NEC 3520A Read / Rip Speed SLOW - Why? (write speed OK)



Greetings everyone,

Helped by feedback from this forum I decided to purchase the NEC 3520a. My drive is housed in an external BYTECC enclosure connected via USB 2.0. Both OEM drive (1.04 stock firmware) and enclosure came together as a packaged combo from

My system info.:
-Windows 2000 SP4
-Intel Pentium III 800 MHz (w/ latest chipset software installed)
-256 MB RAM
-15 GB HDD (8 GB free)
-120 GB HDD (slave, used for ripping)
-DMA/UDMA enabled (in windows & BIOS) for both primary & secondary IDE channels (unsure if this matters since drive is USB-connected)
-NEC DVD-RW ND-3520A (detailed info. about the drive from Nero InfoTool available below)

-Using ASPI 4.60 and latest versions of CloneDVD, AnyDVD, DVD Decryptor, Nero InfoTool, Nero CD-DVD Speed
-HDDs defragged regularly
-No other programs (including Norton Anti-virus) present during testing, ripping processes

Overall, I am satisfied with the drive’s write capabilities.

While CDrs, burnt DVD-Rs read quickly read speeds for pressed DVDs are uncompromisingly slow, capping out at 2X. I learned this was most likely due to riplock on the shipped firmware.

After grabbing version 1.U6 (beta 6) of the modified 3520 firmware by Liggy & Dee and plugging the drive inside my machine (secondary IDE channel, master), I proceeded to flash the drive using BinFlash. At that time I set booktype for DVD+R DL / DVD+R media to ‘DVD-ROM’. This resulted in a mild increase in read speeds for pressed DVDs, but no where close to the 8.0X the Nero InfoTool showed that the drive was capable of, let alone the 16X advertised by NEC.

For testing consistency I used a store bought copy of ‘Kill Bill’ (region 1, dual layer 7.11 GB). Below you’ll find test results for this disc from Nero CD-DVD Speed. Results were the same regardless of whether the drive was internally or externally (reason I bought it) attached, or whether software like AnyDVD or Nero DriveSpeed was running in the background to try and maximize drive speed.

The results were reflected in programs like CloneDVD2 and DVD Decryptor where average rip times would normally exceed 35 or 40 minutes. It is not unlikely for a full rip and burn – at least in CloneDVD – to take up to an hour to complete. I tried out several other movies (single & dual layer) but read speeds were all the same: sluggish at best.

After doing these tests and reading through similar posts in this forum I still do not understand why the drive is arbitrarily slow reading pressed DVDs. I doubt my system is causing this issue as it more than exceeds the drive’s system / OS requirements which are: Pentium III 450 MHz or faster CPU and 128 MB or higher RAM, 650 MB HDD available capacity and 5 GB free space for creating a DVD image file, Windows 98 / NT 4.0 / ME / 2000 / XP.

Any help or feedback would be greatly appreciated.





This is normal. NEC’s website lists the 3520’s read speed for dual layer DVD-ROM as 7x, and for DL +/-R 5x(!!). These are CAV speeds so they will only be reached when the drive is reading at the outer edge. 16X is for SL only. I’m sure someone can give a technical explanation as to why reading DL is so much slower.

OTOH, I find your rip time a little excessive. With DVD Decrypter it takes my 3520 about 22 minutes to rip a ~7.5GB pressed DVD-9, with max speed of ~7.2X.

For best performance you need to make sure that 1) your external enclosure and the host computer can do USB 2.0 hi-speed, and 2) the external enclosure supports UDMA mode 2.


I have at least 4 times where a scratched DVD couldn’t be ripped using 2 Liteon LTD 163D dvd drives I have had. These drives are fast and rip almost everything I throw in it.

Those 4 times, the slow times of my NEC 3520, 3500 allowed the DVD to be ripped! So slow isn’t a bad thing in this case.

I keep my 2 Liteon DVD burners mostly for CD burning these days. I am not pleased with the quality of the DVD writing. The NEC is great for DVD burning.
I don’t like my NEC for CD burning with EFM encoding. That’s the Liteon’s speciality.

It would be great if my NEC could rip fast, do EFM encoding as well. Ah well.
For now I have a good solution using 3 drives.


You have a DOG PC. USB 2.0 is another problem. You should be able to burn @ 8X with the NEC connected DIRECTLY to the IDE cable.


Your responses are much appreciated.

@ dnd - As far as I can tell, the enclosure and machine are communicating using USB 2.0 hi-speed (see device mgr screen shot below). All IDE devices are properly configured for DMA/UDMA, but I am not sure how to check / adjust UDMA for a USB device – my 3520 drive properities under device manager don’t show this option.

@furballi - Did you mean read “at 8X”? Burning is not an issue with the drive, just reading. And as stated previously, test results were no different whether the drive was internally connected with an IDE cable or externally with USB 2.0.



dual layers are painfully slow to read with a lot of RW drives.I use a dvd-rom and I get a max of 10x which is quite common for a dvd-rom.You most likely won’t get any faster.Try using IDE and see if that helps.Also your lack of RAM may be an issue.If you were to use Nero for backups it takes 214mb on my system just to ro run it.


IDE has been tried – nominal difference in speed, if that. Outside of buying more RAM just for this, are there any other things I might try that would help increase read rates?