Plextor is shipping this week what it claims is a speed demon CD-RW drive. The PlexWriter 24/10/40A features 24X recording, 10X rewriting, and 40X playback capabilities, and is priced at $289 on the Plextor site (around £200). The PlexWriter, the big brother of the PlexWriter 16/10/40A, features servo positioning capabilities that enhance recording quality and performance. This feature calibrates the drive to each disc to ensure the best quality write operation. The newest PlexWriter can race through recording a 74-minute compact disc in less than four minutes, according to the company. TDK Systems Inc. was first to market with a fast 24X CD-RW drive in June. Others are expected to ship this summer, including drives from competitors CenDyne, Iomega, Pacific Digital, and QPS. Yamaha has marketed a 20X CD-RW drive, the LightSpeed CRW2200EZ, since April. "The Zone-CLV servo positioning actually increases recording speeds by approximately 25 per cent, while guaranteeing that recorded discs can be read back later on any drive," says Howard Wing, vice president for sales and marketing. The newest PlexWriter comes with PlextorManager 2000, which lets you control performance and create audio CDs. Available separately is CD Res-Q, which takes and retains a system snapshot for disaster recovery and system restoration. It is priced at around £25. The PlexWriter also has Burn-Proof technology to guard against buffer underrun errors that can crop up when simultaneously recording a CD in the background while surfing the Web, downloading files, or utilizing other applications on their computer. Like most standard CD-RW drives, it supports Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Variable & Fixed packet writing modes. It comes with a one-year warranty. The new PlexWriter is ready for use with Windows XP and is plug-and-play compatible with other current versions of the operating system.