Sony, Plextor continue CD-RW push

Posted on November 01, 1999

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Sony, Plextor continue CD-RW push

Zachary Shess

Optical drive vendors continue to take advantage of rewritable CD`s (CD-RW) popularity by introducing drives boasting performance improvements and additional interface capability. Demand for CD-RW and recordable CD (CD-R) is expected to grow from more than 6 million drives in 1998 to 15 million drives this year, according to forecasts from Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose, CA.

Sony and Plextor last month introduced CD-RW drives highlighted by 8x write speed increases and the addition of EIDE interfaces. Sony expanded its Spressa CD-RW drive series with four new models configured with four different interfaces. While gearing some new features to consumers, Sony officials say the new drives will help corporate users archive files quicker through improved reading and recording speeds.

The Spressa Professional internal 8x/4x/32x CD-RW drives, both in SCSI and EIDE versions, are now shipping. Models CRX140S/C (SCSI) and CRX140E/CH (EIDE) are bundled with CD Complete Pro software for Windows 95/98, 2000, and NT 4.0. The Spressa Professional SCSI CD-RW also contains a 4MB buffer and is priced at $399. The EIDE version, priced at $349, has a 2MB buffer.

Sony addressed compatibility with the more consumer-oriented USB and 1394 interfaces by announcing the Spressa USB Plus and Spressa i.LINK CD-RW drives. Like the SCSI and EIDE versions, the 4x/4x/6x USB Plus and the 8x/4x/32x i.LINK models are bundled with CD management, creation, and audio extraction software. USB and 1394 versions also support MacOS. Spressa USB Plus, with a 2MB buffer, is priced at $329. Equipped with a 4MB buffer, Spressa iLink is priced at $499.

Plextor officials say the introduction of the PlexWriter 8x/4x/32x answers market demands for EIDE-compatible CD-RW drives. Approximately 35 million of the 40 million CD-RW drives forecasted to ship in 2002 will be equipped with EIDE interfaces, according to International Data Corp., a market research firm in Framingham, MA.

PlexWriter 8x/4x/32x ships bundled with a CD management and mastering software suite, which includes Plextor`s "pinpoint access" CD-audio retrieval method and jitter-free audio capture for enhanced CD recording quality. The internal drive offers transfer rates of 16.7MBps, and an average random access time of 170msec.

By offering a variety of speeds, Plex-Writer operates as a 3-in-1 type of drive. It records CD-R discs at 8x, 4x, 2x, and 1x speeds and plays back both CD-R and CD-ROM discs from 14x to 32x speeds. CD-RW media can be recorded at 4x and 2x and read back at 8x.

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