The unit ships with only a few bundled features, unlike the ASUS units, which tend to ship with lots of extra recordable media and reading material. Notice that the drive is about an inch shallower than most CDR drives. MSI calls this feature MiniForm, a user-friendly feature for easier installation. While that might be true, more importantly, when producing thousands of units, every little bit helps. Most likely, MSI saves an incredible amount of money just by making the drive a little bit smaller. Several of Lite-On’s newer drives are also manufactured red in similar fashion.

Click to enlarge.

Our drive came with Nero 5.5, an audio cable, screws, the drive itself and installation manuals for Nero and the drive. The majority of the written documentation is actually for Nero rather than the drive installation. MSI includes a fair amount of installation documentation too, but it could be better. What upset us the most was the lack of documentation on the web. In fact, the MSI PDF manual for the CR52-M crashed our newest version of Adobe Acrobat (the error explained something about not having Korean Text support).

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The front of the CR52-M resembles basically any other MSI drive. It has two oversized LED buttons, along with headphone jack and volume control. Unlike 24X CDRW drives, the CR52-M sports a new logo. Some of you might remember that 24X CDRW drives tend to say “High Speed” written along the side. OptoRite, Lite-On/ASUS and MSI’s newest 36X CDRW drives replace this with the words “Ultra Speed”. Perhaps when manufacturers obtain 42X rewrite on a CDRW, they will change it to “Ludicrous Speed” or “Ridiculous Speed”?

Below is a quick overview of specifications on the drive:

 MSI CR52-M 52X/36X/52X CDRW Drive
Interface IDE
Write Speed 52X, 48X,
40X, 32X, 24X (P-CAV)
16X, 12X, 8X, 4X (CLV)
Rewrite Speed 32X, 24X (P-CAV)
16X, 12X, 10X, 8X, 4X, 2X (CLV)
Read Speed 52X Max (7800KB/s) (CAV)
Supported Modes DAO / DAO-RAW 16 & 96
SAO / SAO 16 & 96
Packet Write
Mount Rainier
Supported Formats CD-R
Mixed Mode
CD Extra
Photo CD
Bootable CD
Access Time 90ms
Buffer 2MB
Media 99min (870MB), 90min (800MB),
80min (700MB), and lower

Technically, the drive is virtually identical to the Lite-On LTR-52327S. The OptoRite CW5201 is also very similar, but the MSI drive is slightly more capable with burning more modes like Mount Rainer. All three drives support 99min CDRs, but the Lite-On LTR-52327S is the only drive capable of variable packet writing. Variable packet writing is a feature most people probably do not need, but if it is something you do need, you will not find it on the MSI CR52-M.

Our original drive came with firmware version 1.52, which we promptly updated to 1.80. Unfortunately, MSI’s BIOS update utilities are fairly dated and really leave something to be desired.

Click to enlarge.

Index Error Correction


View All Comments

  • Ian@CDRlabs - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link


    Why would it be ununsual that I contact you?

    I'm not talking about the start/stop times in the read tests. I'm talking about the writing tests.

    Nevermind.. I see you have a few Nero screenshots showing the writing times. I didn't see those before.

  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, September 14, 2003 - link

    #9: The "dummy" CDs are the ones created in CD Speed.


    while I do commend your criticism, I find it slightly unusual you did email me. In all honesty, I never recorded the start/stop times of the CD Speed tests. I did record the start/stop burning speeds if you would like me to just post those.


  • Ian@CDRlabs - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Please add writing times to your writing tests. The average writing speed is not an accurate indicator of how fast a drive is. It can take longer to write leadin/leadout or run media tests. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    Edit for previous post: I meant Nero CD/DVD Speed's test disc. Sorry. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    I think that a test should be done using Nero Infotool's test disc so that people can compare results with their own drives. Or is the "dummy file" test made with it?

    Just a comment: These drives are slightly underrated. I have a Lite-On 52327S and it reads and writes at 53.55x at 82min. I'm sure this would rise slightly with a 99min CDR.
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 13, 2003 - link

    the shorter form factor is a good thing in my opinion, as i have had a couple cases that couldn't have standard length cd-rws mounted in the bottom 5.25" bay as the back of the drive would hit a capacitator on the mobo Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, September 12, 2003 - link

    Two articles a day? Sounds GREAT to me =)

    I've even had a hard time finding 24X CDRW media... I guess I'm looking in the wrong places because I'm not willing to pay oodles of money for CDRW's when I have a few spindles of CDR media, totaling about 175 CDR's that I didn't pay over $10 for.

    With CDR media being SO cheap... is CDRW media really even necessary? Packet writing isn't that great cause you need the packet writing software to read and write to them... and why bother erasing an old scratched CDRW disk when you can pull out a brand new CDR disk that only costs you pennies?
  • Zepper - Thursday, September 11, 2003 - link

    It seems like eveyone is selling Lite Ons these days. And since when is MSI a big wheel in optical? As far as I can tell they have done nothing but sell rebadged LiteOns with slight apperance mods - just like Sony, TDK etc.etc. Does anybody else besides LiteOn and Sanyo/Plextor actually manufacture their own designs any more?
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - link

    Our good friends Mitsubishi Chemical make 32X. Pretty much the best you can buy but in all honesty, not worth an upgrade from an existing drive. If you were looking into buying a new system, then I would consider the CD52-M.

    Aga I have a neat optical drive I will post in the next day or two. Our schedule for the next 3 weeks is full =) We might have to start posting 2 articles a day.

  • AgaBooga - Tuesday, September 9, 2003 - link

    I think Anand is getting the Athlon 64 reviews ready. His coloumn in this month's CPU magazine mentioned September 23rd at the end of the article. Other than that, I haven't heard anything from him either.

    One question though, is there 32X CDRW media available readily? Last I checked, 12x and 16x is used most widely for CDRW use because the 24x and higher cost more to the end consumer.

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