Breakthrough in modernising CD-Rom drives

A California company has come up with a way to greatly increase the performance of CD-ROM drives and other optical storage devices. Instead of spinning discs faster, which is how today's 32X CD-ROM drives achieve their performance, Zen Research's TrueX technology reads more than one track on the disc at a time. Zen CEO Emil Jachmann predicts that TrueX will shatter optical performance barriers.

A California company has come up with a way to greatly increase the performance of CD-ROM drives and other optical storage devices.

Instead of spinning discs faster, which is how today's 32X CD-ROM drives achieve their performance, Zen Research's TrueX technology reads more than one track on the disc at a time.

Zen CEO Emil Jachmann predicts that TrueX will shatter optical performance barriers.

"If we read 10 tracks and rotate at 10X, that's 100X output," he says. "And . . . performance (could be) the same anywhere on the disc, unlike with today's drives, where you only have that performance on the outside rim."

Jachmann says that TrueX technology, which consists of a controller chip and an optical detection device, can easily be incorporated into standard CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives. Kenwood Technologies will become the first CD-ROM maker to use TrueX with the shipment this summer of a 41X drive clocking a transfer rate of 6.4MB per second--nearly double the rate of a conventional 24X CD-ROM drive.

Pricing hasn't been set, but TrueX drives are expected to sell for about US$100 more than standard CD-ROM drives.

Jachmann says Zen Research has licensed the technology to several DVD-ROM drive makers that will begin shipping TrueX drives next year. His long-term hope is that rather than being the slowest component of your PC, your optical storage device will be so fast and have so much capacity that you won't need any other drive. "We want to push the bottleneck back to the CPU and back to the bus," he says. "It's been sitting on the drive too long."

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