Holiday Shopping Roundup: Eight Dual Format Recordable DVD Drivesby Kristopher Kubicki on December 11, 2003 10:54 PM EST
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MSI DR4-AMSI took their time entering the DVD recordable market. You may recall that MSI has traditionally been one of the largest producers of optical storage products in the world! (This probably stemmed from their ability to produce drives cheaper than LiteOn without sacrificing too much quality). Like ASUS and Pioneer, the MSI DR4-A shares virtually the same specifications, chipset and bundle as the Sony DRU-510A. MSI already has a newer 8X burner comparable to the Sony DRU-530, which we will look at in a later roundup.
MSI's DR4-A does not seem up to par with their excellent line of motherboards. The media bundle was good — Sonic MyDVD and Ahead Nero's Burning Rom. Unfortunately, the single page of documentation that came with the drive was disappointing, to say the least. It looks as though MSI spent more time on the box art than what they put in the box.
|MSI DR4-A DVD-/+R Drive|
|CD Write Speed||24X, 16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)|
|CD Rewrite Speed||10X, 4X (CLV)|
|CD Read Speed||40X Max (CAV)|
|DVD-R Write Speed||4X, 2X, 1X (CLV)|
|DVD-RW Rewrite Speed||2X, 1X (CLV)|
|DVD+R Write Speed||4X, 2.4X (CLV)|
|DVD+RW Rewrite Speed||2.4X (CLV)|
|DVD Read Speed||12X Max (CAV)|
|Supported Modes||DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
SAO / SAO 16 & 96
|Supported Formats||DVD+R (incremental)
DVD-R (DAO, incremental, multi-border)
DVD-RW (restricted overwrite)
CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, CD-DA,
CD-ROM XA, Mixed Mode, CD Extra
Photo CD, CD Text, Bootable CD, Mount Rainer
|Access Time||CD: 160ms
We enjoyed the fact that MSI/Sony went with an 8MB buffer on their 4X dual capable drives. Even though critics and skeptics argue that larger buffers will not help when it comes to burning a DVD, we feel that the proof is in the pudding. It costs the manufacturer literally a few cents to add a slightly larger buffer, but the benefit of lower errors pays off.
Our MSI burner was based on the LC99390K chipset, and used the same in the Sony DRU-510A. With the announcement of their DR8-A just last week, MSI will begin to phase back on the DR4-A some time after the holiday season. Unfortunately, for those of you who bought a DR4-A, your burner was only new for 4 months before it became obsolete.