Besides the write speeds, there is another difference between the DR8-A and the older DR4-A and that’s the size of the buffer. The DR4-A sports an 8MB buffer while the newer DR8-A only has a 2MB buffer. Now there was a time when the size of a data buffer was a major issue, but if a drive has buffer under run protection, as pretty much every unit does these days, the need for a large buffer is questionable. I therefore assume that the reduction in buffer size was a decision by MSI to reduce cost without affecting performance, and it was a pretty smart decision at that.
It’s definitely the price that makes this drive from MSI so attractive, especially when you consider that the only unit that’s really comparable to it is the Plextor PX-708A. The Plextor has dropped in price considerably since I first reviewed it and can now be found online for as little as £162.23, but it’s still far more expensive than the DR8-A.
I found the DR8-A for sale at www.overclockers.co.uk for an incredible £100.17, and if you rush out and buy it quickly, there’s a limited time special offer with a price of only £95.76. Even without the special offer (which is only valid for a few days), the price of the DR8-A is almost unbelievable, making it the DVD writer bargain of the moment.
The DR8-A is a very fast drive that will keep even the most impatient disc burner happy. The retail pack is pretty solid and you get everything you need bar an IDE cable. But it’s the price that makes this drive almost irresistible. At over £60 less than the Plextor PX-708A, the MSI DR8-A is a performance bargain.