Buying NEC 3540 to put in old computer?

Hi, people!

I´m a DVD newbie & I´m thinking of replacing my 4yr old Creative cd-burner with a NEC 3540 DVD-burner.

I´ll use it for backing up my digital photos & other stuff on my harddrive to DVD+R:s & InCD formated DVD+RW discs.

My system:
6 yr old computer with Windows 98SE,
Pentium III 450mhz & 128mb RAM.

Primary IDE channel:
Generic IDE Disk type 46, 8Gb (DMA off)
Samsung DVD-ROM SD-606 (DMA on)

Secondary IDE Channel:
Creative CD-RW RW8432E (DMA off)
(This one will be replaced by the new DVD-burner)

What burn speed can I expect from this old stuff?
I guess that I´ll have to slow down the burn speed to a minimum?

Fast speed is not important to me,I just want to burn discs with no errors. I read somewhere that burning too slow with a fast DVD drive & hi-speed media can produce bad discs. Is this true?

Any other problems I can expect when fitting a new fast DVD-drive in an old computer?

Another thing:
The computer store here sells Intenso DVD+RW & Platinum DVD+R media.
Are they good quality discs?

First, I think you’d want to rearrange your IDE channels, move both opticals to secondary IDE. Why do you have DMA off, esp with your HDD? Also, unless you’re just writing data you’re going to be crating an image on your HDD of ca 4GB (half the disk capacity). I wouldn’t install a burner to that arrangement, even if you get the channels straight and maybe even if you get a controller card and a bigger HDD.

Thanks for the IDE channel tip.

The DMA settings was set from the factory so I´ll guess my old harddrive & CD-burner don´t support DMA.

Because of my small & slow harddrive I´ll use the DVD burner for simple stuff like backing up digital photos etc.

Unfortunately my computer still works too perfect to justify a major upgrade :sad: , but a faster & bigger harddrive is probably the next step.

You still should be able to set DMA. If you only use it for back ups, it should work fine but for now you cannot do movies obviously. Thing about a newer HDD is that you’ll probably be limited to UDMA/33, which is fine for the opticals (though not ideal for some faster throughput drives) but you’d see a huge improvement with a $25 controller card. With a bigger hard drive you should be able to burn DVD movies (albeit very slowly). I installed a 3520 on a friend’s 850-MHz system, that’s runniung the HDD on a Promise controller. We tried 2 movies, one required no shrinkage and took 19 min. and the other had to be compressed and took 40. These are the minimum system specs for CloneDVD2, so as you can see you’re right below minimum system specs for multimedia apps.
An IBM compatible personal computer with a Pentium-Class Microprocessor at minimum 500 MHz.
CloneDVDâ„¢ 2 software requires Windows 98 / 98SE / ME with 128 MB RAM, Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or better installed, Windows 2000 or Windows XP with 128 MB RAM.
If you use Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP you must be Administrator to install CloneDVDâ„¢ 2 software.
You will also need a DVD reader and preferably a DVD writer.
About 5 GB of available temporary harddrive space are necessary to clone DVDs.
The faster the CPU (1 GHz recommended) and the more memory (256 MB recommended) you have, the better CloneDVDâ„¢ 2 software is going to perform.

Thanks again for the info!

I think I´ll still buy the NEC 3540 drive, even if I have a “stone age” computer.

I´m not a big movie fan anyway so as long as I´ll be able to burn error free backups of importent files, I´m happy.

Yes, burning too slow can cause problems (sometimes). Disks usally burn best at thier rated speed, though sometimes you can burn them slower or faster without problems. It just depends on the media, the firmware and the drive.
Stay away from no name disks like that. You never know what you will get. Stick to good brand name stuff like maxell or verbatium.
I really couldn’t say if your computer could do it or not. I would check out what modes your ide controler and hard drive can do. If your hard drive cannot do dma then it might not be able to transfer fast enough to burn dvd’s. Pio mode 4 is about fast enough to do 4x or maybe if you are lucky 8x burning. Dma mode 0 is roughly the same speed as pio mode 4. dma mode 1 might be fast enough for 12x or 16x burns. dma mode 2 is fast enough for 12x or 16 x burns. Fyi I’m basing that on the specifications though I did have a little experience running pio mode 4 a while back (on accident). It ran into problems around 10x burning or writing but that was on a much faster computer than yours with more memory etc. I would think that the hard drive would have to be as fast to be able to feed info to the burner.


I´ll buy the drive & hope for the best.

If it doesn´t work well, maybe I can start a business & sell coasters to the local pubs here :slight_smile:

Eh, Hi again!

Just did a little test:

I first defragmented the harddrive & then downloaded
HD Tach & run a test on it:

HD Tach: Generic IDE Disk Type 46 (DMA off)
random access time =16.3ms
read burst speed =7,2MB/sec
read speed -maximum 6,4MB/s, minimum 2,1MB/s,
average 4,5MB/s.
CPU uttilization =51,6%

I then turned on DMA for my harddrive,rebooted & run the test again:

HD Tach: Generic IDE Disk Type 46 (DMA on)
random access time =16.3ms
read burst speed =9,0MB/sec
read speed -maximum 17,2MB/s,minimum 9,8MB/s, average 13,5MB/s
CPU uttilization =2,3%

Looks a little bit better!
At what estimated speed should I be able to burn DVD:s now?

Any other comments before I run out to buy the NEC 3540 drive?

My system again:
PIII 450Mhz,128MB RAM
Mainboard: Intel440BX
Gfx board: TNT2 32MB

8x burning is about 11mb/s if I am not mistaken. Im not farmiliar with that program and exactlly how it reports, but my guess would be 4x defanatlly, 8x maybe. Infact I just realized that I still have a nero recode window open from an earlier burn. It is reporting 11,080 KB/s for 8x burning. If it can maintain that 13.6 average through the entire burn, you would be fine, but if it slows down, even momentarilly it can kill the burn (good software will buffer this but only to a point). In therory, if the maximum is 17.2, you might be able to do 12x burning but like I said, it would have to be able to sustain that rate and I’m not sure how that program reports.

With a 450mhz P III, I wouldn’t expect to get anything of a quality burn over 4X. Just not enough juice to do the job. If and when you want to really get into DVD burning, I highly suggest upgrading to a new system.

Thank you guys!

I´ll buy the drive & test it.

(You´ll probably hear a lot from me later when/if my crappy computer refuses to burn anything, or turns into a coaster factory:-)

Make sure to turn DMA on for the optical drives as well. You should be able to hit UDMA/2 with them, if not try removing your second optical drive and try again. Even with the older system, you should still be all right burning data disks. I’d still check for HDD deals on fatwallet, and if you’re planning on keeping the computer consider a PCI controller. At $15-20, it’d be a sizable improvement in your computer’s performance as it removes some of the processing off your MoBo as well as improving drive throughput to modern standards. But if you’re planning on upgrading your system in the next year, I’d just stick with a fast HDD which would carry over to a system upgrade.