Sony NEC have been making optical drives for a long time and the last time I had used one, I could almost swear I had an awful experience.
I had hoped that this time around as a tertiary drive it would prove different. Sadly, I am not too impressed.
It comes in black which goes well with black/red cases, so a tick there in the design department. It writes media swiftly and it depends on the disc type and amount of data to be written.
On average a full DVD can take 7 and a half mintues depending on the file types being burned. Video files generally take longer, whilst photos and text documents require the lowest write times. This is usually to do with the amount of buffer available; the larger the files the longer it inevitably will take. A tick here for write speed.
The access/read times are disappointing. Firstly on many ocassions the drive fails to read from discs and requires a reboot before it will start reading; emptying the drives tray and placing the disc again doesn't seem to work. It can also prove to be slow when transferring larger files and has a tendency to hang up. Either its just bad luck or theres a pattern. No ticks here.
I thought being a joint venture like Samsung Toshiba, that Sony NEC would deliver something that identifies both brand strenghts; reliability and usability. Unfortunately this drive isn't reliable or usable in the sense that for basic read functions it doesn't do what its supposed to.
It is also very loud and makes a characteristic floppy disc type sound when a disc is first placed in and it starts reading. Same when it is about to start writing. Highly annoying. It can also be very loud when performaing read or write tasks.
I cannot understand why Sony NEC bothers with optical drives if they insist on creating lame products. I cannot recommend this product simply because its a nuisance to use more than an optical drive should be.
The price really isn't warrented even though it comes bundled with an excellent Nero 7 software. If you do want to get this drive I would recommend going the OEM path, isntead of the retail kit. Not only is it cheaper, but you can often get bundled software with OEM versions too.