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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Thursday, May 19, 2005
NEC ND-3530A

1. Introduction

NEC, the well known burner manufacturer, recently announced their newest model, the NEC ND-3530A. Although there are already many NEC models that can burn DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16x, which is considered the maximum speed that single layer media can achieve, the new ND-3530A has even more to offer. Re-Writing speed is increased to 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW media. The drive supports both -R DL and +R DL media at 4x and 6x burning speeds respectively.

- Features

As with any other NEC based burner, WOPC is introduced to further improve burning quality. You can see a simple WOPC schematic here. The drive can also use overspeed burning for a wide range of media to support higher burning speeds than any disc's given speeds.

- Specifications

Drive NEC ND-3530A
Media DVD CD
Transfer Rate Write +R

16x (9 - 22MBytes/sec)

-R 48x (3000-7200kBytes/sec)
+R9 6x (8.2MBytes/sec)
4x (5.5 MBytes/sec)
2.4x (3.3 MByte/sec)
+RW 8x (11 MBytes/sec)
-RW 32x
-R 16x ( 9 - 22MBytes/sec)
-R9 4x (5.5 MBytes/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 40x CAV
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
Cache 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, multi-session
Compatibility MPC Level 3, MultiRead, PC2001
Weight 1.01 kg
Dimensions 148mm x 42mm x 190mm

Unfortunately, Mount Rainier is not supported and the drive cannot read/write DVD-RAM media. The RPC II region control is used, 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

We received the bulk version of the drive in our labs and as you can see below, the drive is black in colour.

The drive unit uses the same casing that former NEC models did. 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, which is known for its good burning quality capabilities.

- Installation

The drive we received came with firmware version 2.10. Since there was a firmware update available, we updated the drive to firmware version 3.01 with no problem. Below you can see the writing strategies that this latest firmware supports.

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "NEC DVD_RW ND-3530A" under WinXP, with firmware version 2.10. Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

In this review, we will compare the new NEC ND-3530A with the Plextor PX-716A and the Pioneer DVR-109 drives, since all these burners have similar specifications.

You can always post your opinion about this burner by clicking here.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests, we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.70
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. Nero Info Tool v3.00
  4. PlexTools v2.21
  5. DVDInfoPro v2.63
  6. Nero Burning Rom v6.6.1.2
  7. CopyToDVD 3.0.51

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