high grade media) could only be burned at 32X. This increases writing quality, but greatly reduces speed performance. The ND-3520A can burn DVD-R and DVD+R media up to 16X. As expected, NEC continues to retain its high quality standards, even at 16X writing speed. Overspeed burning is introduced when possible to increase writing speed. DVD+RW writing speed is increased to 8X, and DVD-RW writing speed to 6X. Writing quality was very good at these speeds.

The drive can burn DVD+R9 media, and a firmware update will be available in the future to support DVD-R double layer writing. However, only Verbatim media could be burned at 4X, and all other double layer media could be burned at 2.4X. Again, writing quality was very good. The Booktype setting can be changed by the user, but only for double layer media. The default booktype setting for double layer media is DVD-ROM.

The drive costs only about US$75.00 and its price makes it a very attractive buy, considering the writing quality that you get at this price!

You can always read users' opinions and share your thoughts for this burner in our forum section.

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