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Sony adds DVD/CD-RW drives to notebooks

Sony becomes the latest PC manufacturer in the past two weeks to add a combination drive to its notebook lineup.

Sony has taught its new notebooks to read and write.

On Wednesday, Sony Electronics announced four new Vaio notebooks that come with a combination DVD and CD-rewritable drive.

Sony VAIO FX Series notebook Sony is the latest PC manufacturer in the past two weeks to add a combination drive to its notebook lineup. Toshiba recently made a DVD/CD-RW drive available as an option on several of its notebooks, and Compaq Computer has a similar drive on its Presario 1800 series.

These PC makers are suddenly turning to combination drives to help differentiate their notebooks from those of their competitors. The new notebooks also arrive at a time in which analysts say the market for PCs is saturated. As a result, manufacturers trying to respond with new and more innovative features.

Sony is also giving new Vaio owners free wireless modems to access the Internet. The modem offer was first made during the holiday season when a price war erupted between Sony and Compaq.

Customers who buy a Vaio notebook will get a GoAmerica wireless modem for free until July 1. The modem fits into the PCMCIA slot on the notebook.

All of Sony's new notebook models will be on store shelves this month.

Aside from their processors and hard disk drives, the four models are nearly identical. All four come with 15-inch active-matrix displays and 128MB of SDRAM.

The PCG-FX190 and PCG-FX190K notebooks come with Intel?s 850MHz Pentium III processor with SpeedStep technology and a 30GB hard disk drive. The PCG-FX190 will cost $3,599 and PCG-FX190K will cost $3,699. The former has Windows Me; the latter uses Windows 2000.

The PCG-FX170 and PCG-FX170K notebooks come with Intel?s 800MHz Pentium III processor with SpeedStep technology and a 20GB hard disk drive. The PCG-FX170 will cost $3,099 and PCG-FX170K will sell for $3,199. The former has Windows Me; the latter uses Windows 2000.

On Wednesday, Sony also introduced four other notebooks without the combo drive.