NEC 3520 Scans Unreliable?



I own an NEC 3520 with Liggy’s 2.U5 firmware and have recently got into quality scanning. One thing I noticed right off the bat is that the quality scans from the NEC were never that good, they tended to show high PIE and PIF results in Nero’s CD-DVD Speed.

Out of curiosity I took some NEC burned discs into work and did the quality test on a BenQ 1650 - the results were like night and day! According to the BenQ, my burns are quite good (quality of 90+) - According to the NEC, they are subpar (quality of >80)

I’ve done a little research into DVD scanning and BenQ’s and LiteOns are supposed to both be excellent scanners… does this mean the NEC is not so great at scanning? Any firmware updates I should apply to improve the results?

Quick note about the systems the drives live in… the NEC at home has the better system, homebrew Asus P5B board with an intel e6600 processor and 2GB of memory. The BenQ is in an older Dell XPS (also a very nice system) with a Pentium-D chip. During the tests, I shut down everything, so I don’t suspect that other applications or hardware are playing a major role in the outcome of the results.

Thanks in advance for any input! I’ve already ordered a new Liteon LH-20A1P that I am planning on using for scanning, but if I can get this NEC scanning a bit better it looks like I have until Monday to cancel that order.


In short, this is correct.

Any firmware updates I should apply to improve the results?
In short, no. :bigsmile:

The only NEC drive usable as a scanner is the 3540A. All others have looney quirks. Even the 3540A doesn’t report correctly (PIEs are not correct) but at least it’s consistent (same figures in several passes with the same disc don’t have significant variations), which is not the case with their other drives. And [I]consistency is the first thing you want from a scanner[/I]. Without it, it’s like drawing on a shaking piece of paper, or reading the time from a clock which has moving numbers… :bigsmile:


It means that you will get scan results that indicate the discs are coasters with most NEC drives … incredibly large numbers of PIE and PIF and “0” percent scores with CD Speed that are not even close to the actual disc quality when scanned on a LiteOn or BenQ drive.

The only way to tell if your drive is accurate is to compare the results against the LiteOn or the Benq… or both if you have access. The 1650 is generally quite reliable, so if it reports good scores, then I would tend to believe it.



Wish NEC would release f/w for 3500 to scan.


It would be interesting to see how the 3500 would scan, considering how many people regard the 3500 as the best NEC drive to date…


Thanks for all the feedback guys. I just got my LiteON LH-20A1P today that I’ll try scanning tonight. If the discs scan results from the NEC Burned Discs are as horrible in the LiteON drive, then the NEC gets throw in the trash… but I suspect these NEC burned discs are going to scan very very well in the LiteON - way better than the LiteON burned discs will scan!

I’ve always thought my NEC 3520 rocked, I guess I just had to buy this LiteON to prove it to myself :slight_smile: We will see!


Post us some scans when you get a chance, colorado! Always better safe than sorry.


Hey Guys -

Got my LiteON 20A1P.

I am surprised. Maybe even humbled. I’ve always been an NEC man, I was expecting to just use the LiteON to scan my NEC discs… but after some tests, the LiteOn burns amazingly well.

Screen caps are below, but heres a summary of my tests. All scans were done on the LiteON at 4x. NEC 3520 is using Liggy’s 2.5U firmware, LiteON 20A1P is using Stock K5U firmware.

[B]Verbatim DVD-R MCC03RG20 Media:[/B]

NEC 3520
PIE Errors 52,693
PIE Max 49
PIF Errors 12,601
PIF Max 9

LiteON 20A1P
PIE Errors 15,836
PIE Max 11
PIF Errors 310
PIF Max 3
LiteON burn wins hands down

[B]Taiyo Yuden TYG02 Media - Burn #1:[/B]

        NEC 3520  			

PIE Errors 202,385
PIE Max 84
PIF Errors 6,765
PIF Max 7

LiteON 20A1P
PIE Errors 19,199
PIE Max 14
PIF Errors 643
PIF Max 3

LiteON burn wins hands down, graph of NEC burn looks like an anomaly, reburn results with this media below

[B]Taiyo Yuden TYG02 Media - Burn #2:[/B]

        NEC 3520  			

PIE Errors 45,452
PIE Max 24
PIF Errors 7,570
PIF Max 5

LiteON 20A1P
PIE Errors 11,905
PIE Max 11
PIF Errors 2,313
PIF Max 4
LiteON burn still wins, but NEC is much improved

[B]RicohJPN R03 Media:[/B]

        NEC 3520  			

PIE Errors 23,996
PIE Max 12
PIF Errors 865
PIF Max 5

LiteON 20A1P
PIE Errors 63,606
PIE Max 40
PIF Errors 1319
PIF Max 2

NEC Burner wins

So those are my results. So far, my brand new LiteON is out burning my 2 year old NEC 3520. I am a little surprised, maybe its the age of the drive, maybe the 2.5U firmware isn’t working well for me, but regardless I might be using my NEC to read discs and my LiteON to burn for now on :sad:

Screen shots are below. Please note the charts are not scaled to the same level, its better to look at the numbers than the heights of the lines since the scale isn’t the same