MSI has made some pretty good DVD writers in the past, so we were quite surprised when we fired up the DR16-B and it turned in DVD+R times slower than a 4x drive. After burning two discs we reached two conclusions â€“ that there was something wrong with this drive, and that weâ€™d just wasted two very hard to come by 16x blank discs.
After much communication with MSI we were supplied with a new firmware for the drive. After flashing the new firmware, the DR16-B started to behave the way itâ€™s meant to and turned in some pretty good times.
Base specifications are pretty good, with the MSI able to write to both DVD+R and DVD-R at 16x. DVD+RW and DVD-RW are burned at the standard 4x, while Dual Layer media is written at 2.4x, so make sure you have something to occupy your time while youâ€™re writing 8GB of data. CD specs are a little below par with only 40x CD-R performance, although the 24x CD-RW rating matches the rest of the drives.
Although the 16x DVD+R times were nothing special compared to the competition, the MSI was able to write to 8x DVD-R discs at 12x and as a result topped all the graphs with only the NEC coming close. Of course when 16x DVD-R rated media becomes available, these times should get even better. Unfortunately the MSI couldnâ€™t carry the solid performance over to the DVD+RW tests where it came last in every graph. Things werenâ€™t much better with the DVD-RW tests either, where the DR16-B stuck near the bottom of the table on all the tests.
The bottom table placing continued with the Dual Layer tests and the CD-R tests, but the MSI did manage to pick up its game for the CD-RW burns, where it grabbed second place in both tests.
The drive itself is pretty nondescript, with a single eject button, an indicator light and a manual eject hole. In the box youâ€™ll find an audio cable, some fixing screws, the Nero software suite, WinDVD and WinDVD Creator. Conspicuous by its absence is an IDE cable, so you better hope that you have a spare when you come to fit the drive.
With the exception of the DVD-R tests, the MSI puts in a disappointing performance. The price of Â£49.70 is pretty reasonable, but youâ€™ll have to factor in the cost of an IDE cable if you donâ€™t have one. In isolation the DR16-B might look like a decent DVD writer, but when compared to its peers itâ€™s clear that the extra Â£7 for the NEC would be money well spent.
Besides the NEC, the MSI is the only drive on test that supports 16x writing to DVD-R media. The advantage of this is borne out by the superb times recorded using these discs. Unfortunately, the MSI fails to impress in the rest of the tests, making it a poor choice if you want to use multiple media types.