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Storage Devices Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

NEC ND-4550A

£31 inc VAT

Manufacturer: NEC

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

NEC's ND-3540A drive was lauded for its dual-layer writing, but it fell short of perfection on overall performance. With the ND-4550A, NEC has upped its game in single-layer writing, while dual-layer facilities remain, well, emphatic.

NEC's ND-3540A drive was lauded for its dual-layer writing, but it fell short of perfection on overall performance. With the ND-4550A, NEC has upped its game in single-layer writing, while dual-layer facilities remain, well, emphatic.

NEC has finally added DVD-RAM to the roster. Long championed by LG, this has gained a loyal following through its incredible ease of use, and makes a good alternative to the fiddly rewriteable DVD-RW and +RW formats. But DVD-RAM hasn't found much favour among DVD manufacturers - not in the PC world, at least, although it's a slightly different matter when it comes to consumer electronics. Neither has it been blessed with great speed, but the 5x DVD-RAM facilities provided by the NEC are usable.

But what of the other formats? Well, the NEC offers 16x DVD-R/+R, which is hardly uncommon, but its write times really stand out from the crowd. It wrote 3GB of data to a DVD+R in five minutes and six seconds, putting it right up there with, or very slightly behind, the best in its field. It's not quite as impressive on the rewriteable DVD+RW format, where its 8x speed sees it copy the data in just under six and a half minutes, but compared with the average DVD writer the NEC is now very much towards the faster end.

And then we come to the NEC's party piece. Dual-layer writing is notoriously difficult to assess because available media can rarely match the capabilities of the drives we're testing. Nonetheless, the NEC copied 6GB of data in just over 14 minutes - a magnificent performance. And you'll probably be able to coax more out of the NEC in the future, when media that can really stretch its 8x DVD+R DL facilities become available.

NEC ND-4550A Expert Verdict »

48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) 16x/16x/16x/6x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
EIDE interface
storage capacity 8.5GB
drive buffer 2MB
average access time (DVD) 160ms
no software or cables provided
1-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 10 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

The NEC's DVD-R/+R performance is now right up to scratch, and while the -RW/+RW tests were less impressive, this was more than compensated for by excellent DVD+R DL capabilities. Throw in DVD-RAM and you have a drive that can perform across all areas and perform incredibly well in the majority of them.

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