Up Close and Personal and The Active Panel
|Bezel||Rubber Gasket||Lots of Grease||More Grease|
Taking a few minutes to closely examine the XA52P, we opened the CD-Tray using the emergency eject switch. The first picture above shows the clean smooth edges of the bezel and the silicon grease along the side of the tray. By browsing through the rest of the images, one can see that MSI did not skimp with the lubrication of the drive. This is more clearly evident in the last two pictures where one can see the excess grease on both the guide and geared rail.
The other note worthy areas of the XA52P is the soft rubber gasket and the foam standoffs on the underside of the tray. These are fairly common feature in most high-end drives, however, MSI has implemented exceptionally spongy materials which in the long run will help preclude dust build-up and noisy operation.
|Active Panel Packaging||Packaging Open||Back of Packaging||The Panels|
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3|
The last physical area of investigation before we install the drive, is MSI's ActivePanel, a.k.a. removable faceplates. Presented in a stylish foldout brochure, the three ActivePanel's come individually wrapped in Ziploc baggies. Coming in black, silver and beige, the plastic faceplates should match just about any standard case color.
Installing the faceplates is just as easy as opening the baggies. Line up the two holes on the drive to their corresponding pressure clip on the ActivePanel and firmly press them together. Merging with a satisfying "click," users are ensured that the panels are firmly attached, easy as one, two, three...
After successfully installing the XA52P we proceeded to MSI's web site to download their, Live Updated 3, utility. This firmware tool runs in the background of ones Windows environment in hopes of keeping MSI branded hardware up-to-date. During initial execution, the user is presented with various configurable options, and is then prompted to allow the software to scan for MSI hardware. Once completed, Live Update 3 connects to the internet wherein all MSI hardware is automatically matched with the latest available firmware updates. Finally, presented in a multi-sectional report, the user can then pick which update(s) they wish to install.
In our case, the XA52P was shipped with the latest firmware and did not need any updating. However, Live Update 3 did recommend that we install some other MSI utilities to enhance our experience with their product. We opted out of these installations and proceeded with benchmarking.