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HP rolls out speedy recordable CD

Hewlett-Packard's new line of rewritable CD drives can read and record data twice as fast as previous models.

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Hewlett-Packard today announced a new line of rewritable CD (CD-RW) drives, capable of reading and recording data twice as fast as previous models.

The new line highlights the advances in recordable CD technology since last September, when HP introduced its first 'multi-read' CD-RW drive. The drives announced today are much faster, can format discs in

HP CD-Writer Plus 8100
HP CD-Writer Plus 8100
minutes instead of hours, and are hundreds of dollars less in price.

The new multi-read HP CD-Writer Plus 8100 series reads and records CD-R discs, which are write-once, and CD-RW discs, which can record and erase data up to 1000 times. The 8100 series writes to CD-R discs at 4x speeds and reads at 24x, roughly twice as fast as the previous HP CD-Writer Plus, the 7200 series. The new drive reads CD-RW discs at 8x and writes to them at 2x speeds.

Additionally, the 8100 series features new HP proprietary formatting technology, dubbed HP fast format, which greatly reduces CD formatting time. Currently, CDs must be formatted before they can be written to, a process that can take upwards of an hour. The 8100 series can format discs in under five minutes, according to an HP spokesperson.

"In the past, it took an hour to 75 minutes to format a CD," said the HP spokesperson. "HP fast format allows for formatting in around 5 minutes, which no other drive can do. It's big news for CD-RW technology."

The 8100 series will have an estimated retail price of $399, and is expected to be available on September 1. Subsequent to the release of the 8100 series, HP's existing CD-Writer Plus 7200i will be discounted by $100, to $299.

The drives come with a software bundle that includes Adaptec's Direct CD, Easy CD Audio, Easy CD Creator Standard edition, which allow users to save and record sound Files, and HP's SimpleTrax and Disaster Recovery. Additionally, the drives come with CD case and disc labeling software.

In related news, Sony introduced the Spressa CRX100E/CH, a CD-RW drive capable of 4x CD-RW recording and 24x CD reading, to retail for $399.