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NEC 5500A 8x DVD-ROM Review

NEC 5500A 8x DVD-ROM Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Every time someone buys a new computer he or she faces a dilemma: getting a really fast 50X (or an even faster CD-ROM) or a DVD-ROM which reads both CD-ROM and DVD-ROMs? The answer depends on every individual's needs. Most DVD-ROMs are sold for watching DVD movies and not for accessing DVD discs containing applications since very few applications are distributed in DVD format (and even these also have cd versions).
 95% Rating:   
Filed under: Optical Drives Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: NEC Mar 03 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Optical Drives > NEC 5500A

CDROM Benchmarks



How does Nec DVD-ROM perform? Performance depends on the disc type and the content of the CD or DVD. The specifications of the test system are:

Test Bed Setup

- DFI P2XBL release B+ (based on Intel BX chipset)
- Celeron 400MHz overclocked to 500MHz (6x83.3MHz)
- 128MB SDRAM at 100MHz
- Western Digital (313000R) 13GB Ultra ATA-2
- 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 AGP
- Orchid Nusound 3D (vortex 1 based)
- NEC 5500a DVD-ROM 8x/40x 1.07 (flashed from 1.05)
- Sony CD-ROM 611a 24x (256kb cache)
- Ricoh MP7040A
- Windows 98 Paneuropean first edition
- Latest drivers for all devices
- Standard Win98 Intel Busmaster Drivers

CD-ROM Performance:
I have decided to measure the real world performance of this product and compare results to my old Sony 24x CD-ROM since low level benchmarks don't always represent everyday use. I have used 5 CDs , a multisession CD with complex content (3,757 files, 384 folders, 603MB), another one with normal structure and content (935 files, 539MB), another one with simple structure (171 files, no folders, 645MB), a CD-RW (252 files, 11 folders,626MB) and an audio CD. I have copied files from data CDs and extracted audio tracks (using Windac 1.47 and Audiocatalyst) in a directory at the first FAT32 partition.

After doing the same benchmarking twice and using also some other randomly chosen CDs, I came to very strange results: this DVD-ROM was up to 60-70% faster when compared to Sony CDU611 24x when copying files from most CDs but there were a few CDs which were copied a little faster using Sony (Normal structure CD). I don't want to make any hypothesis why this occurs with a few CDs but I have emailed NEC Support about this issue. This DVD-ROM is much faster when dealing with CD-RW CDs compared to my old Sony.

Extracting digital audio from music CDs is something common nowadays: NEC's unit starts extracting the inner music tracks at 4x, when moving to the second track, speed increases to 6x and retains a 6x constant speed until the last track. Sony extracted the first track at 10x and was increasing linearly up to 22-23x on the last track. The Hitachi 2500BX has about the same digital audio extraction as the Sony CDU611. So the 5500A is slow when doing audio extraction but it does extract all music tracks correctly without any errors.


So in a few words the Nec DVD 5500A usually has good throughput (when copying the CD with simple structure content its average transfer rate was 4-4.1MB/s) but it reads a few CDs a little slow.

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Contents of Article: NEC 5500A
 Pg 1.  NEC 5500A 8x DVD-ROM Review
 Pg 2.  — CDROM Benchmarks
 Pg 3.  DVD-Performance

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