HP Offers New Line of CD-RW Drives

BOSTON (08/14/2000) - Citing the growing trend of computer users downloading music from the Internet and then creating their own CDs, Hewlett-Packard Co.

(HP) unveiled six new compact disc-rewritable (CD-RW) drives Monday.

Dubbed the HP CD-Writer, the drives allow users to create their own compact discs containing music or computer data, such as photos, text files or games, and will range in price from an entry-level US$199 to a high-end $399.

CD-RW drives let users create standard CD-ROMs, which are written to once and then read repeatedly, but also with the aid of special media, to create CD-ReWritable discs, which are able to be written to, erased and rewritten over and over, like a traditional floppy disk.

HP's high-end drives, the CD-Writer 9600si/9600se, will provide maximum speeds of 12x for writing and 8x for rewriting. Each drive will feature a SCSI port to connect to a PC. The drives will cost $399 for the external version and $349 for the internal.

The intermediate drives, the CD-Writer 9510i and 9500I, will sport the same 12x/8x write/rewrite features but will instead feature an IDE connection and will retail for $299 and $249, respectively.

The entry-level drives, the 8230e and 8220e, will offer 4x writing and rewriting and will feature a smaller enclosure, user-replaceable colored panels and a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection. These drives will cost $249 and $199.

All six drives sport 32x read capabilities.

The speed at which a drive writes data, 8x, for instance, determines how long it will take for a CD to be created. The faster the drive, the shorter a user will wait for their new CD to be ready.

HP's new drives offer similar features to other recently announced CD-RW drives. In June, Plextor Corp. introduced a drive which, like HP's, sports 12x write and 32x read speeds, but bests HP with a 10x rewrite. Ricoh Co. introduced a drive with similar specifications as Plextor's, also in June.

Other CD-RW drives, however, lag behind HP's new devices. Yamaha Corp. of America's fastest drives offer 8x write, 8x rewrite and 24x read speeds, whereas QPS Inc.'s speediest offering features 12x write, 4x rewrite and 32x read.

HP CD-Writer drives, which will be available September 1, will come bundled will CD creation and CD-to-MP3 conversion software, as well as software to create jewel case inserts and covers.

More information is available at http://www.hpcdwriter.com

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