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Toshiba combines DVD-ROM and CD-RW in one drive

Priced at about $400, the drives incorporate two of the more popular storage technologies now included in many higher-end PCs.

Toshiba has developed a new drive combining two of the hottest storage technologies: DVD-ROM and CD-RW.

DVD-ROM is a high-capacity format that holds up to 4.7GB of data per side, enough room for a full-length movie. Recordable-rewriteable CD-ROM technology (CD-RW)--which allows users to record their own CD-ROMs and play them back on stereos or PCs--is steadily becoming the storage platform of choice among PC manufacturers and consumers.

DVD-ROM and CD-RW have become two of more popular options for high-end desktop PCs in the last year. While recordable DVD is available on a limited basis, the drives are typically quite expensive and are not yet widely available. As a result, DVD drives in PCs are mostly for reading and storage.

Meanwhile, CD-RW has nearly eclipsed Iomega's Zip drive as the preferred method of backup among consumers-- especially among digital music aficionados.

Toshiba's new SD-R1002 drive from is one of the first to offer both technologies, according to the company.

Although a dual-purpose drive may appear to be overkill, DVD and CD-RW serve different purposes, Toshiba says. DVD is a high-quality video and audio read-only technology optimized for movies and games, while CD-RW is a more cost-effective way to record and playback music and to backup data.

"CD-RW and DVD-ROM are poised to be two of the fastest growing technologies over the next few years," said John Freeman, president of strategic marketing for Toshiba, in a statement. "Today, users have to choose between CD-RW writability or DVD-ROM compatibility."

The Toshiba drive is backwards compatible with older DVD-ROM and CD-ROM discs, according to the company, and will work with desktop, notebook, and workstation computers.

The combo drive will be released in September. Final pricing for the drive has not yet been set, but a kit that includes the drive and supporting hardware and software will have an estimated retail price of $400.