I’ve got a NEC 3550A drive, and it seems to be an excellent drive, but I’ve got one large issue with it.
It first surfaced when I was installing Windows with it. The drive simply disappeared as far as Windows was concerned, right in the middle of copying files from the disc. I figured it was a fluke so I rebooted. Unfortunately it did it again. After another reboot it stayed around long enough to finish the install.
For the next few days I was testing my new machine so I didn’t have a reason to install anything with the drive. A couple days ago however I started using it more often, and I came across the “disappearing drive” problem.
The drive loses its drive letter and disappears from the Device Manager altogether until a reboot. (Searching for devices won’t work) It only happens in Ultra DMA mode (not PIO) and some discs seem to crash it more than others. My World of Warcraft CDs seem to reliably crash the drive every time.
Just a note on my cabling configuration, the drive is jumpered for Master and is the only PATA drive in my system.
When I switched from UDMA to PIO mode, the problem disappeared.