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It seems that as every month passes, DVD writers become faster and cheaper. This is not a bad situation for anyone in the market for such a device, but it does make one wonder when the best time to put your money on the table is.
We’ve looked at a couple of drives in the past that could burn DVD+R media at eight-speed and DVD+RW at four-speed, but this latest drive from NEC has taken the next performance step.
The specification of the ND-2500A is very impressive. It will write DVD-R/+R media at eight-speed, DVD-RW/+RW media at four-speed, CD-R media at 32-speed and CD-RW media at 16-speed. As you can see from these figures, this is the first drive to arrive at TrustedReviews with the ability to write DVD-R and DVD-RW at eight-speed and four-speed respectively.
Of course the problem with new drive standards, is that it usually takes a while before media is available to make use of it. However, I was able to get some very early samples of eight-speed DVD-R and four-speed DVD-RW media from Verbatim, in order to test this NEC to its full potential.
I received the full retail box from NEC, which is a pretty good package as far as retail bundles go. Besides the drive itself, you get an audio cable, a set of mounting screws and most importantly, an IDE cable. To get you started, NEC has included a blank eight-speed DVD+R disc and a blank four-speed DVD+RW disc. Both pieces of media are Verbatim branded, so NEC hasn’t skimped on the quality.
You also get a proper paper installation manual and a pretty generous software bundle. On the bundled DVD-ROM you’ll find Nero Burning ROM 6 SE, Nero Vision eXpress 2, Nero Cover Designer, Nero Recode, Nero BackITup, Sonic MyDVD, Sonic CinePlayer and ShowBiz.
The drive itself looks fairly unremarkable, finished in standard PC beige, although it is also available in black. The tray sports logos for DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and CD-R/RW. On the front there’s a single eject button, an indicator light, a manual eject hole, a headphone socket and volume wheel.
To test the DVD writing performance I burned a 4.3GB MPEG-2 file, 4.5GB of mixed files and applications and 4.3GB of digital images. For the re-writable DVD media I also recorded the time it took to perform a full format. With CD-R media I burned a single 700MB file and 600MB of mp3 files, while for CD-RW media I again timed a full format and burned the same 600MB of mp3 files.
The NEC is definitely a very fast drive, although there is nothing that I can compare the DVD-R/RW performance to because this is the first drive we’ve seen sporting such high speeds. I am however in the process of testing a similarly specified drive from Teac, so there will be something to compare the –R/RW scores with soon.
With DVD+R media the NEC turned in times slightly faster than the MSI DR8-A, while the gap opened up a little wider when using DVD+RW media. What sets the NEC apart from the MSI though, is the fact that it can produce similar times using DVD-R/RW media. It’s also worth noting that the NEC is happy to write at eight-speed to good quality four-speed DVD-RW media.