World Exclusive Review: Nu Technology DBW-521 COMBI 52x24x16x Combo Burner/DVD Drive Review


With so many choices to choose from in the optical drive market of manufactures, there are new standards and new product innovations coming that involve the likes of CD-RW burners and DVD burners. Wanting to be apart of that is Nu Technology. Nu Technology has entered that prosperous market within May of this year (2003). They have some exciting products arriving in the market but why should you buy their products? Should you buy their products? If you are looking for a CD-RW burner for a update to your old drive or want a drive that is capable of burning and playing DVD’s in one drive for a competitive price, then continue reading to see how it performs. We review Nu Technology’s fastest CD-RW burner available writing at a furious 52x speed.

The Nu Technology DBW-521 arrived via UPS without any harm and was protected with an air-packed plastic pocket. Right from the gecko the Nu Technology DBW-521 box design is very eye-catching and has English and Chinese text with information and features throughout the box.

About Nu Technology

Nu Technology Inc. is founded in May of 2003 by Quanta Computer (one of the best Notebook IT groups worldwide) and Quanta Storage Inc. Located in the center of the Silicon Valley; we are an optical storage drive manufacturer. Our company is proud to produce a full range of both internal and external, Half-Height and Slim optical storage products. Some of our internal and external optical products include IDE CD/DVD ROM, CD re-writer, CDRW plus DVD combo drive, and DVD writers.


  • Model: DBW-521
  • Maximum Read Speed: CD: 52x (7800KB/sec), DVD: 16x(21130KB/sec)
  • Maximum Write Speed: 52x (7800KB/sec)
  • Maximum Re-Write Speed: 24x (3600KB/sec)
  • Interface: Enhanced IDE (ATAPI)
  • Write formats supported: Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Packet Write, Mt. Rainier
  • Disk Size Supported: 8cm/12cm
  • Data Buffer Size: 2MB
  • Access Time: 90ms (1/3 Stroke)
  • Read Format Supported: CD: CD-DA, CD-ROM/XA, CD-I, Karaoke CD, Video CD, Multi-Session Photo CD, Enhanced CD, I-trax CD, CD extra, CD Plus, CD-Text, CD-R, and CD-RW. – DVD Formats: DVD-ROM (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+VR, DVD+MRW
  • Supported Complaint Formats: MPC level 3, MMC2/Mt. Fuji Command, Mt. Rainier, CSS, RPC II, Ultra DMA Mode 2, Multi-word DMA Mode 2, and PIO mode 4
  • Includes: Software CD consisting of Sonic CinePlayer v1.5, Sonic RecordNow DX, v4.60, Sonic DLA, and USB 2.0 Drivers.

As you can see fro the above specs, the Nu supports many mediums such as CD, DVD+ and DVD- variations, supports Mt. Rainier and has a 2MB Buffer.  You can be sure when you purchase this drive that you are set for any supporting mediums which is a good thing. You don’t want to buy something that can’t read a format that is popular or for that matter rare.

The Nu DBW-521 also supports Superlink technology. Superlink is a buffer underrun technology, which eliminates bad burns or freezing when you are doing other things on your system. So there are no worries about using your system when copying CD’s.

The packaging support when you open the box is well done. Two cardboard ends protect the front and back of the drive from getting damaged.

Purchasing the Nu Technology DBW-521 comes with a bit of things. These include:

  • Nu 52x Drive
  • 1 Nu branded 52x CD-R Media
  • Software CD
  • Audio Cable
  • Quick Start Guide Manual

It is nice to see a 52x CDR included so you can start right away burning at 52x. The bundled software CD includes three programs. These are CinePlayer v1.5, Sonic RecordNow DX, v4.60, and Sonic DLA. This software is only offered through the COMBI series of drives.

Looking from the physical standpoint, the front of the Nu DBW-521 looks and has a clean front panel layout. The tray has the 52x and DVD labels and of course the orange colored Nu logo. The bottom portion includes the headphone jack, volume dial, LED activity light, Play/Forward button and the eject button. There is also the emergency pinhole in case for some reason you need to use it.

The rear of the Nu DBW-521 is the standard as usual connections printed on the back of the unit with their respective switches.

The build quality of the drive itself looks to be of good quality. However, it is questionable with one minor but unaffecting “thing”. That thing consists of a slight “gulping” noise when the drive is shaken up and down with and without a CD placed. It’s a bit louder and more predominant then some of the drives I have come across. However, since the drive will be mounted straight and leveled, it shouldn’t pose a problem. But that thing does cause a concern of build quality.

Using the drive in general

The Nu DBW-521 tray is relatively quiet when loading, ejecting and does not give off a loud high-pitch sound as some other cheap drives do. The tray does not open and close too fast or too slow either being right in the middle taking about 2.3 seconds. Recognition time is also a bit quick of approximately 5-9 seconds in length depending on media used.

When the drive is on load mode, when a CD is inserted, burning process, the Nu Technology DBW-521 is louder and you can really here the drive work. This spin-up mode (or in use) allows the drive to be heard. It’s not annoying if you have a case door to help dissipate the noise but if it is close to your ear, it could become annoying.

Found automatically

Nero checks out the specs.


Sonic CinePlayer v1.5 – This DVD Player software has a nice interface and is very easy to use and operate. The options menu has many features and options to tinker such as Sound, system info and much more. Quality was very good and very crisp. One small nice feature that can be enabled is playback from last state mode. This is especially good if for some reason your computer shuts off and when you start up the program the next time, it will ask you if you want to skip the part that you were previously at.

RecordNow DX - This is a simple CD burning program targeted for beginners. It goes step by step with you on producing and copying your own CD. There are illustrations within the steps that allow you to go through the process. So for example, one step will have a picture of the drive opened and it will ask you to insert the blank CD. It doesn’t have all the neat features of Nero but beginners will find this program enough to use. The burning speed in this program is also slower and automatically chooses the speed for you. You however can create VCD’s and DVD’s, so this program can do it all.

Sonic DLA - The DLA stands for “Drive Letter Access”, which basically allows you to drag and drop files to be burned in your burner drive letter. Not much here because Windows XP can do about the same thing.

The Quick Start Guide Manual shows you clearly with images to use these programs and to install the drive.


As this is our first drive, we have made our standardized series of tests that can be found in our Test System page. This includes of using the newest Nero for burning from HD-Burner and CD-CD 698MB of data/images.   Max Payne 2 is also used for the CD Speed test.  The 698MB is burned on 48x CMC Media burned at 52x in this case.  Please note that the HD-Burner test is more accurate and the one to look at than the CD-to-Burner because it depends on how fast is your source drive.

Nero users should update to the newest as it supports the Nu DBW-521 drive. If you don’t then it cannot be read and you will have problems. You should also update the firmware to the latest G302 for the latest updates for this drive.


Nu Branded 52x Blank CD-R

Nero CD Speed (MP3 CD Used)

Nero CD Speed (698MB Data/images CD used)

Disregard CPU Usage as it should be a percent or two lower.  My system was in use (Photoshop, etc) during these tests.

HD-to-Burner Test

  • CD-to-Buner Test of 698MB of data/images: 4mins 45seconds

As you can see from the results, the Nu DBW-521 is a very fast and capable drive when using these mediums. Other claimed specifications such as the 90ms (1/3 stroke) have been met (sometimes close) and with low CPU Utilization.

Using the Nu for listening to Audio CD's and DVD's posed no problems.  The drive was quick and DVD's had no skipping or jerky movements.


The Nu Technology DBW-521 COMBI drive is a very fast and very capable product. The drive performed quick and without any problems. Nu Technology also has included great programs with this drive so you can start using it to its full potential right away. From the start I had nice impressions of this new product and it does deliver. The only downfalls to this drive are the noise and the small “gulping” thing when you shake the drive itself.

Well should you give Nu Technology a shot? Sure why not, I really like this drive because it performed fast, has programs to start using it and the overall package a design was really nice. Well from this review, I can say that I will accept Nu Technology in the market with wide-open arms. Good job.  The Nu drive goes for a really good price shown below.

I rate the Nu Technology DBW-521 COMBI 52x24x16x drive a…


Pros and Cons

+ Packaging
+ Software
+ Drive is fast
- Noise can be bit loud for some
- Questionable “gulping” noise

I want to thank Nu Technology for making us the first ones to review this fine product for them.

Alternative Pricing (Tell them sent you as usual if you decide to buy)



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