Users needing to access large amounts of stored data stand to benefit most from the faster drives. The new drives spin CD-ROMs 24 times faster than the first CD-ROM drives, allowing for sustained data transfer rates of up to 3.6MB/sec. By contrast, Panasonic's current 8X CD-ROM drives hava data transfer rates of 1.2MB/sec.
Panasonic says its new LK-MC686BP drive, which will be available in May, can be used in systems with 386 through Pentium series processors. A version with a SCSI-2 interconnect will be available in June. The drives support a variety of format standards such as audio CDs and Kodak photo CDs. Estimated street price of the drives will start at $199, the company said.
Pioneer says it will offer a tray-loading version of its new DR-511 drive to PC makers beginning in May 1997. A slot-loading version that can be mounted vertically will be available in August 1997, the company adds. The 5.25-inch-high drives support additional format standards such as audio CDs and Kodak photo CDs. It is compatible with Windows Plug and Play systems. No pricing was announced.