HP has unveiled six new compact disc-rewritable (CD-RW) drives – ranging in price from around £130 to £260. HP's high-end drives, the CD-Writer 9600si/9600se, will provide maximum speeds of 12x for writing and 8x for rewriting. Each drive will feature a SCSI port to connect to a PC. The drives will cost around £260 for the external version and around £230 for the internal. The intermediate drives, the CD-Writer 9510i and 9500I, will sport the same 12x/8x write/rewrite features but will instead feature an IDE connection and will retail for around £200 and £165, respectively. The entry-level drives, the 8230e and 8220e, will offer 4x writing and rewriting and will feature a smaller enclosure, user-replaceable colored panels and a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection. These drives will cost around £165 and £130. All six drives sport 32x read capabilities. HP's new drives offer similar features to other recently announced CD-RW drives. In June, Plextor introduced a drive which, like HP's, sports 12x write and 32x read speeds, but bests HP with a 10x rewrite. Ricoh Co. introduced a drive with similar specifications as Plextor's, also in June. Other CD-RW drives, however, lag behind HP's new devices. Yamaha’s fastest drives offer 8x write, 8x rewrite and 24x read speeds, whereas QPS’s speediest offering features 12x write, 4x rewrite and 32x read. HP CD-Writer drives, which will be available September 1, will come bundled will CD creation and CD-to-MP3 conversion software, as well as software to create jewel case inserts and covers.
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