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

Friday, February 03, 2006
NEC ND-4550A

1. Introduction

When we received our ND-4550A burner from NEC, it had already been released onto the market a couple of months. We therefore decided to wait a little longer for the release of the new firmware for the burner, version 1.07. We are now ready to test the very popular NEC ND-4550A burner.

- Specifications

Product ND-4550A
Interface IDE/ATAPI (Ultra DMA33 compatible)
Speed Capabilities by Disc Disc Writing Reading
DVD+R (SL) 16x CAV 16x CAV
DVD-R (SL) 16x CAV 16x CAV
CD-R 48x CAV 48x CAV
CD-RW 32x ZCLV 40x CAV
CD-ROM - 48x CAV
(SL):Single Layer, (DL):Double Layer
Tray color White or Black or Silver
LED color Green
Support Disc Recommended writable media (Only DVD)
Dimensions (HxWxD) 42 mm x 148.2mm x 190mm (with standard bezel loaded)
Weight Approx. 1 kg
Required OS environment Windows(R) 2000, Windows(R) XP Home, Professional(SP2)

Below are the main specs for the drive, as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

- Nero InfoTool

- DVD InfoPro

The RPC II region control is used, allowing the user to change the drive's region no more than five times.

- Retail Package

Previous burners that we have received from NEC came in the bulk package. This time round, we received a retail version that includes:

  • the white blazed NEC ND-4550A internal tray load mechanism burner
  • an E-IDE (ATAPI) cable
  • an Audio cable
  • mounting screws
  • a CD-ROM that includes documentation for the drive as well as a bundled version of Nero Express 6, Nero Vision Express 3, Nero Showtime 2, and a wide collection of Nero Utilities

These days, most of the retail packages that we receive do not include any blank media... and... NEC is not an exception here. :p

- The Drive

The front panel is no different to any other recent NEC drive such as the ND-4551A, with a typical NEC design. 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.

- Front panel view

- Rear panel view

- Top view

We do not recommend removing the drive's cover, since this will void the manufacturer's warranty. But you can take a look inside the drive with the pictures below. Click on the image for a larger, more detailed photograph.

The chipset is NEC's "D6364", the same one that is used in the previous ND 3540 model as well as the latest ND-4551A burner. The specific chipset will also be found in Pioneer's latest burners, the DVR-110 and DVR-110D.

- Installation

The drive came installed with firmware version 1.06. We upgraded it to version 1.07. The drive was identified as the "NEC DVD_RW ND-4550A" under WinXP. Below is a screenshot of Nero Burning Rom's specs for the drive.

In order to compare the performance of the ND-4550A, we provide the results of two other latest release burners, the BenQ DW-1655 and Plextor PX-755A.

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