Burn quality worse on 3520 compared to 3500?

Hello! Maybe you guys can help me out with a real tricky problem I have been facing the last couple of weeks.

Imagine that there are four NEC owners. Two with ND3500 and two with ND3520.

One order of DVD-R’s (CMC MAG AE1) 8x media from the same batch. The two ND3520 burners can simply NOT make a good burn on these discs, not even at 4x. I’m thinking that these discs must be extremely crappy. Something must have gone seriously wrong at the factory or something. My knowledge about NEC burners is that they at least do working burns on the worst kinds of media. I’ve seen threads discussing CMC MAG AE1 burns getting almost flawlessly at 12x. I have tried every firmware there is, nothing changes the quality.

Bad batch, seems pretty logic, right?! Except for one little detail…

Can someone please tell me why the same discs burn without any reading problems on a pair of ND3500 burners with stock firmwares.

Any suggestions? I’m really confused over here. I cant imagine a drive getting worse with the evolution. I’d really like to hear something like “Don’t worry, it’s just a firmware screwup, NEC will have those discs spinning in notime for ya!”


the 3520 is not evolution of the 3500, allegedly NEC found a supplier with cheaper parts than the ones in the 3500 and so produced the 3520 … cheaper, but may or may not be better. (I don’t have a 3520 so can’t really say)

I have now used 4 different brands of CMC MAG AE1
Datasafe 8x printable
Datawrite 8x printable
Datawrite Titanium 8x
Datawrite Yellow 8x

all burn perfectly on my NEC3500 at 12x

Are you sure? I’ve heard people on this forum liking 3520A better than 3500A
And the chip on 3520A seems to be a newer version, and supports double layer DVD-R

NEC make there own chipsets and quite probably there own optical units.
The chipset will probably be cheaper to produce as the CPU as far as i know, is now integrated into the chipset itself.

For everyone that claims the 3500 writes better, you’ll have a more or less equal amount of people claim the opposite. On good media they both burn very well.

I suspect it costs more $ to fabricate the NEC 3500. Dunno if this will translate to a better drive. I’ve read some reports about the 3520 not being able to read so so DVDs above 14X.

So the conclusion is that the 3520 has cheaper optics and therefor cannot make as good burns as the 3500 on discs with questionable quality. I almost cant believe it…

Is this something I should take up with Nec directly? How is the Nec service regarding these things? Do they care about customers analysis…


My experience is that they are about equal at 16x speed.

But for slower speeds the ND-3500AG is better in 90% of the cases. Especially the areas written at 6x and 12x.