At a claimed 20x speed, many modern drives appear to destroy the barriers put in front of them by physics.

NEC's low-cost attempt, rated only at 18x, certainly has a go, but falls marginally short of shattering any barriers. Burning onto 16x certified media, it never quite hit the mark, topping out at 15.92x only briefly at the end of the burn, and averaging out at a languid 11.72x.

We would have expected a little faster push as the spindle speeds increased, but this didn't transpire. At least you can be comforted by the black fascia included in the box; perfect for hiding the common beige drive in a media centre, although you may find, as we did, that the fastening method leaves the drive front suspiciously loose.

However, this is a perfectly competent drive for the price, but it didn't exactly amaze us.