DVD Burner for gaming PC - NEC ND-3540A?

Hello everyone,

I’m building a brand new gaming PC and I had some questions about which optical drive(s) to purchase. I’ve read most of the recent posts in these forums and have searched the internet extensively, but I’m having trouble finding the information I need to make a decision.

I’m not very knowledgeable about optical drives nor am I much of a burner of CDs or DVDs. I’ll primarily be using the drive for gaming and I’d like it to read things quickly and have good CD/DVD to HD transfer rates. However, I’d also like to have the capability of burning the odd audio or data CD/DVD quickly and successfully.

That being said, I was thinking about the new NEC ND-3540A. It seems to be the first of the third generation dual layer DVD burners available, and from what I’ve read on the forums, NEC drives appear to be quite good (plus I can get it in silver to match my aluminum case). I know that the new BenQ DW1640 is also highly anticipated, but this is not available in any stores that I can see.

The problem, however, is that I read that NEC ND-3500 and ND-3520 drives have high access times (but good read speeds). I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I’m afraid “high access times” might mean worse performance in playing and installing games.

What is more worrisome is that when you look at the NEC ND-3520 access times, you have CDs @ 120ms and DVDs @ 120ms. However, according nec.co.uk, the access times of the ND-3540 are worse, with CDs @ 140 ms and DVDs @ 160ms.

Here is the link:

Also, there are only two internet reviews I can find of the NEC ND-3540… and while the one from TrustedReviews.com is completely positive, the one from ExtremeMhz.com mentions “slow load times” as a negative aspect of the drive. However, I was unable to see in the article where he actually tested the drive’s “load times.”

Here is the link to the conclusion page of the ExtremeMhz.com review:
http://www.extrememhz.com/nd3540a-p9.shtml

So, with this knowledge, I have the following questions:

  1. Will I notice, or should I expect to notice any problems in terms of gaming performance and data transfer to HD with the NEC ND-3540 compared to other optical drives?

  2. I know the BenQ DW-1620 has good access times… but would it be wise to purchase this or any other 2nd generation DVD burner over a 3rd generation one (i.e. the NEC-3540A)?

  3. Do I need to purchase an additional DVD-ROM drive (like the AOpen and LiteOn DVD-ROMs mentioned in these forums) to ensure good gaming performance and data transfer to HD (i.e. do gaming PCs essentially need two optical drives, one for burning and one for reading)?

  4. What exactly does “access time” mean and when & where would I notice a difference between a drive with high and low access time?

  5. This is slightly unrelated, but any NEC ND-3540A owners find the drive too loud/noisy? This was also a complaint mentioned in the ExtremeMhz.com review.

Just to put things in perspective, in my current PC, I have Samsung SW-232B CD-RW and an LG DRD-8160B DVD-ROM. I know these drives aren’t anything special, but I’ve been very content with their performance. The access time on the Samsung was 100ms for CDs. For the LG, it was 90ms for CDs and 110ms for DVDs.

I was hoping that with my new PC, I could just purchase one drive that would do everything I need. However, if I need two drives, I’ll get them.

Majority of your questions are related to NEC drive which must be posted in NEC forum not here. So I suggest that this thread to be moved to NEC forum.