FastMac has announced a 4x dual layer Blu-Ray Disc drive for Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 systems. It costs $579.95.
Blu-Ray Disc is a new 5.25-inch optical disc format that's gaining traction as a way of storing massive amounts of data. It's used by Sony and other companies to deliver high-definition movies, but it can also be used as a data storage format. Each dual-layer disc can store up to 50GB of content.
The drive works with third-party software including Roxio Toast 8 Titanium and Adobe Premiere CS3. Native support in iLife applications is not yet available. Even with Toast, the drive is capable of burning data only -- you cannot watch Blu-Ray Disc movies using this drive, as Mac OS X currently lacks built-in support for that format.
The 4x drive can burn 50GB is less than 50 minutes, according to FastMac. It also can rewrite single and dual-layer Blu-Ray discs at 2x speed. It's compatible with standard DVD and CD media, works with DVD-R and DVD+R at 12x speed in single layer mode and 8x speed in dual or double layer mode, and can burn CD-Rs at 40x.
The drive requires Mac OS X v10.4.8 or later. A SATA to IDE/ATAPI cable converter is required for Power Mac G5s.