Back in September 2002, Sony announced the first multi-format DVD drive, the DRU-500A. Less than a year later, TDK, Verbatim and Pioneer are bringing to market new multi-format drives with support for DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW, as well as CD-R/-RW. Even Microsoft has announced that future versions of Windows will support all major formats.
But once again, Sony seems to be one step ahead of the competition. The company has recently announced its third-generation multi-format drive, the DRU-510A. Like the current multi-format drives coming onto the market, the DRU-510A writes DVD+R and DVD-R at 4X. However, the DRU-510A will be the first drive to burn DVD+RW at 4X. Unfortunately, finalised 4X DVD-RW media won't be available until the end of May at the earliest. The speed for DVD-RW media remains at 2X, however. You can also burn CD-Rs at 24X and CD-RWs at 16X. The internal DRU-510A is currently available from Sony for £229 (ex. VAT); an external version, the DRX-510L, will be available in June, at a price yet to be confirmed. Like its predecessors, the DRU-510A comes with a full complement of software. The bundle includes Veritas RecordNow DX for mastering discs, Veritas Simple Backup for backup and data recovery, Veritas DLA for packet-writing chores, Sonic MyDVD for DVD authoring, ArcSoft ShowBiz for video editing, CyberLink PowerDVD for DVD playback, and Musicmatch Jukebox for organising music.