While 6X and 8X CD-ROM drives are still the norm in multimedia PCs, a handful of 10X drives have hit the market. Pinnacle Micro is currently shipping its internal 10X drive for a retail price of $239, while Pioneer announced in early April that it will ship a 10X CD-ROM drive in the third quarter.
Don't expect to see any sudden improvements in game play, though, from the faster drives. Most CD-ROM titles have only been written to take advantage of double- and quad-speed drives. In the short run, only users who have very large files to download will see the most improvement.
The rate of change in the CD-ROM market is fast approaching that of the processor market. This latest generation of CD-ROM drives has been introduced less than six months after 8X drives appeared. Even Acer isn't keeping up with the changes; a company spokesperson said that they were still "migrating" toward 8X CD-ROM drives in home PCs.
Initially, the drive will have a list price of $199 and be available only as an internal model for sale through select hardware vendors.