By Zachary Shess
The recent addition of 12x recording speeds to CD-R media and CD-RW drives is expected to generate new choices for end users and OEMs not satisfied with previous transfer rates.
Ricoh and Kodak have announced 12x CD-R media, while Plextor has come out with a 12x CD-RW drive. These products are expected to deliver speed increases, which will benefit a variety of applications. For companies requiring rapid data duplication, for example, 12x speed enables users to write a full 650MB CD in about seven minutes.
"For the commercial side, 12x means faster service and faster, more accurate recording of data," says Rowan Lawson, worldwide product manager for Eastman Kodak's optical storage unit. "One area in particular is delivering higher-speed backups." Lawson also expects specific applications such as document imaging and legal to capitalize on quicker duplication times for presentations.
Ricoh recently introduced its Platinum multi-speed 12x discs, which provide an extra 50MB of storage (700MB total), and faster speed due to base-groove improvements, recording and reflective layer thickness, and a new dye formula. According to Takayuki Kuroshima, product manager at Ricoh, these improvements decrease media jitter and increase power margins and tolerance for recording variations, which means fewer errors.
In addition to addressing speed and error issues, media vendors are improving reliability. For example, Kodak officials say their new Ultima CD-R media uses a gold reflective layer that is projected to last up to 12 times longer than silver-layered discs.
On the drive side, Plextor recently announced its PlexWriter 12/4/32 CD-RW drive. With 12x write, 4x rewrite, and 32x playback speeds, the drive may be useful to end users requiring high-speed CD recording to, for example, archive large files or create multimedia productions. Equipped with an Ultra SCSI interface, the internal PlexWriter 12/4/32 offers 160msec average random access times and 20MBps synchronous burst transfer rates.