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CD-RW Gets Up and Running

by Stephen Clark Jr.

July 31, 2020 | Whoever said slow and steady wins the race? While the speed of CD-R recording leapt to 12X, it looked as if CD-RW, whose speed had reached a plateau at 4X, was being left behind in the digital dust. The release of the Orange Book Part III, Volume 2, v.1.0 standard paved the way for CD-ReWritable (RW) drive manufacturers to push the technology to 10X, a speed that can almost keep pace with the fastest CD-R recording speeds. Because of CD-RW's growing acceptance in markets such as daily data backup, this increase in speed will most likely be warmly welcomed.

the drives

Leading the charge to 10X is the PlexWriter 12/10/32A CD-R/RW from Plextor Corporation (http://www.plextor.com). The drive features Sanyo's BURN-Proof technology, which helps to prevent buffer underruns while writing to a disc. The drive includes a 2MB Data buffer, and is available in a half-height internal 5.25-inch ATAPI configuration. The PlexWriter ships with the Plextor Manager 2000 software suite, which includes Music Video Producer 2000, DiscDupe 2000, AudioFS, and CD-ResQ. Plextor's PlexWriter 12/10/32A is available at an estimated retail price of $349.

TEAC (http://www.teac.com) enters the 12x10x32 field with its CD-W512 line, available in both ATAPI (CD-W512E) and Fast SCSI-2 (CD-W512S) models. The Windows 9x/2000-compatible drives feature an 85ms average seek time and a 4MB buffer, and ship with recording software.

Ricoh DMS-C (http://www.ricohdms.com) offers the the MP7120A, a 12x10x32 drive that features an ATAPI interface, and a 4MB data buffer. The package includes Prassi's abCD and PrimoCD Plus, one Ricoh CD-R disc, and one Ricoh CD-RW disc. The drive will be available at an estimated list price of $299.

TDK (http://www.tdk.com) has also announced their 12x10x32 drive, the veloCD. The veloCD features Sanyo's BURN-Proof technology for buffer underrun prevention, and 24X audio ripping speeds. The drive is designed as a solution for multimedia recording, and features such as MP3 playback, and on-the-fly conversion of MP3 files into Audio CD tracks. The internal ATAPI drive is bundled with Ahead's Nero 5.0 for general recording chores and InCD for drag & drop packet writing software. TDK's veloCD is available at an estimated retail price of $349.

the media

Although CD-RW drives have now reached the 10X milestone, users will not be able to take advantage of the faster rewriting speeds unless there is 10X media available to support the drives. As if on cue, several companies, including Verbatim (http://www.verbatim.com), Ricoh, and TDK have announced that they are rolling out their new 10X CD-RW disc lines, just in time to greet the new drives. Both companies claim that their media conforms to the Orange Book Part III, Volume 2, Ver. 1.0 CD-RW standard, and can support recording speeds from 4X to 10X. Both companies' discs support direct writing/rewriting in Constant Angular Velocity (CAV) mode, as well as Constant Linear Velocity (CLV) mode. Both Verbatim and Ricoh estimate that their respective media will be available at $4 per disc.

the finish line?

CD-RW's acceleration to 10X promises to help the medium achieve a greater market penetration than it currently possesses. How CD-RW compares to CD-R in terms of price and performance, particularly in the case of media, will be a deciding factor in the future of the format. And with CD-R media sales typically outpacing CD-RW media sales by as much as 40 to 1, the recording public has clearly made its choice clear in the past. But as both the price and performance gap close-as it has demonstrably in recent months-that may change. On the other hand, as 12X CD-R becomes standard, and 16X CD-R looms in the not-too-distant future, some users may become converts to the faster CD-RW, while others may feel that it is still too far behind in the race.

companies mentioned

(Plextor Corporation, 4255 Burton Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95054; 800/886-3935, 408/980-1838; Fax 408/986-1010; http://www.plextor.com)

(Ricoh DMS-C, 1231 Warner Avenue, Tustin, CA 92780; 714-259-1310; Fax 714/566-3655; http://www.ricohdms.com)

(Sanyo Corporation, 619/661-1134; Fax 619/661-6795; http://www.sanyo.com)

(TEAC, Data Storage Products Division, 7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640; 323/726-0303; Fax 323/727-7652; http://www.teac.com)

(TDK Electronics Corporation, 12 Harbor Park Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050; http://www.tdk.com)

(Verbatim, 1200 W.T. Harris Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28262-8536; 888/837-2284, 704/547-6500; Fax 704/547-6609; http://www.verbatim.com)

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