CD-RW drives have steadily grown faster at writing CD-R discs; several manufacturers now offer drives with 10X or 12X speeds. But the speed of rewritable CD (CD-RW) disc creation has remained at 4X since early 1999. That's changing now, though, with some help from Yamaha. Last week, the company announced the CRW8824EZ, which it claims is the world's first CD-RW drive to write CD-RW discs at 8X. Available immediately, the CRW8824EZ is an internal EIDE drive. Next month, Yamaha will ship three additional models, including both internal and external SCSI-3 versions, and a model with an IEEE-1394 (also known as FireWire) interface. Pricing is not yet available. Besides its 8X CD-RW speed, the CRW8824EZ writes CD-R discs at 8X, and reads standard CD-ROM discs at 24X. Yamaha also says the CRW8824EZ can rip audio CDs at 24X - a speed that the company claims is three times the speed of competing drives. The CRW8824EZ has an average access speed of 24 ms, and a 4MB buffer. It requires 8X-certified CD-RW media, which is just starting to become available. Included with the CRW8824EZ are Adaptec's Easy CD Creator, Direct CD and Toast; Adobe Systems's ActiveShare, PageMill and Photo Deluxe Business Edition; MusicMatch Jukebox; and the Neato CD Labeler Kit.