I am having some of the same problems that others are having with the 3540 drive. I got it OEM from Newegg. In order to troubleshoot, I have installed it on the end of the cable in place of the CD drive, and set the jumper to CSEL.
The bios and Windows recognize the drive with the _NEC DVD-RW ND-3540a signature. The bios is set with DMA on, and the Primary IDE channel reports that the transfer mode is UDMA 2. In Nero Infotool, it shows up as in the cdfreaks review of this drive, except that the write speed is only 8x.
The drive cannot write any media and playback, even of commercial DVD movies is terrible. Speed tests with Nero CD-DVD speed bear this out. The graphs look terrible compared to what the review showed and what you would expect. Trying to write a CD gets you the error: Power calibration error.
When I first installed the drive, it acted this way, and I realized that the channel was set to PIO. I changed it and restarted, and ONE time, the drive performed the speed tests as you would expect. But after the next restart, it was slow again, even though the channel is set to DMA. Weird huh?
I have not flashed the firmware or made any mods to the computer. I don't think I should have to update the firmware just to get it to work at all.
Here are the facts:
Dell 8400, 3.2Ghz HT, 512 MB RAM
80GB SATA HD
LiteON CD, currently not connected.
Windows XP, sp2
Nero 6 Ultra suite. Nero CD-DVD Speed ver 3.74.
I'll be happy to send any other info that I may have missed.