MSI CR52A2 52X CDRW Drive - HotHardware

MSI CR52A2 52X CDRW Drive

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The MSI CR52-A2 - 52X CD-RW Drive
Breaking the speed barrier at 52X

By Tom Laverriere
March 14, 2003

The first CD-RW drive I ever bought was an 8X4X32X unit for around $200 beans and I thought it was amazing how fast that thing could burn CD's.  It took me only about 10 minutes to burn a full disc of songs.  I was loving life.  Back in the day (not so long ago actually), that was fast  It's amazing how far and how fast CD-RW drive technology has evolved.  First we saw a few 24X drives out there and then only a few months later we're looking at 40X and then 48X and now, we have broken the 52X barrier.  We're talking about CD-RW drives that can burn a disc as fast as it can read a disc.  That's supposedly like burning 80 minutes worth of music or 700MB worth of data, in about 2 minutes!  Today in the HotHardware lab, we have one of these wonder burners, the MSI CR52-A2 52X24X52X CD-RW drive.

It's hard to imagine that these drives will get any faster.  The buzz in the pc enthusiast market is that these drives will top out at 56X.  Where does this technology hit its ceiling?  Compared to a 48X CD-RW, is a 52X that much more superior, or even a 56X for that matter?  We'll take a look at how this beast matches up against another 48X CD-RW drive and try and determine if the extra speed is really worth the hype.

 

Specifications of the MSI CR52-A2
Burn as fast as you can read!
 
Drive Technology:
  • Multi-functions: 52X Write/24X Rewrite/52X Read
  • BURN-Proof? prevents Buffer Under Run
  • EXACT-Rec (Enhanced eXtracting & Adapting Control Technology for Recording ) monitors accuracy of writing
  • AWSS (Advanced Weighting Suspension System) Technology reduce vibration & noise
  • ROPC technology boosts recording reliability
  • Support discs capacity: 790MB(90min) / 700MB(80min) / 650MB(74min)
  • Support discs diameter: 8/12cm
  • Disc formats: CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, CD-DA, CD-I, Bootable CS, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-Extra, Mixed Mode CD, CD-Text
  • Writing Model: Disc At Once, Track At Once, Session At Once, Multisession, Packet Writing
  • Fully supports both variable and fixed packet reading and writing (CD-UDF compatible)
  • Build-in headphone jack, CD-Audio volume control knob and play/skip button
  • 2 MB internal buffer
  • MMC 3 compliant (write)
  • ATAPI SFF8020 V2.6 compliant (read)
  • ISO 9660 compliant
  • Supports PIO mode4 and UDMA mode2
  • Power-saving feature
  • Motorized easy touch loading tray
  • Firmware upgradeable
  • Compatible with MS-DOS, Windows 95/98/ME/XP/NT/2000
     
 
Retail Package Contents:
  • MSI Internal IDE 52X CD-RW Drive
  • Screws + Audio Cable
  • Bundle S/W CD (Latest CD Burning Software)
  • Multi-Language Quick Installation manual
  • Nero 5 Brief Instructions ( 7 Languages )
  • 1X Multi-Speed Blank CD-R Disc
  • 1X 24X Blank CD-RW Disc

 

               


CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW
 

   

   

It's always good to see what kind of support products are packed into the box, with the any new component.  MSI offers four mounting screws, an analog sound cable so you can listen to all those great CD's you burn in your drive, one multi-speed CD-R disc and one multi-speed CD-RW disc.  The reason we're calling them "multi-speed" is because that's exactly what it says on the discs.  The discs themselves don't show what speed they're rated at, but we'll find out soon enough.  MSI also includes a full copy of Nero Burning ROM, which is regarded as one of the best CDR Burning suites on the market today.  This the actual software we like to use over here in the HH Lab.

The actual construction of the drive seems very solid.  The tray itself is sturdy and provides a good base for smooth, error-free burning.  There is a headphone jack and a volume dial on the front of the drive and also one LED that turns green when the drive is reading and an amber color, when the drive is burning.  MSI offers what they like to call "EXACT-Rec", which stands for Enhanced eXtracting & Adapting Control Technology for Recording, which is supposed to monitor the accuracy of the burn.  Additionally, MSI packs "AWSS" support into this drive, which stands for its Advanced Weighting Suspension System, to reduce any noise and vibration that can occur during recording.  Sounds like some pretty nifty features...  Let's take a look at how they all performed together.

Software, Test Setup and Preliminary Testing

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