MSI DR8-A2 Dual format DVD Burner



Review: MSI DR8-A2 DVD+/-R/RW
Reviewer: OC-Freak
Provided by: MSI Europe
Firmware: 150D
Manufactured: April 2004

MSI was kind enough to send us their DR8-A2 DVD-Writer for a closer look. MSI is a large and known manufacturer of other computer products such as Mainboard and Video cards, so it will be interesting to see how their optical drives perform.

Company information:

We are sure that most of you know MSI already as a large provider of maninboards, video card and other products. Let us take a look at how they present themselves at their webpage. 


Founded in August 1986, MSI™ has continued to uphold a business philosophy that stresses "Award-winning product quality and outstanding customer service." MSI™ specializes in the design and manufacture of mainboards, add-on cards, servers/workstations, barebones, optical storage devices, communication devices and IA accessories. Surmounting a challenging industry environment, we’ve raced to the head of the pack and are now ranked within ‘s Top Three and the world’s Top Five mainboard manufactures. Besides, our VGA production has been standing on the NO.1 position in the world for more than two years.



"Quality Products Create Faithful Customers" is a motto that guides all that we do at MSI™.

For this reason, MSI™ goes all out to be the best of the best in research and development. Currently, 893 experienced engineers staff our research and development department. This talented team carries out its work with the latest research equipment, continuing to raise the bar on product quality and innovative product features.

At MSI™, we put our motto — "Quality Products Create Faithful Customers"–into living practice. In 1995 and 1996, we received ISO-9002 and ISO-9001 product quality certification, respectively. In 1999, MSI™ received ISO-14001 environmental certification, affirming our commitment to the environment. Furthermore, MSI™ products undergo rigorous quality control testing, attaining a 99.6% quality rate, a level far higher than the industry standard.

MSI™’s superior product quality has garnered exceedingly favorable coverage from the global media, countless awards, and a very enthusiastic customer response.

Scale and Service

In recent years, MSI™ has aggressively expanded into Mainland to meet the needs of our global customers.

In the first quarter of 2001, the Baoan Plant in Shenzhen started production, vastly increasing MSI™’s production output as well as revenue. Aside from the Baoan Plant in Shenzhen, MSI™ has also established production facilities and a research and development center in Kunshan, in 2003. The mainboard annual production is expected to reach 19 million units and the annual VGA production is expected to reach 9 million units. Combined with the production from , MSI™ is now becoming one of the biggest mainboard and add-on card manufacturer in the world.


To keep abreast of the global market and offer our customers the best service, speediest product delivery, as well as sales and technical support, MSI™ has established subsidiaries in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S.A., Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands, the U.K., Japan, and Latin America.

With an eye on mainland ‘s swiftly growing market, MSI™ has set up Kunshan Microteck Computer in Kunshan, which is responsible for global RMA service. MSI™ is thus able to keep its pulse on the global market, providing swift, responsive service to our distributors and customers.

MSI™ has set up a customer service department, a hotline, as well as a 22-language company website to provide top-notch after-purchase service. At each of its subsidiaries, MSI™ has established a service and repair network to provide its customers with 24-hour, round-the-clock service.

Moreover, MSI™ maintains a vigorous presence at global conventions. We are thus able to better understand the local needs of each market. In addition, MSI™ actively supports distributor-sponsored promotional activities to raise MSI™’s global profile.

We support our global distributors through dedicated online networks that provide the speediest, most up-to-date information available.

In 2001 and 2002, MSI™ held its global distributor conference to much enthusiastic acclaim. This event further strengthened the already close relationship between MSI™ and its cooperating vendors.

MSI™’s staying power and continued growth stem from our leading-edge technology, reputation for quality, and effective global sales, seamlessly matched with an expansive distributor network and comprehensive customer service.


Our Future Outlook

To broaden our global market and to build a good image, we keep striving on marketing promotions, for example, posting advertisement on some reputed media, releasing news information, improving product box design, holding many promotion activities and attending all important PC exhibitions in the world.

MSI™ pledges to further its competitive advantage in the post-PC era. In fact, we’ve set our sights on becoming one of the top three mainboard manufacturers in the world.

Apart from developing the mainboard, graphics card, server/workstation, optical storage device and barebone, MSI™ has also introduced the IA and communication products, including WebPad, Soho-Router, Mega Stick, Tablet PC and other new products to bridge the transition to the post-PC world. MSI™ adopts a diversified business model, and is transforming itself into a leader in the Information Appliance age.

Together, we are entering a greatly-accelerated world. Let MSI™ be the first to welcome you into this exciting new Digital Universe!

As we could see they have a large network all over the world as well as some impressive production facilities. You may read more about their company at

Drive specifications:

These are the specifications of this drive, found at their webpage:


DVD±R / ±RW Writer

DVD+R / DVD+RW: 8x4x
DVD-R / DVD-RW / DVD-ROM: 8x4x12x
CD-R / CD-RW / CD-ROM: 40x24x40x

8x DVD+R and 8x DVD-R High-Speed Writing

Backup your important data with either DVD+R or DVD-R high-speed disc.

ABS (Anti-Bumping System) Tech.

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

HD-BURN (High Density Burn)

The writing technology can record twice the capacity of specified CD-R discs.

Live Update 3

On-line upgrade BIOS, Driver and utility for your MSI products. Now supporting MSI Motherboard, VGA, OSD, MEGA PC and so on.


‘? 8x DVD+R writing / 4x DVD+RW rewriting
‘? 8x DVD-R writing / 4x DVD-RW rewriting / 12x DVD-ROM reading
‘? 40x CD-R writing / 24x CD-RW rewriting / 40x CD-ROM reading
‘? BURN-Proof™ prevents buffer underrun and minimizes recording failures
‘? 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 DVD+R write speed at 2.4x, 4x and 8x
‘? Supported DVD+RW write speed at 2.4x and 4x
‘? Supported DVD-R write speed at 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x
‘? Supported DVD-RW write speed at 1x, 2x and 4x
‘? Supported CD-R write speed at 4x, 8x, 16x, 24x, 32x and 40x
‘? Supported CD-RW write speed at 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x and 24x
‘? Supported HD-BURN CD-R write speed at 6x, 12x, 18x and 24x

Front Panel

Headphone Jack, Volume Knob, Emergency Eject Hole, LED Indicator (Writing: Red, Reading: Green), Play Button and Eject Button

Rear Panel

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


146(W) x 41.7(H) x 183.3(D)mm w/o bezel

Mass Weight

< 1kg (Accessories not Included)

Operating Conditions

Temperature: 5 ~ 45°C
Temperature Gradient: 10°C/hr
Relative Humidity: 20 ~ 80%
Vibration: 0.1Grms acceleration (10~500Hz)
Shock: 2.0G (11ms, Half Sine Wave Write)
Shock: 5.0G (11ms, Half Sine Wave Read)
No Condensation

Retail Package



DR8-A2 Writer


Multilanguage Quick Installation Guide


Ahead Nero Burning ROM + CyberLink PowerDVD Software CD


Sonic MyDVD + ShowBiz Software CD


Audio Cable




Minimun System Requirements

‘? IBM® PC compatible Pentium® 1GHz or faster.
‘? 128MB system memory.
‘? 5GB free hard disc space for image recording, and 700MB for installing recording software.
‘? Windows® XP/2000/Me/98SE system.


‘? Do not use poor quality, deeply scratched or cracking discs that may break.
‘? Do not move or shake drive while operating.
‘? Do not write on a disc over its maximum allowed speed.
‘? Warning: This is a RPC-II DVD-ROM drive, the number of times you may change regional code setting is limited to 4.

The specifications seem very good and it also offers some unique features like HD-BURN. There is only one thing we would like to put our finger at and that is the buffer size of only 2Mb. A larger buffer would be nice to survive minor data flow problems.

But let us continue this review and see how it really performs. First we will take a look at what we got.

What’s inside the box?

Let us start out pretty easy with taking a look at what we got and what the box contained.


The drive we received was a retail drive that came in a nice looking box, but a nice box is not worth much ‘? so let us look at the content.


The bundle seems quite average; to make sure that we do not miss anything we list what we got below:

⋅         The drive itself
⋅         Nero express 6 and InCD 4 software installation CD
⋅         Sonic MyDVD installation CD
⋅         Quick installation guide
⋅         Screws
⋅         Audio cable

The software bundle seems good, but a thicker manual as well as some empty media would be nice.

Now it’s time to take a look at the drive itself:


The MSI DR8-A2 is one of the few drives that still has the Play/Skip button, beside this the front is nice designed and has a slight curve near the lower edge. We have for sure seen other more boring front bezels than this one.


Our sample was produced in and has a production date of April 2004.


On the back of the drive there are from the left: some undocumented pins probably used for calibrating the drive at the factory, digital audio connector; analogue audio connector; pins and jumper to set the drive to cable select, slave or master; IDE connector, power connector.

Now, let us install the drive and check out the features and program bundle of this drive on the next page…