Hey guys...would just like to say a very very BIG thank you to everyone who helped. This is probably the most helpful forum I've ever been on. Tech suppourt guys who get paid ain't even this helpful!
I finally got to the bottom of it. It wasn't only my drive as the cpu and buffer were all over the place as you can see from the first graph. It was all to do with enabling AHCI on the motherboard. Its an enhanced mode for the chipset SATA controller and is the preferred state.
Problem is to enable it you need to install the intel controller manager..... driver. Now the driver won't install unless AHCI is enabled in the bios but windows won't boot if AHCI is enabled without the driver being installed (classic chicken and egg scenario).
So after a lot of searching I found a long way round (swapping hdds on the different controllers etc) as the only other option would be a complete reinstall as the drivers would have needed to be installed on startup.
More on topic, you were kinda right (DVD ADDICT and Alan 1476) I tried the test again but capped it at 12X and it worked perfectly....6mins 47 secs.
Thanks again to everyone. Mucho appreciated.
Lesson of the day: if you have an intel chipset based on the 975X or 965 make sure you install the AHCI drivers on windows installation otherwise your burner will be crippled and NCQ will be disabled.