CD burners may have reached their limit, thanks to concerns about the structural stability of the media and the simple cost of developing faster drives.
Today, most CD-R and CD-RW drives top out at 48X write-once speeds, while a few 52X drives have been introduced during the past two weeks from CenDyne, Lite-On, and Memorex.
But executives at drive and media companies say market conditions are similar to 1998, when CD-ROM makers realized that CD-ROM media began to wear and potentially crack at higher speeds, and that the number of manufacturers in the market made developing faster drives an unprofitable proposition. While some are projecting 56X as the next speed increment, most are questioning the need to drive write-once speeds higher.
"I've recently been over in Taiwan, and the manufacturers there do not have a roadmap for 56X," said Brad Yeager, a senior marketing manager for rewritable media at Memorex Products Inc. "In order to make 56X blank media you need a much flatter disk and you need new molding, and to purchase new molding you need to drive the price up of the disk. Nobody is talking about 56X."
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