Plextor drives out 12x CD-ROM for September

Plextor will release the industry's first 12-speed CD-ROM drive last next month, and even faster speeds could be left in the tank before DVD technology kicks in.

The Japanese company said the 12-speed unit will have a data transfer rate of up to 1,800Kbps and will boast a huge 512Kb buffer, a 95ms random seek time and a 110ms access time. A caddy version will ship in the second half of September, followed by a cheaper tray version in the second half of October. Both will be SCSI devices and come with a two-year warranty.

Despite widespread reports of fast spin rates on CD-ROM drives providing negligible overall performance hikes, the company claims that 12-speed drives will be a boon for some users. "It depends on your application," said Dirk de Jongh, assistant sales and marketing director at Plextor Europe. "4x and 6x will do fine for basic applications in office environments but for video, fast graphics, database searching and access across networks, 12x is of value. Transfer rates are only one aspect of total performance. The driver, CPU utilisation, bus type and system and network parameters are also important."

De Jongh also disputed forecasts that suggest the imminent appearance of DVD drives will quickly remove the need for fast CD-ROM. "I should think CD-ROM speeds will get a little higher. I don't think DVD will have a big impact at first; certainly not for six or seven months at least."

Plextor can be contacted by telephone on 00 32 2 725 5522.

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