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Over the past year or so NEC has positioned itself as the leader in optical technology, producing a regular line of DVD writers that offer both high performance and great value for money. The ND-3540A is the latest in this line, and not only does it continue the tradition of speed and value, but it’s also the first drive that I’ve been able to test the latest DVD-R DL media on.
I’ve looked at a couple of drives recently that claimed to support DVD-R DL, but due to a complete lack of media, I wasn’t able to test the claim. However, by a fortuitous coincidence, Verbatim sent me a box of DVD-R DL discs on the same day that NEC sent me the ND-3540A.
In fact, the little package from Verbatim didn’t only include DVD-R DL media; it also included were a couple of boxes of 6x DVD-RW discs, so I was also able to evaluate the 6x DVD-RW specification of the ND-3540A too. Now, if I can just get hold of some 8x DVD+RW discs, I’ll be able to test drives like this to their full ability.
Looking at the specs of the ND-3540A it’s clear that NEC was looking to create a very fast DVD writer. Both DVD+R and DVD-R discs are burned at 16x, while DVD+R DL media can be written at 8x and DVD-R DL discs will burn at 6x. For DVD+RW the ND-3540A is rated at 8x and it can write DVD-RW media at 6x. CD performance is up there with the best too, with 48x CD-R and 32x CD-RW ratings.
Traditionally, when NEC brings out a new drive, it proves to be the fastest DVD writer on the market, and it seems like the ND-3540A has no intention of breaking that tradition. Looking at the overall test time (not including DVD-R DL), the ND-3540A managed to undercut the previous fastest drive – the Plextor PX-716A – by over 17 minutes. That’s quite a stunning achievement, although most of the speed increase can be attributed to the 6x DVD-RW burning.