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HP ships rewritable CD drive

Hewlett-Packard is shipping a CD drive which allows data to be recorded many times, turning CD technology into a powerful recording medium.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) is shipping a rewritable CD drive, which can serve as a high-capacity floppy drive to record multimedia data.

Hewlett-Packard today announced it is shipping a CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) drive. CD-RW discs are identical to CD-ROM disks in appearance except for one important difference: data can be recorded. CD-ROMs, on the other hand, only allow the playback of data.

With CD-RW discs data can be recorded up to 1000 times. This bests the previous generation of rewritable CD drives, called CD-R, which only allow data to be recorded once.

The HP SureStore CD-Writer Plus drive provides up to 650MB of rewritable capacity while retaining compatibility with CD-ROM discs in use today. The drive supports standard HP-developed MultiRead compatibility to ensure compatibility with DVD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-ROM drives, HP said.

HP says home PC users can use CD-RW as an extension of hard-drive capacity, using it as temporary storage of Internet information or as a means to create custom family photo albums. The drive, for example, could also be used to take very large files, such as presentations, to and from the office, according to HP.

The HP SureStore CD-Writer Plus has an IDE interface--a widely used storage device standard--and installs without an adapter card, by plugging into a PC's standard hard-drive cable, the company says.

The external version plugs into a PC's standard parallel port, which has a pass-through connector that allows the drive and a printer to be attached to the PC.

The new HP SureStore CD-Writer Plus 7100i (internal) and 7100e (external) drives are expected to be available October 1 through HP-authorized resellers, distributors, and retailers worldwide. The 7100i is $499, and the 7100e unit is $610.

Both versions also will be available in the U.S. bundled as separate products with Live Picture custom software, which allows users to manipulate or enhance and archive digitized photos, the company said.