Most inventions and innovations are derived from necessity. One such form is the optical combo drive. Back when DVD movies were just introduced, the only way for PC users to enjoy cinematic quality DVD movie titles was to buy a dedicated DVD-ROM drive on top of the CD-RW drive they might already own. This inevitably means you have to include two separate optical drives to achieve a multimedia PC goal and this equals to additional costs. As you would expect, the combo drive evolution is generated by this increasing need to own two drives when its technically possible to combine the two into one unit. The obvious benefits of this merger would be the ability to free up one IDE port for other storage devices and to allow Small-Form Factor PC users to have both CD-writing and DVD playing capabilities, as these casings normally have just a single 5.25-inch drive bay. Additionally, these forms of PCs are catching on with consumers with their slim, small dimensions and whisper quiet operation.
The focus of this review is the X48 combo drive from MSI. The company have been producing optical drives for quite some time now, but its only up till recently do they actually design and manufacture drives by themselves and not using the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) solution. As a derivative of this newfound independence, MSI has come up with a few new features of their own such as the ABS (Anti-Bumping system), SoftBurn, Mini-Form, HyperGuard and SuperLink for their latest generation of optical drives. So far, their current CD drives have been proving many sceptics wrong by flexing their design and engineering prowess - issuing a clear statement that they are no pushovers. Well, over here in our camp, we prefer to view the results before drawing any incredulous conclusions. Want to know how we rate it? Flip the page then!