Toshiba unveils DVD-RAM reader drive for notebooks

Toshiba Corp. is starting mass production of a new DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) drive for notebook computers that features the ability to read DVD-RAM discs.

The SD-C2512 drive cannot accept the large plastic cartridges in which DVD-RAM discs are encased so users must open the cartridge case and insert the removed bare disc into the drive. While this allows users to read data stored on the disc, it does come with some drawbacks. Once removed, the disc can be reinserted into the cartridge but recording speed is reduced because of extra error-checking that needs to be performed.

The drive is 12.7 millimeters high -- a standard size for notebook computer optical disc drives -- and offers 2x reading of DVD-RAM discs, 8x reading of DVD-ROM discs and 24x reading of CD-ROM discs. Toshiba has already begun sample production of the drive and is offering units at a sample price of 40,000 yen ($A570).

The company also announced a second new drive Wednesday. The SD-R2102 drive is also 12.7 millimeters high and designed for use in notebook computers. It cannot read DVD-RAM discs, however it does have the ability to write CD-R/RW (CD-Recordable/Rewritable) discs at up to 8x speed. Read speeds for DVD-ROM and CD-ROM are the same as those for the SD-C2512. In sample quantities, the drive is available for 100,000 yen.

The drives will not be offered as boxed products to the public but rather as parts to notebook computer makers for use in their machines. Computer makers have just finished evaluation of the two drives and the company has moved into mass production, manufacturing 500,000 of the SD-C2512 per month and 1.5 million of the SD-R2102 drive, said Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba.

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