I had this exact same problem, and I think both REDKING and pomchew hit it pretty much right on the nail. Like Numeric, I use Windows Me and Ahead Nero, version 188.8.131.52 (which came bundled with my generic 52x24x52x internal CD-RW drive). Also, like REDKING, my CD burner works great at low burn speeds, but I can’t burn over 16x without getting the timeout errors (which occur, even during simulation runs).
My burner used to work just “fine” at max speed several months ago (at least as well as it could on an Me system anyway). However, though I am not entirely sure whether this is the root of the problem, the errors began after I re-installed my Lite-On DVDÂ±RW burner (which my friend borrowed a few months ago). But since I hardly ever use my CD burner, I’m not sure whether the DVDÂ±RW drive has anything to do with it, but it does fit in with REDKING’s description.
However, I do not believe the problem is entirely software related, because I installed my DVD drive once before (including all associated drivers and software), and the CD burner used to work fine. The only thing I could think of is that it has to do something with the fact that my Lite-On DVD burner is hooked up to the second IDE port on a PCI controller card, while nothing is hooked up to the first IDE port on the card. (I used to have a 200 GB hard drive, and since older motherboards cannot handle hard drives with capacities over 137 GB, I had to install the controller card, and since I ran out of IDE ports, I decided to hook up my DVD drive to the card as well. Recently, though, I accidentally broke my 200 GB drive , so I removed it, but I left the DVD burner hooked up to the card.)
My guess is that the controller card is causing some sort of “confusion” among the hardware, and the hard drive can’t send the data to my burner fast enough when I burn at high speeds, as my recorder’s read buffer drops below 20% right when the burn process begins (at 6% completion).
Another possibility is that the error is software-related and has to do with some recent Sonic MyDVD driver update, since I recently updated my Sonic MyDVD driver software that came with the DVD burner. New drivers in the update could be causing and/or contributing to the problem. Probably, though, it has to do with some interaction of all of the above (the OS, the setup of the DVD drive, and the driver update).
Whatever the case, the burn does appear to work successfully at 8x, although the only burn I’ve tried since then was a coaster that “burned successfully”. That may be due to some other problems, though.