With the price cuts, HP's CD-Writer Plus 9200i and 9100i internal drives are dropping from $399 to $299 while the fancier 9210e and 9110e external CD-Writer Plus drives are going from $499 to $399.
CD-rewritable (CD-RW) drives essentially allow consumers to record music and data onto dense optical disks that can then be played back on PCs or home CD systems. Although fairly expensive in the past, the price of these drives has been dropping fairly rapidly, leading to greater proliferation. In addition, PC makers have begun to phase out built-in floppy drives, creating an opportunity for CD-RW drives to slip in as the portable medium of choice.
In July, only 1.7 percent of PCs sold at retail came with CD-RW drives, according to market researcher PC Data. The number had more than doubled to 3.8 percent in August and climbed to 7.8 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in September and October.
"There's no reason not to see 30 percent or more of systems sold with CD-RW in December," said Stephen Baker, a PC Data analyst, late last month.