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When I reviewed NEC’s last DVD writer (the ND-3500A) I bestowed it with an Editor’s Choice award – that drive raised the bar on DVD writing performance. A couple of months later I pitted the ND-3500A against the latest batch of competing drives, and once again it proved to be the fastest DVD writer out there. Now the ND-3520A is here to finally eclipse the ND-3500A.
The ND-3520A isn’t much of a departure from the ND-3500A as far as looks go, and it’s pretty plain, even by optical drive standards. The front fascia sports a single eject button, a manual eject hole and an indicator light.
NEC sent over the full retail box version of the ND-3520A which comes with a reasonable bundle. Software wise you get the Nero OEM suite bundled – this includes Nero Express 6, Nero Vision Express 3, Nero Back IT Up, Nero Showtime 2, Nero Photo Snap, Nero Cover Designer and InCD 4.
It’s good to see that NEC also supplies an IDE cable in the box, along with an audio cable and a set of mounting screws – so you won’t find yourself hunting around for anything when you come to install the drive.
But it’s not the design or the bundle that anyone’s really interested in, it’s the specs and performance. NEC has really pushed the boat out with the specs of ND-3520A and it really does represent a huge leap forward in DVD writing.
So, the ND-3520A will write to DVD+/-R media at 16x, DVD+R Dual Layer discs at 4x, DVD+RW media at 8x and DVD-RW discs at 6x. The big news here is, of course, the performance boost in the RW space. Unfortunately I was unable to obtain any 6x DVD-RW or 8x DVD+RW media, although Verbatim informed me that this media will be available soon – in fact I saw samples of Verbatim 6x DVD-RW and 8x DVD+RW discs at CES last month.
There’s also a sticker on the box stating that the ND-3520A will write to DVD-R Dual Layer discs as well, but again there was no media available to test this out at the time of writing. Again, Verbatim was showing off DVD-R Dual Layer media at CES last month, so hopefully it’s not too far off. Rounding off the specs, the ND-3520A will burn CD-Rs at 48x and CD-RW discs at 24x.