MSI XA52P CD-RW+DVD-ROM Serial ATA Combo Drive

Article Index

Test Machine and CD-R Benchmarks


We tested the MSI XA52P SATA CD-RW+DVD-ROM on an i865G based Intel D865GBF motherboard, powered by an Intel Pentium 4 3.0CGHz CPU. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults". Then we set the memory to operate at 400MHz (in dual-channel mode), with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by the SPD. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and removed Windows Messenger from the system altogether. Auto-Updating, System Restore, and Drive Indexing were then disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.

HotHardware Test Rig
Our Testing Toy...

Processor -

Mainboard -
Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive -

Optical Drive -


Intel Pentium 4 3.0CGHz

Intel D865GBF

ATi Radeon 9700Pro

1024MB Kingston HyperX PC4000
Integrated AC-97 Audio
Western Digital "Raptor"
36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA
MSI XA52P 48x24x48x
Plextor 48x24x48x
Plextor Premium 52x32x52x
Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM
Pioneer 16x DVD-ROM


Operating System -

Chipset Drivers -

DirectX -

Video Drivers -



Windows XP Professional SP1 (Fully Patched)

Intel INF v5.0.1006.0

DirectX 9.0b

ATI Catalyst v4.4

CD-ROM Benchmarks
CD'ing what the drive can do

Nero InfoTool:

To start things off, we used Nero's "InfoTool" to pull a detailed description of each drive.  For the CD-R/RW comparison, we have chosen to put MSI's XA52P against Plextor's 52x36x52x and Plextor's 48x24x48x.  Looking over the three pictures below, one can see that these three drives are all relatively similar.  They all sport the same basic features; the only thing separating them is the small variance in drive speed, and of course, the XA52P's ability to read DVD-ROM.

XA52P Plextor 48x Plextor Premium

The pictures above report the maximum read speed of the three drives as 40X.  This is not an error by the software; it is the result of a "safety" feature implemented by both MSI and Plextor.  By default, these drives are limited in speed to aid in the reduction of excessive vibration which could lead to shattering of poor quality CD's.  One can bypass this safety feature by enabling "SpeedRead," or, in MSI terminology, "SpeedUp."  In the case of the XA52P, once a CD is inserted into the CD-ROM, press and hold the eject button until the LED blinks five times and stays illuminated.  This indicates that the drives maximum speed to be adjusted from the 40x default, to the advertised 52x.  Unfortunately, you will need to do this every time a new CD is placed into the drive, as enabling SpeedUp works on a per-session basis.

For the following set of benchmarks, SpeedRead/SpeedUp was enabled on all drives.  A retail copy of Quake 3 was used for the data transfer benchmarks, a 73 min audio CD was used for the audio transfer tests and a special DAE CD was used for the Advanced DAE portion.


Next we ran the synthetic CD/DVD-ROM benchmark from SiSoft SANDRA 2004.  To provide a more real-world performance result we decided to use a retail copy of Quake3.  This CD still utilizes the entire buffer, but it also forces the drive into doing a bit more "work".  This is in contrast to using a CD with a singular large file which the drive steadily scans through.  Each disc was read, benchmarked, and then compared to the other drives in SANDRA's database.

XA52P Plextor 48x Plextor Premium

As the numbers stand, the Plextor Premium came out on top of the bunch in this round with an index of 3026 kB/s (16% faster then the XA52P).  Next in line was the Plextor 48x with a rating of 2826 kB/s (9% faster then the MSI), and lastly, the MSI XA52P with 2572 kB/s.

Nero CD-DVD Speed - Overburning Test:

Nero CD-DVD Speed's, Overburning Test, synthetically burns as much data onto a blank disk and displays the final position where the drive can write in both time and percentage.  Obviously, anything greater then 100% indicates that the drive has surpassed the 700MB capacity of the medium, and thus, preformed an overburn.


XA52P Plextor 48x Plextor Premium

This round showed the XA52P taking the lead with an overburn of 87 minutes and 59 seconds (9% over the 700MB capacity).  Next in line was the Plextor Premium with a burn of 83 min and 53 seconds (4% over), followed up by the Plextor 48x with an overburn of 83 minutes and 31 seconds (4% over as well).  Though both of the Plextor units where very close (only a 22 second separation), the MSI clearly took the lead here.

Nero CD-DVD Speed - Advanced DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) Test:

The Advanced DAE test, from Nero CD-DVD Speed, determines the quality in which drives can extract audio tracks from a CD to the computer's hard drive using a digital stream.  Once completed, Nero displays the amount of errors, the average speed, and an overall quality of the extraction.  Using these numbers in conjunction with the other results, one can determine if a particular drive is ultimately a good choice for ripping audio.


XA52P Plextor 48x Plextor Premium

The Plextor Premium achieved the best results with no errors and a successful completion of every test.  Next was the XA52P with a DAE quality of 100%, but an unsuccessfully reading of the Leadout of the CD.  Lastly was the Plextor 48x because we had to physically stop the test due to repetitive revving of the DAE Test CD while trying to read the Leadout.  Technically the Leadout is comprised of nothing more then 90 seconds of blank data, but because we had to end the test manually the 48x failed.

Tags:  MSI, DVD-R, DVD, CD, drive, MS, A5, rom, CD-R, Ive, COM

Related content