TDK Velo CDRW 321040B writing at 24x max

I have two burners, one Lite-On DVD and the above referenced TDK CDRW in an old P II 400 mhz computer with 384 mg running Windows 2000 (don’t laugh - the computer runs beautifully). DMA is enabled on my secondary IDE connection which these drives are connected to. The DVD is the master and the TDK CD burner is the slave.

I was using Infotools and recently noticed that my TDK Velo CDRW 321040B is maxing out at a speed of 24x rather than 32x (The Lite-On DVD gets max speeds).
The firmware is XS72 and has never been upgraded. The TDK website FAQ mentions something about drivers in their Nero Blend software which I don’t use.

I also understand that this drive is made by Lite-On.

I Googled for a firmware search and found upgrades to firmware XS73 and XS74 from this site but I’m not sure they’re for the USA.

Would the above upgrades help me in the USA? Anyone have similar problems with the speed being 24x rather than 32x? The drive operates beautifully except for the maximum speed problem.

The unit motor also spins very loudly when playing back CD-r’s.