Media Limited for 8x CD-Rs

All CDs are not created equal. If you want to take full advantage of the new 8[infinity] CD recorders from APS Technologies, Smart and Friendly, and others, you'll need 8[infinity]-certified CD-R media. As of mid-January 1999, only a handful of media vendors were offering certified discs, but most of the leading players plan to offer 8 x media in the near future.

Sensitive Layers

A recordable CD is constructed of multiple layers, including dye and polycarbonate plastic strata. Because it records at such a high speed, an 8 x mechanism requires a dye that marks easily and a polycarbonate layer with clearly defined ridges. You can burn 4 x CD-Rs in an 8 x drive, but only at the lower speed.

Fortunately, you probably won't have to pay a premium for the higher-speed discs. APS Technologies (800/862-6831, ) and Smart and Friendly (818/772-8001, ), which sell CD-R drives that use the same 8 x Sanyo mechanism, both offer 8 x -certified recordable discs for $20 per 10-pack, about what you'd pay for name-brand 4 x discs. The drives themselves sell for about $500 each, compared with $300 for 4 x drives.

Brand Plans

Among name-brand manufacturers, TDK (516/625-0100, ) offers 8[infinity] discs for about $2 each. Imation (888/466-3456, ) says it will soon offer 8 x media–at prices 10 to 15 percent higher than what it charges for 4 x discs. However, in Macworld testing, we were able to record Imation's 4 x -certified discs at 8 x on both 8 x recorders.

Maxell (888/262-9355, ), Sony (941/768-7669, ), and Hi-Val (714/953-3000, ) say they plan to offer high-speed discs but have not provided timetables for doing so.

Maxell currently offers 6 x -certified media; Sony says its CDs have been tested at up to 6 x but are certified only for 4 x recording. Hi-Val, a discount brand available at CompUSA, offers 4 x CDs for about $1 apiece.

April 1999 page: 29

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