NEC builds fantastic DVD writers, itâ€™s as simple as that. Every NEC DVD writer that Iâ€™ve looked at over the past couple of years has turned out to be a class leading product, both in terms of performance and value. With this in mind I was very curious to see how NECâ€™s latest drive, the ND-4550A, compared to its illustrious forefathers, while also pitching it against some of the competing products.
Like all the previous NEC drives, the ND-4550A looks pretty sparse. Thereâ€™s a single eject button, an indicator light and a manual eject hole. Where things do differ from previous models is the array of logos on the tray. As well as an â€œR DLâ€ logo, indicating DVD-R dual layer, thereâ€™s also a â€œDVD Multi-Recorderâ€ logo. To be honest though I would have expected to have see a â€œSuper-Multiâ€ logo as well.
The big news here is that NEC has added DVD-RAM functionality to its drive for the first time. This means that the ND-4550A isnâ€™t a step behind LGâ€™s offering when it comes to media compatibility like previous drives were â€“ well thatâ€™s not entirely true, but weâ€™ll cover that a bit later.
When it comes to specifications, the ND-4550A sits exactly where youâ€™d expect to find it. This drive will burn DVD-R/+R discs at 16x, DVD+R DL at 8x, DVD-R DL at 8x, DVD+RW at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x, DVD-RAM at 5x, CD-R discs at 48x and finally CD-RW media at 32x. Of course these speeds are dependant on available media, and I still havenâ€™t been able to get my paws on any DVD+RW 8x discs. With this in mind, you can see from the results that both this NEC and the Toshiba drives managed to write DVD-RW discs faster, due to the 6x media being available.
Despite the fact that the media is still lagging slightly behind the hardware, NEC has once again produced a DVD writer thatâ€™s faster than the competition. Of course there is one qualification to that statement. If you look at the total test times without including DVD-R DL tests, then the Toshiba drive grabs top place. But since the Toshiba is also able to write DVD-R DL media, it has to be judged on the full suite of tests that it was capable of, and when you include the DVD-R DL tests, the NEC pulls ahead of the Toshiba.