NEC 5500A 8x DVD-ROM
Every time someone buys a new computer he or
she faces a dilemma: getting a really fast 50X (or an even faster CD-ROM) or a
DVD-ROM which reads both CD-ROM and DVD-ROMs? The answer depends on every
individual's needs. Most DVD-ROMs are sold for watching DVD movies and not for
accessing DVD discs containing applications since very few applications are
distributed in DVD format (and even these also have cd versions).
Of course it is obvious that within the next years DVD discs will be more
widely available and when manufacturers release more affordable DVD-R writers
then DVD roms will be sold in much larger quantities. Nowadays very few DVD
units support reading DVD-R discs (rewritable DVD discs) since DVD-R writers
cost more than $400 and are considered to be special hardware.
A well known
DVD-ROM costs usually twice or even more compared to a CD-ROM, but this
difference isn't a lot of cash. One can get a NEC DVD-ROM rated as 8x DVD speed
and 40x CD-ROM speed for $80 or even cheaper units like a Hitachi 2500bx (6x DVD
speed and 24x DVD-ROM speed) for $70.
The Nec DVD-ROM
supports vertical installing, has a digital output at the back of the unit and
supports DVD-R! I cannot find a DVD-R disc to verify this but I take NEC's word
for it. This will be a very interesting feature which will become a ¡°must have¡±
in the next few years. One small disadvantage of this model seems to be its
small cache of 256kb. Most DVD-ROMs are equipped with 512kb cache, it seems that
only this unit and Toshiba's 6x DVD-ROM have 256kb cache. Of course this doesn't
So is this drive RPC-1 or RPC-2?
For those of you who don't know what this means I'll explain this in simple
words. When a new film is distributed in DVD format over in the USA or in other
regions of world it must not be released to the rest of world because this movie
could still be displayed in certain cinemas around the world. So the film
producers forced DVD manufacturers to use region locking (RPC-2 units) and
divided the world into 6 regions. If one DVD disc is region 1 (USA) then it can
be used with DVD-ROMs set to region 1, if it's region 2 then it works only with
European dvd players
(region 2) and so on...
There are some DVD-ROMs which are RPC-1 which means that
they can display all region type DVD films and these drives are not region
locked (one of them is the Hitachi 2500BX but I don't know if it is still
produced unlocked since the film community is pressuring all manufacturers to
produce only region locked drives from 1/1/2000).
DVD-ROM is RPC-2 which means that it can play only DVD discs which match the
region setting stored in this drive. I have contacted NEC European PC support
and they informed me that this DVD-ROM can work up to 5 times with DVD films of
all kinds of regions, after that it gets locked to the region of the 5th DVD
movie (which had different region settings compared to the previous).
In other words you can
watch as many movies as you like which have the same region setting but you can
use up to 5 times different region DVD's, after that you can watch DVD's which
have the same region as your 5th DVD region change. So you must be careful with
that 5th DVD which is from different region. Region locking refers only to DVD
films not DVD data discs, these do not have region locking
Unfortunately there isn't any known way to make this
DVD-ROM unlocked for ever (RPC-1). An average user will not probably be bothered
by this restriction but it remains a disadvantage for this particular unit since
other RPC-2 units can be unlocked permanently with certain procedures. Some
sites even boycott units like the Nec 5500A.