2. Reading Tests
3. CD Error Correction
4. DVD Error Correction
5. Protected Discs
6. CD Recording Tests
7. CD Writing Quality - Plextools
8. CD Writing Quality - Clover System
9. DVD Writing Tests
10. DVD Writing Quality - Page 1
11. DVD Writing Quality - Page 2
12. DVD Writing Quality - Page 3
13. DVD Writing Quality - Page 4
14. DVD Writing Quality - Page 5
15. DVD Writing Quality - Page 6
16. DVD Writing Quality - Page 7
17. DVD Writing Quality - Almedio
18. DVDR DL - Page 1
19. DVDR DL - Page 2
20. Booktype Setting
21. 4550A vs SA300 - Page 1
22. 4550A vs SA300 - Page 2
23. 4550A vs SA300 - Page 3
24. 4550A vs SA300 - Page 4
NEC recently released the ND-4550A, with 16X DVD burning support and 8X DVDR DL as well as DVD-RAM writing. Other than that, the ND-4550A was released before the ND-4551A and the only difference between them is the LabelFlash technology offered on the ND-4551 (with a firmware update). The ND-4550A that we received was with an outdated firmware and we flashed it with the latest available firmware.
The ND-4550A is a rather good CD/DVD reader, offering high reading speeds. The 48X speed for CD reading is something common to all DVD burners, while the 16X reading support for DVD+R and DVD-R formats is also the highest available, along with 13X for the DVD+RW and DVD-RW, and 5X for DVD-RAM are something you won't easily find in other DVD recorders. Also, the 4550A offers high ripping speeds with the DVD-Video format. When it comes to DVD error correction, the performance was good with all of our DVD test media.
In the DAE tests, the drive actually confirmed 40X reading but unfortunately it did not manage to succeed 100% in the Advance DAE Quality Test, where the 79.4 score that the drive achieved is low. The ND-4550A failed to read both of our 90/99min test discs. Further work would be welcomed on this.
When it comes to AudioCD protection schemes, the drive managed to bypass all of our Audio protections. But unfortunately, when it comes to games protections, as with most NEC drives, the ND-4550A was unable to make working back-ups of the latest games, so if you are planning to purchase this drive for games back-up, it will not do your job.
The 48X CD writing speed that most of the burners support is generally too fast from which to expect high quality, however the NEC burner was quite good here with the exception of Traxdata media where the Clover Systems utility reported high error rates. We believe that this issue could be fixed with a newer firmware release. Nevertheless, we recommend lower than 48X speed for better and safer results.
The 16X burning speed with DVD±R media is the highest available DVD writings speed and is supported by the NEC burner. But we saw writing times with Nero when recording at 8X. Nevertheless, according to Plextools and Almedio, the drive has very good DVD writing quality and in contrast, our LiteON drive with Nero CDSpeed produced erratic speed graphs and in many cases, failure to read the disc, which is something that we have also faced with the ND-4551A. With DVD+R, almost all media reported low error levels while the CDSpeed graphs were in most cases almost excellent. In conclusion, we could say that the drive has average to good writing quality and we think that any problems could be fixed with a newer firmware release. Although we tried 4X and 8X certified DVD-R DL media from Mitsubishi Chemicals, we didn't manage to confirm the 8X speed media.
Unfortunately, we noticed that the booktype is not able to change DVD+R / RW media, but only DVD+R DL. A firmware revision could fix this. In the drive's features list, we shouldn't forget the drive's ability to measure the quality of burned media.
At the time of this review, the price for the drive on the e-market was around US€48.
- The Good
- Fast DVD±R/RW reading speed
- 8X DVD-R DL and 8X DVD+R DL support
- Very good DVD error correction capabilities
- 5X DVD-RAM read/write support
- Can burn DVD+RW media at 8X, and DVD-RW media at 6X
- Supports audio protected disc ripping
- Writing quality with most media
- Can overspeed with many media
- Can measure the quality on media
- The Bad
- Performance with 90/99min Audio CD's
- Cannot create working backups with SafeDisc protected games over v2.60
- Cannot overburn DVD recordable media
- Like To be fixed
- Writing quality with specific media
- 8X DVD-R DL