Hitachi and SanDisk stole the show as far as next generation storage devices go – bigger capacity, smaller platters and faster transfers. Hitachi unveiled their 0.8” diameter hard drives capable of 10GB of storage while SanDisk demonstrated their 8GB compact flash cards specifically designed for cameras and MP3 players. Ritek also demonstrated CF cards based on 8GB designs in their booth.

Transcend gave us the opportunity to look at their newest flash devices – 1.8” 20GB microdrive devices that sell for $120, about the same price as the average 1GB compact flash card. Micro drives sacrifice speed for write density, but for MP3 and other portable media devices, they do not require relatively fast IO speeds. Transcend will also release a 40GB version of the same 1.8” drive within the next few weeks.

Optical Media

Ritek and Imation both had a very large presence on the show floor this year. The Taiwanese and Japanese disc manufacturers were both pleased to announce 8X DVD+R Dual Layer discs. Although, good luck finding any burners that will actually write that strategy. New drives like the Plextor 716A are capable of writing 6X write descriptors on high quality 4X media, but we will have to wait until the next generation burners for true 8X DVD dual layer burns, since the lasers and pickups themselves will need refinements to support higher speed on dual layer.

Of course, if you hadn’t heard it from us before, let us be the first to tell you that 16X will definitely be the fastest single layer write speed possible. As media and drive manufacturers already start setting their eyes on BluRay and HD-DVDR, DVDR will only continue advancements in dual layer capability. Keep in mind that the physical limitation on hard drive read speed is what keeps DVD burners from writing faster than 16X – it’s going to take SATA-II or some other technology to keep up high sustainable IO transfers to redefine optical storage writes (and by that time, we expect to all be burning FVD’s, right?).


HP started their LightScribe commercials to coincide with the show this year, and we were very anxious to start seeing some samples after months of waiting. However, Lightscribe manufacturers and OEM partners were quick to note a few things to us before we able to get too excited. First of all, LightScribe is incredibly slow – it takes more than 5 minutes to burn a single layer DVDR, and then another 10+ minutes to burn the label onto the other side of the disc. The whole process effectively triples the total burn time of the laser during a typical burn – and in the same stride, reduces the average life of the laser by 66%. When we get samples later this month, we will have the full breakdown on LightScribe, but theoretically on paper, the technology already has some pitfalls in our opinion.

Companies like Primera were happy to show us their linear and thermal printing devices in the Ritek booth on the show floor. Although more geared for high volume duplicators, Primera’s photo quality replication was certainly impressive, and it will only be time before Primera or one of their competitors reduces the size of a radial printer and incorporates that into a DVD burner.

Cases (continued) Graphics and Display


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  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    That ASUS case is horrible. Looks like they paid Ferrari to puke on it.

    I don't think the hardware companies understand if we want something to look outrageous, we'll do it ourselves and make it unique. Personally, I want a case that looks sleek, but is a regular box, where it's easy to remove and replace peripherals, drives, mainboards, PSUs, where cooling is good but quiet if possible. I think manufacturers should look at why Antec, Lian Li, Silverstone, and some other brands are the cases we love --because they make it good and solid instead of concentrating on miserable attempts at eye candy.
  • Dranzerk - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    #2 Kingwin still makes a nice case, they update it every so often to look more appealing.

    Im going to get that one, clean look, and priced around $80-100 if you shop around.
  • blckgrffn - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    No kidding. I have bought Antec after Antec recently, just because of their clean good looks and price point. Are there any case manufacturers listening? (Other than Lian-Li and Coolermaster, which both make beautiful cases IMO, but where is aluminum + 12cm fans?) Reply
  • Dranzerk - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    What is it with case manufactors and "gaming" cases?

    Looks like they got the drawer of Voltron to make up cases, they look cheap, unappealing, and worst stupid ugly.

    Its like a bad dream seeing so many fugly cases now.

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