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Ricoh is set, within the next 60 to 90 days, to ship new 6x4x24 Media Master CD-RW drives priced between $399 and $549. Four SKUs will be offered: ATAPI internal ($399), SCSI internal ($449), SCSI external ($549) and USB ($549). The current 4X4X20 drive will be priced to $299.

Also new is a portable 4X4X20. The company tells TWICE it will ship a combi unit that offers CD-R and CD-RW write ability plus DVD playback this fall. On the media side, Ricoh will launch a 4X media, as well as preformatted branded media, within the next 60 to 90 days.

Smart & Friendly’s president Perry Solomon stopped by to talk about the growth of CD-R and CD-RW and to announce the company’s CD SpeedWriter Plus, a 4x2x24 CD-Recorder priced $100 less than its predecessor.

Offered in internal ATAPI ($249) and external SCSI ($349) versions, the recorders come with Sonic Foundry’s CD Architect and Sound Forge XP recording software, Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator Standard Edition, PowerQuest Drive Image disaster recovery package and other software programs. The products will begin shipping this month.

An 8X rewritable product is expected to ship at the end of the month at an estimated price of $799 for the external version and $699 for an internal model.

New from EXP is the $599 DVD Traveler Plus, a PC Card-based DVD-ROM drive kit with an MPEG-2 decoder card. Also being offered is the DVD Traveler ($399), a DVD-ROM drive with a software-based MPEG-2 decoder. The company also showed the MIDI/Game Traveler, a $138 MIDI in/out PC Card that supports Microsoft’s Force Feedback controllers.

ACS Innovations showed a slimline $599 external 4x4x20 CD-RW drive, which offers both PCMCIA and USB connections. An internal version will also be added. ACS also featured a new DVD player with AC3 and karaoke. It has a retail price of $379 and is now being offered with a $30 mail-in rebate.

Yamaha expanded its lineup of rewritable CD drives with the its first 6x model, a 6x4x16 drive that will be priced at $399.

In addition to Universal BUSlink’s line of USB-based portable hard drives, the company showed a 4x4x20 CD-RW drive with a design that allows units to be stacked. The model, UCD-RW4X, has a suggested retail price of $449.