Yamaha has announced its CRW8824 series of CD-Rewritable drives that will rewrite to a CD-RW disc at 8X speed, twice as fast as today's standard CD-RW drives. The drives will also write once to a CD-Recordable disc at 8X, and will read at a maximum rate of 24X. The new CRW8824 series consists of four drives: two internal and two external. The internal CRW8824E, which connects through EIDE and ships in late May, will sell for a street price of $250 (£150); the internal CRW8824SZ UltraSCSI drive should ship in early June, and will cost $300 (£180). The external drives, the UltraSCSI CRW8824SXZ and the IEEE 1394 CRW8824FXZ, will ship in late June and will sell for $380 (£230) and $400 (£245), respectively. The new drives' 8X rewrite speed is an important improvement for people who use CD-RW media for frequent backups, says Allen Gharapetian, product and marketing manager for Yamaha. The faster speed should cut in half the time a person spends protecting important data. Some of today's top CD-RW drives offer write-once speeds at upwards of 8X. However, the rewrite function of CD-RW drives hasn't evolved as quickly as the write feature, because rewriting to a disc is inherently more difficult, Gharapetian says. To improve the rewrite capabilities of the CD-RW drives, Yamaha created a new technology called the Pure Phase Laser System. The technology reduces glare from the disc's surface, improving the reliability and overall speed of the rewrite process, says Gharapetian. To get the maximum 8X rewrite speed of the new Yamaha drives, you'll need one of the new 8X CD-RW discs the company should start shipping in May – which will cost a little more than the old ones.