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MSI X48-A 48x24x48x + 16x DVD MSI X48-A 48x24x48x + 16x DVD: Tired of running both a CDRW and DVD drive? We take a look at MSI's combo solution, and put it to the test.
Date: January 5, 2004
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MSI is placed pretty well in the computer industry, and what gives MSI their reputation is the quality and the variety of their products, from motherboards to graphic cards, optical drives, and small form factor PCs.

What we can say about a burner these days? Well they are pretty much all the same. The only thing that changes is the burn speed, and even now, this hasn't gone up past 52x. Most drives have some form of buffer-underrun protection, but other than that, most drives are similar.

Today I will be reviewing the MSI X48-A 48x24x48x+16x DVD Combo drive. What this product targets is people who use both a CD burner and dedicated DVD drive. This piece of hardware interested me personally because I have a lack of space due to the radiator of my water-cooling kit that takes up 3 of my drive bays, leaving me with just one left. I needed something that would allow me to burn CDs and watch DVDs. The problem with DVD burners is that the CD burning speeds tend to be quite slow, and since I still burn more CDs than DVDs, speed is important. The 16x DVD portion is good in that 16x is pretty much the standard for DVD-ROMs.

Specifications
Features changeable multi-face panel with easy on and off installation.

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.

 Specifications 

48x CD-R Writing / 24x CD-RW Rewriting/ 48x CD-ROM Reading /
   16x DVD-ROM reading
SuperLink" prevents buffer underrun and minimizes recording
   failures
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 and 48x
Supported CD-RW write speed at 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x, 12x, 16x, 20x
   and 24x
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 41.4(H) x 170.8(D)mm w/o bezel

 Mass Weight 0.94kg

 Operating Conditions Temperature: 5 ~ 45C
Temperature Gradient: 10C/hr
Relative Humidity: 8 ~ 80%
Absolute Humidity: 30g/m3 @ wet bulb temp
Altitude: 0 ~ 10,000ft
No Condensation

 X48 Retail Package 

Item
Quantity
X48 Writer
1
ActivePanel: Blue x1, Black x1
2
Multilanguage Quick Installation Guide
1
Ahead Nero Burning ROM Software CD
1
CyberLink PowerDVD 5.0 Software CD
1
Multilanguage Nero 5 Brief Instructions
1
Audio Cable
1
Screws
4

 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.

The MSI X48-A 48x24x48x+16x DVD COMBO Writer

I know of one other company that makes combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives but this one caught my attention because what is better than a combo drive? Hmm... how about a combo drive that look damn nice! Alright, it doesn't look like much now, but we'll get into that a little later. The drive itself measures 170.8mm long without the bezel. This is fairly short, and will increase the physical compatibility of SFF PCs that are so popular these days.

As it stands, the bundle consists of 2 face plates, made up of 2 parts each (which means you can make up to four combinations), one audio cable, 4 screws, 3 manuals (one on the specs of the burner, one for Nero and one for the DVD), Nero CD burning software, and PowerDVD software. The bundle that came with the drive is decent, but the addition of a few more items would have been very nice, such as an IDE cable and at least 1 CD-R and 1 CD-RW.

As with most burners or DVDs, you have a pin hole to manually eject a disc if the eject button doesn't work. This is still standard function but really nice to have in the event of an emergency. You'll also notice some pin holes on the tray bezel, and on the front of the chassis. These are present so that you can attach the face plates included to customize the drive's appearance.

On the back, you have your IDE connection, your audio cable connection (cable is included), jumper settings, and the power connection. Note that an IDE cable is not included. This has been the case with all MSI CD burners. I'm sure most of you have extra IDE cables, and while we're not sure why MSI skipped on it, we feel it would have been good of MSI to have included one in the package.

Above is another shot of the customizable face plate. Notice the pins on both parts. These snap right into the aforementioned pin holes on the CD drive.

On this device, there is only one button for stopping and ejecting the disk. There is no skip button, so if you planned to change your songs through your front panel, you're out of luck here.

As with their recent drives, the inside tray is colored black. The theory behind it is a black tray absorbs reflected light better than a standard beige or white tray. This increases reliability of the burn process. The bezel of the tray is also reinforced. Should you spin low quality (or cracked) media at high speeds, there is the possibility the disc could literally explode, and the reinforcements should provide some safety.

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