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         MSI CR52 Active Panel 52x32x52x CD-RW

Product :

 CD-RW Drive

Manufacturer :


Reviewed by :

Wayne Brooker

Price :

£59.95 + Vat @ Scan

Date :

November 21st , 2003.


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I've spent many a long evening sat here at my desk wondering how PC peripheral makers manage to make a profit in a market that simply doesn't stay still long enough for anyone to take a breath. We all know how frantic the graphics card market has become, but even markets we've historically tended to think of as quite uneventful are suddenly evolving and changing at an almost frightening rate. Take optical storage for example. Apart from a relatively lean period where drives seemed to have stalled at 1x and 2x we then hit a spell where it seemed faster drives were being introduced every couple of weeks. I doubt that those early days earned the manufacturers any great profits either primarily due to the palpitation inducing price tags. If you've read my article on the "Fall and Fall of PC Prices" you'll recognize the picture below scanned from a magazine that was dated 1996.

No, you're not seeing things, that's £779 (+VAT) for a 2x writer and a mere £5.50 each for the blanks. Plus of course there was no buffer underrun protection back in those days which meant that sometimes as many as one disk in three ended up in the bin, a truly gut-wrenching prospect at £5.50 a pop.

Nowadays things are very different and we do tend to forget how good we've got it (I'm starting to sound like my grandfather here), but it's true. Blanks can be bought for 20-30p each and just about all the drives are under the £100 and this doesn't leave a lot of room for price maneuvering when a manufacturer wants to get their product noticed. Adding to the woes is that fact that we've more or less hit the physical limits for disk rotational speeds. I doubt we're going to see anything beyond 52x now, not because it can't be done, but because the risk of CD's failing under such high centrifugal forces makes it too much of a gamble.

So, if manufacturers can't go cheaper and they can't go faster then how do they win your business? Features, that's how!

The drive I have on test today is one we've already looked at, or at least the technology behind it is. MSI's CR52 proved to be an excellent optical drive with a ridiculous array of features for its asking price. The main differences between this particular drive and the one we tested back in March is that MSI have now added Mount Rainier support and they've also (as we then predicted) increased the rewrite speeds to 32x. These are both important developments that will make it even harder to find fault with what was already an excellent product, yet surprisingly neither of these advances are what makes the new CR52 so unique.

Let's do the specs:

 Product Features 

ABS Technology absorbs shock and reduces vibrations, making reading and writing of discs more accurate.

With SoftBurn mechanism the writer generates less noise when it operates, which helps to build a silence PC.

The short body shape enables convenient installation. This also reserves more space inside a PC, helping to decrease heat levels.

This safety protection structure can avoid disc break-out when running with a poor quality disc at high speed.

The convenient way to update drive firmware through Internet under Windows® environment. The firmware update helps increase the disc compatibility and performance of the drive.



  • 52x CD-R writing / 32x CD-RW rewriting / 52x CD-ROM reading
  • SuperLink™ prevents buffer underrun and minimizes recording
  • Supported Mount Rainier technology
  • Supported over-burn feature
  • Supported 99 (870MB) or 90min (800MB) CD-R disc
  • Supported 8cm or 12cm disc diameter
  • 2MB internal buffer
  • Enhanced IDE/ATAPI interface
  • PIO Mode 4, DMA Mode 2 and UDMA Mode 2
  • Horizontal and vertical operation
  • Supported optimum power control
  • Supported CD-R write speed at 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x, 24x, 32x,
       40x, 48x and 52x
  • Supported CD-RW write speed at 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x, 12x, 16x, 20x
       24x and 32x
  • CD-UDF compatible
  • Writing Modes: Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once,
       Multisession, Packet Writing, RAW Mode

 Front Panel ActivePanel, Emergency Eject Hole and Eject Button

 Rear Panel Digital Audio Connector, Analog Audio Connector, Configuration Jumper, IDE Interface Connector, +5 and +12 DC Volt Input Power Connector and Self-Test Jumper

 Dimensions 145.8(W) x 41.8(H) x 170.8(D)mm w/o bezel

 Mass Weight 0.9kg

 Operating Conditions Temperature: 5 ~ 45C
Temperature Gradient: 10C/hr
Relative Humidity: 8 ~ 80%
Absolute Humidity: 30g/m
³ @ wet bulb temp
Altitude: 0 ~ 10,000ft
No Condensation

 CR52 Retail Package 

Content Items
CR52 Writer
Multilanguage Quick Installation Guide
Ahead Nero Burning ROM Software CD
Multilanguage Nero 5 Brief Instructions
Audio Cable

 Minimum System Requirements 

IBM® PC compatible Pentium® 400MHz or faster.
64MB system memory.
1GB free hard disc space for image recording, and 700MB for
   installing recording software.
Windows® XP/2000/Me/98SE system.



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