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Appeared on: Tuesday, December 03, 2002

1. Introduction

MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 1

- Introduction

As we have mentioned before, a CD-ROM drive is possibly not the best selling optical storage product, since the technology nowadays offers the essential reading feature in more complicated CD or DVD recorders or combo drives. However, there is a common though that the more complicated a device is the less accurate may be turned out, in specific areas, such as in the writing or reading accuracy. Can it be proven through testing? The MSI developed a new 52X CD-ROM drive, in order to fulfil our daily needs for accurate and fast reading for the CD format. Let's see the drive's performance.

- Drive features

The MSI MS-8152 is a 52X ATAPI CD-ROM drive. The current firmware revision installed is v1.12 and the supported cache buffer is 128 KB. Nero Info Tool reports that the drive doesn't support CD-Text, CD+G and C2 error report info.

- The package

The retail kit contains the drive itself, a quick installation guide, an IDE cable and mounting screws. MSI offers a one-year warranty for the 52X CD-ROM. The retail price of the drive is ~50 Euro, including tax.

The front panel of the drive includes the "MSI" and the "52X max" logos. The eject/stop and the fast/forward buttons are placed below the tray on the right side of the front panel, as usually. The operation LED indicates the drive status and is active while reading. Last, the available headphone jack and the volume control knob let you use the drive as a personal audio playback device.

On the rear panel there are the usual connectors, such as the DC input, the ATAPI interface, the device configuration jumper, and the analog/digital audio outputs.

After removing the screws on the bottom we can see the drive's internal design (click for high-res). We couldn't see the used chipsets since they are protected below a metal case, to protect them from impacts.

- Installation

The drive was identified as "ATAPI CD-ROM 52xMAX" under WinXP. The drive was installed to the secondary IDE channel of our test PC as a "Master" working in Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode. The model came with firmware version v1.12 installed. For all the tests we used the latest versions of CloneCD, CDDAE, CDSpeed and EAC. We compare the performance with other 52X readers from TEAC, CyberDrive and Samsung.

2. Data Reading Tests

MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 2

Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

The drive started reading at 22.95X and finished at 52.01X giving a 39.44X average reading speed. The CyberDrive 52X CD-ROM was faster with a 40.06X.

The seek times of the MSI drive were higher than the results of the other drives. The Random seek times reached 229ms, while the full stroke only 145ms.

- CDR Media results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

With CD-R media, the drive lowered its reading speed at the end of the disc giving the lowest average reading speed. The CyberDrive 52X is still the faster drive with an impressive 40.9X.

With CD-R media, the MSI drive had the lowest seek times, with a 79ms in the random test.

- HS-RW media (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

The MSI MS-8152 was the faster reader with a 39.71X average reading speed. The TEAC CD-552E had problems reading the HS-RW media; while the CyberDrive/Samsung drives had a lower 18.5X average reading speed.

3. CD Error Correction Tests
MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examine the error correction capabilities of the MSI MS-8152.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Test Results (Max Reading)

Errors total
Num: 466139
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 16452
Avg: -64.7 dB(A)
Max: -7.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 504
Avg: 7.8 Samples
Max: 569 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
77.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The errors within the black triangle defect reached -7.7dB in specific areas and gave an average of -64.7dB(A). The five scratches also produced errors of the same approximately level. The score is 77.8 out of 100 (max), which is considered as average for a CD-ROM drive.


- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 1641090
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 71562
Avg: -69.9 dB(A)
Max:-8.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 4980
Avg: 1.9 Samples
Max: 563 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
75.4 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The score with the TCD-721R test disc was 75.4. The drive didn't skip any sample, and but gave many muted samples, while it kept the average error rate at -69.9 dB(A).

- ABEX TCD-726

- Test Results (Max Speed)

Errors total
Num: 29223162
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 146544
Avg:-28.7 dB(A)
Max:-6.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 150231
Avg: 45.7 Samples
Max: 3584 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 10
Avg: 792.7 Samples
Max: 2939 Samples
Total Test Result
51.1 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The drive didn't perform very well with the TCD-726 test disc. The problem is that the defects and fingerprints caused many errors and muting samples. As it seems the drive cannot handle well defects and fingerprints. The total score for the test is 51.1 points out of 100 (max).

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

The MSI MS-8152 gets an average score of 68.10 out of 100 in the reading error correction tests.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Tests Results (Max Speed)

The drive gave a 99.81% C2 accuracy with the ABEX TCD-721R test disc and an 81.9 quality score. The EAC C2 % accuracy results are not different with the EAC CD-R and the ABEX TCD-726 test discs.

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Score (%)
Average Score

4. CloneCD Reading Tests

MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 4

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drive. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD. The MSI MS-8152 is the slowest drive and needed 335secs to finish the task. The TEAC CD-552E has the best performance with 87secs.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The MSI drive is very slow with SafeDisc 2 discs. It needs 2hours and 7mins to finish the reading...

- LaserLock v.2 Results

With the LaserLock v.2 protected disc, the drive again was slow but faster than the other drives of the test.

- SecuROM Results

All the drives can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. The MSI MS-8152 was the faster drive among the competition.

5. DAE Tests

MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 5

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 reports that MSI drive does not support caching of data, but supports "Accurate Stream" and retrieves "C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the DAE speed of the drive. The MSI MS-8152 has the best average ripping speed of 28X. The TEAC CD-552E comes second with 22.3X while the CyberDrive 52X takes the third with 15.1X. The Samsung drive takes the last position with a 6.9X speed!

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping speed is the same. The drive is still the fastest in the test, since the rest of the drives were even slower than in the previous test with the pressed disc.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that for each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
MSI MS-8152

- Advanced DAE Quality

The MSI MS-8152 got a 100 score in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for the drive is 28.86X. Nero CD Speed reports that the drive cannot read data from SubChannel (false), and doesn't support reading of CD-Text.

- Bad CDR Media results

We used CD DAE software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) to the hard disk. Unfortunately, the drive did not recognize the test disc.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

The drive recognizes the contents of a 90 min disc but stops reading above 88mins. The 99 minutes CDs weren't recognized.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

MSI MS-8152
Cannot recognize disc contents

The drive cannot handle either the "Key2Audio" or "Cactus Data Shield 200" protected discs. The disc contents were not recognized and ripping was impossible.

6. Conclusion

MSI MS-8152 IDE CD-ROM - Page 6


Positive (+)
Negative (-)
- Good seek times with CD-R media
- High DAE ripping speed
- C2 error information is present with high accuracy except when the disc contains defects and fingerprints
- Can read SubChannel data
- Low noise
- High seek times with pressed media
- Average CD Error correction capabilities
- Cannot handle any protected audio discs
- Cannot read CD-Text information
- Doesn't support reading above 88mins
- Very slow reader with protected discs

In a time when most users are looking for a DVD-ROM drive, the MSI MS-8152 offers several interesting features with a new CD-ROM drive. The drive's main positive points are the high DAE ripping speed, the good seek times with CD-R media, the lower operation noise than other 52X readers and the presence of C2 error information with high accuracy. Of course as with every drive, there are also weak points.

The drive cannot read CD-Text (!), cannot handle any Audio protected disc, doesn't support reading above 88mins, it cannot recognize 99written media and it's very slow when reading protected discs with errors. Its CD Error correction capabilities are also average, and when the disc contains fingerprints/defects the drive will produce many errors.

Concluding, we can say that the MSI MS-8152 could be a solution for users who would use it as a reader for on-the-fly backups of Audio discs, due to its high DAE and the presence of C2 error information.

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