MSI CR52A2 52X CDRW Drive

MSI CR52A2 52X CDRW Drive - Page 2


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

By Tom Laverriere
March 14, 2003

Installing the MSI CR52-A2 is a breeze.  It'll fit right into an open 5 1/4" bay.  Fasten the drive into place with the four screws provided in the box and then connect the power, IDE, and sound cables and we're ready for some serious burn performance.

Software Included With The MSI CR52-A2
Nero goodness

As I mentioned earlier, MSI ships its drive with Ahead's Software "Nero Burning ROM 5" suite, which includes some other useful applications as well.  Nero Burning ROM comes with Nero Express which walks you through, step by step, a number of processes, including audio disc creation, data disc creation, disc to disc copy and more.

Nero's Express CD Creator

The screen shots above of Nero Express show the features this agile little program provides.  From the main screen, you can do anything you want including ripping a CD, converting file formats, disc to disc copying and a slew of others.  The middle screen shot shows the 52X ( 7800Kb/s ) capability of this drive in a disc to disc copy setup.  The third screen is preparing a data disc for burning.  Nero Express makes any form of burning or ripping extremely simple and fast, which is why we love it so much over here at

Nero Express Label Maker


Ahead's Nero package also includes a label maker to cover all those boring discs with your own personal touch.  You can drop pictures or text or whatever you want on these labels, apply them to the discs and viola!  You're halfway to having your own Record Label company!  Well maybe not, but it almost feels that way.  So, we have all this great software but we still don't how the MSI CR52-A2 performs.  Let's fire it up and find out.

HotHardware Test Systems
AMD DualDDR Horsepower


Abit NF7-S nVidia nForce2 Motherboard

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ 333MHz FSB

256MB GEiL PC3500 (2.5-3-3-6-2)

Seagate Barracuda IV ATA100 7200RPM 40GB HD

Albatron GeForce4 Ti4200P Medusa 128MB

Pine Technology 52X CD-ROM drive

Standard Floppy Drive

Windows XP Professional

DirectX 8.2

nVidia 41.09 drivers

nVidia 2.03 nForce2 Unified Driver


MSI CR52-A2 52X24X52X CD-RW

TDK 4800B 48X16/24X48X CD-RW

Utilities and Media Used For Testing

  • SiSoft SANDRA

  • Easy CD-DA Extractor 5.0.6

  • Nero Burning ROM

  • Nero InfoTool

  • Nero CD Speed

  • Nero Express for MP3 Encoding

  • An audio CD 78:57 in Length

  • RedHat 8 Disc 1 651MB disc image

  • A Retail Quake 3 CD

  • Memorex, PNY, Imation, FujiFilm CD-Rs


CD-ROM Performance Tests - Plextor PX-W4824TA
Stop! NERO Time!

Nero InfoTool

MSI CR52-A2 52X24X52

TDK 4800B 48X16/24X48

Here we can see some screen shots for both the TDK and MSI CD-RW drives, using the Nero Info Tool.  The Nero Info Tool does just what it says, provides us with all the information of the drive, including what speeds it supports and also what writing modes it supports.  I was a little disappointed to see fewer writing modes that the MSI drive supports.  The biggest one missing, to me, is Mt. Rainer support, which allows a CD-RW disc to work just like any other drive where you can drag and drop files onto it for writing.  Not to worry, though, because the Nero suite that the MSI shipped with includes Nero's EasyWrite Reader which provides the same capabilities as Mt. Rainer support and if you have Windows XP, support for this is already in the OS.  I will mention that formatting a new CD-RW without Mt. Rainer support, takes quite a bit longer as well as the writing process itself.  Compared to the TDK drive, however, the MSI is still a bit lacking in the writing modes category.  We were left with the feeling that this drive came shipped with an early Firmware revision.  Future Firmware updates could add "official" Mt Ranier support, as well as offer better compatibility with various media types.  More on this later.


MSI CR52-A2 52X24X52

TDK 4800B 48X16/24X48


The first test we performed on this drive was using SiSoft SANDRA's CD/DVD File System Benchmark.  For this, we used a retail version Quake 3 CD.  The MSI CR52-A2 drive manages some fairly impressive numbers ( 2561kB/s ) compared to the TDK drive ( 2206kB/s ).  The TDK drive came in at 18X, while the MSI drive managed 20X on this test.  Regardless of what drive you compare it to, the MSI 52X CDRW drive is reading data off a disc at a fairly good rate.

Nero CD Speed - Data:

MSI CR52-A2 52X24X52

TDK 4800B 48X16/24X48

Our next benchmark is Nero CD Speed which takes a look at the speed at which the drive reads a data CD.  For this benchmark we used the Retail Quake 3 CD once again.  There are a couple of points I'd like to make on these screen shots.  The MSI drive outperformed the TDK drive in average speed ( 33.68X ) and end speed ( 44.09X ) albeit by a small margin ( 31.44X avg. and 41.09X end ) over the TDK drive.  The biggest area of difference here is CPU usage.  The MSI drive puts minimal strain on the CPU itself, while the TDK drive uses the CPU up to 12% at 8X.  Finally, the burst rate, reported by Nero CD Speed, for the MSI drive was a dismal 1MB/s while the TDK drive pushed out a burst rate of 22MB/s.  These burst rates are the maximum amount of data that is transferable in a short period of time or a burst.  Obviously higher is better.  However, we are not all that convinced that the Nero utility here is reporting burst rate correctly, since we have seen other high speed burners and CD drives, report low scores in this test, only to post a 10X increase on the next run of the test.  So, as far as the burst rate numbers go here, take them with a grain of salt.

More Nero CD Speed, MP3 Encoding, And Full Disc Buring

Tags:  MSI, CD, drive, MS, Ive, R5

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