Please help me with my NEC 3540A

Dear Masters,

As a newbie I need your help. I’m in trouble with my DVD-Writer.

Recently I bought a NEC 3540A, after reading the reviews in cdfreaks and elsewhere.

My system configuration is as follows;
P3 - 600 MHz CPU, 512MB SD-RAM,
Win98 SE operating system,
I have Nero 6.3… for burning.

Previously I had an ASUS DVD-ROM drive.
After buying NEC 3540A, I uninstalled the DVD-ROM and
installed this DVD-Writer in its place as Secondary Slave drive. (I set the jumper accordingly.)
Secondary Master drive is a Philips CD-Writer.
Primary Master and Slaves are my two HDD drives.

The problem is that;
If somehow the writer runs out of buffer (i.e. read buffer of Nero and buffer memory of the writer become zero because of some other programs working simultaneously) the writer stops recording and can not resume it again.

I tested this situation with Maxell 2x DVD-RW, BenQ 8x DVD-R and 10x CD-RW media at their rated speed.
All of them gave the same result; the writer could not resume recording after bufer underrun although “buffer underrun” option was active.
(DMA is also active)

Does somebody have any comment on this situation?
Why is it doing this?
Is there anything that I can do to resolve this problem?
Can modified firmware update be a solution? (I made an original firmware update from 1.01 to 1.03, no change)
Shall I give back the writer and claim a new one?

Thanks in advance

The 3540 is a new-ish drive.

Try updating to Nero 6.6 and see if things work better as that version will have built in support for the 3540 and any buffer underrun features it has.


to diagnose locate nero cd/dvd speed in the nero toolkit

run a transfer rate, and burst tests
then make the 3540 the master and ONLY drive. try above tests again and see if there is any difference

Thank you Brammers and cnlson for your advices. :slight_smile:
I’ll try to do them one by one, and write here which one works (or not)

my guess is that it is DMA but the tests i suggested should reveal immediately the situation

I didn’t get the point.
DMA is already enabled for this dirve.

Do you mean that; “although DMA is enabled, it is not functioning properly because the drive is connected as secondary slave” ?

yes most likely… but the transfer rate tests will tell the story

P3 - 600MHz? Update time. That’s older than … You can get a low low low end Athlon that will kick that P3’s butt so cheap it will make you ill.

Ah yess, this is another story.
My P3 - 600MHz desktop was pretty cool and speedy when I have bought it some 5 years ago. :disagree:
I know that upgrading time has come and pass already. :iagree:
However, I am conisdering to buy an affordable laptop to become “mobile” :bigsmile:
And I’m still saving money for that. :doh: That, is why I waited so much.
In fact, since I’m not a 3D games fan, my old P3 was just enough for me untill now.
But I will consider your advice. Thanks. :wink:

By the way. I upgraded from NERO 6.3… to
I ran a test with CD-DVD Speed tool “before upgrade” and “after upgrade” with the same disk (Traxdata 8x DVD+R).
Here are the results, if you are interested:

Nero CD Speed Test results

General Information
Operating System Windows 98 SE
Drive _NEC DVD_RW ND-3540A
Firmware Version 1.03
Disc DVD+R
Capacity 4.11 GB

Transfer Rate
Start 6.41x
End 15.63x
Average 11.72x
Type CAV
Seek Times

Random 108 ms
1/3 134 ms
Full 228 ms

CPU Usage
1X 11 %
2X 20 %
4X 36 %
8X 66 %

Burst Rate 1277 KB/sec

Spin Up/Down Times
Spin Up Time 2.32 sec
Spin Down Time 2.86 sec

Load/Eject Times
Load Time 11.74 sec
Eject Time 1.78 sec
Recognition Time 0.00 sec

Nero CD Speed Test results

General Information
Operating System Windows 98 SE
Drive _NEC DVD_RW ND-3540A
Firmware Version 1.03
Disc DVD+R
Capacity 4.11 GB

Transfer Rate
Start 6.34x
End 15.62x
Average 11.72x
Type CAV

Seek Times
Random 111 ms
1/3 136 ms
Full 228 ms

CPU Usage
1X 12 %
2X 21 %
4X 37 %
8X 66 %

Burst Rate 25183 KB/sec

Spin Up/Down Times
Spin Up Time 2.31 sec
Spin Down Time 2.72 sec

Load/Eject Times
Load Time 11.68 sec
Eject Time 1.78 sec
Recognition Time 0.09 sec

I’m not an “expert”, but it seems that other data are quite similar except this “BURST RATE” which was “1277 KB/sec” before upgrade, and increased to “25183 KB/sec” after upgrade.

I hope this solves the problem. But I will try to make a “real” test by trying to reach “buffer underrun” situation and check if the dirve can continue afterwards.

And can anybody tell me please, what does this “Burst Rate” mean?
What does it indicate?

I think I solved my problem by upgrading my NERO from 6.3… to

Yesterday I did a test burn. Here are the details:

First I prepared a UDF compilation of approximately 4GB and started to burn it on to a 2x Maxell DVD-RW.

Then I started to run the following programs simultaneously:

  • Winamp playing mp3 songs from the used HDD drive.
  • TV tuner program of my TV-card.
  • File search within the used HDD drive.
  • Converting a video file from “Quicktime mov” format to “mpeg2” format with a video editing software.
  • Playing an audio CD with “CD-Player” program of Windows from the CD-RW drive which is the secondary master drive (my NEC DVD-Writer is this dirve’s slave)

All the above programs were running durnig the burning process.
(A good performance for a P3-600MHz computer, eh… :slight_smile: )

After a while the buffer levels started to go down and down (both Nero’s read buffer and the buffer RAM of the drive)
Finally they reached to %0 (zero), BUT recording continued and buffer levels started to go up again.

So throughout the whole burning process the buffer levels went up and down from %100 to %0, and completed at last.
Then I made a quality scan. Here is the result.

I think, although it is not a “perfect” burning, it is quite good.
What do you think?