NU 52X Combi DBW-521 is an IDE drive with 2 MB cache buffer and speeds of 52X write, 24X rewrite and 52Xread and 16X DVD ROM. It comes bundled with a CD-R and software called SONIC, which can be used for audio and data recording, DVD playback, dragging and dropping files to a disc. Unlike the previous drives we've tested, it uses Nero 6.3.
Moreover, the Samsung 52X CD-R media we used for other tests seemed incompatible with this drive and displayed its speed as 48X. Directly burning 650 MB of data from a hard drive to the 52X CD-R media took 3 mins and 10 secs, and CD-CD copying took 3 mins and 50 secs. While to burn a 73 mins audio CD it took 3 mins and 40 secs, CD-CD (audio) copying took 5 mins and 40 secs. It took 3 mins and 24 secs to create a 650 MB ISO Image.
CD-RW tests took 57.5 secs to format a 700 MB media. We used InCD for 538 MB mix data to ascertain the bulk copy time but repeated errors were noticed that render it non-viable for bulk copying. On the DVD-ROM, we used Nero DVD speed test and 4.33 GB data DVD. Average transfer rate came to 11.17X though it mentions 16X speed. The random seek time was 141 ms and CPU utilization was 5%. The burst rate was 37 MB/s.
The Bottom Line: A good option in terms of features, performance and price.