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NEC Unveils Multi CD-R Drive

NEC announced its new Multi CD-R drive, which reads CD-ROMs, writes CD-Rs and rewrites Phase-Change Dual (PD) media.

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Unedited press release follows:

NEC Announces PD/CD-ROM drives that have CD-R functions

March 17, 1998 – NEC announced today to offer PD/CD-R/CD-ROM drive (Multi CD-R), that functions as a PD drive providing recording and playback of up to 650 megabytes (MB) of data per drive unit, and as a double-speed write/re-write/20-times read CD-R writer, functioning as a conventional 20-times playback CD-ROM player.

This new product offers both superior PD and CD-R functions and is ideal for a wide range of applications.

The OEM sample price of this new product is 30,000 yen and is expected to become a standard drive in full-spec personal computers in the future.

The main characteristics of the new product are as follows.

1. It combines the three functions of PD drive capable of recording and playback of up to 650 MB for data, a CD-R drive offering double-speed recording and a 20-times speed playback (*) and a 20-times speed CD-ROM in a single drive unit. It also has the CD-RW playback functions (multi-read function).

(*) The 20-time speed playback of the CD-R is the fastest speed in the industry.

2. The PD function is able to write data at high speed thanks to a phase-change recording technique for overwriting new data without having to erase previous data.

3. Through the use of an E-IDE I/F (ATAPI protocol) interface, the PD/CD-R/CD-ROM drive can easily be installed in personal computers and other equipment.

4. It has the same external dimensions as conventional CD-ROM drives that currently installed in desktop type personal computers.

5. It reduces the load on the CPU by supporting direct memory access (DMA) for data transfer.

6. It offers improved sensing speed through the optimization of the PD drive cache and improved seek time (less than 80 m/sec.) in CD-R and CD-ROM playback, as well as in the recording and playback of PD media.

Shipping of this new product will begin from April of this year, and sales of 300,000 units in the first year are expected.

The possible applications for the creation, distribution and storage of original CDs are increasing as individual users are using large volumes of color images, digital sound and music data with the advances in peripheral equipment such as digital cameras and improvements in the functionality of personal computers, and the arrival of the multimedia age represented by the widespread use of the Internet and e-mail.

At the same time, in business the use of large volumes of data in government administration, and the storage of accounts and documents in electronic form has been increasing. This is attracting great-deal of attention both in Japan and overseas and there is an increasing need in both the personal and business fields for a recording device that can record large volumes of data.

In the present environment, users are finding that the capacity of the hard disk drive that is the main storage device in today’s personal computer is no longer by itself adequate for handling the amount of data in use. The PD functions offered by the Multi CD-R solves this problem because it can read write at high speed.

On the other hand, for the distribution of content and long-term storage of data, it offers the advantages of low media cost and data security of CD-ROM, and the CD-R function makes it possible to create CD-ROMs that can be read by standard CD-ROM drives.

The Multi CD-R was developed to meet user’s demands for a multifunction storage device that is low priced and offers excellent space efficiency. Multi CD-R is also supported by PD Alliance companies including NEC, Panasonic/Mastushita Electric, TEAC Corporation, Teijin Limited, and Toray Industries, Inc.

See the attachment for a general description of this new product.

General description of the new Multi CD-R product

1. Characteristics of the product

1. Three functions: Recording and playback of 650 MB capacity re-writable optical disks (PD disks), double-speed recording and 20-times speed playback of 650 MB capacity re-writable optical disks (CD-R), and 20-times speed playback of the CD-ROMs.

2. Three functions enable a wide range of applications.

3. Can playback disks that are compliant with standard CD specifications. Can also playback CD-RW. (multi-read).

4. Use of a phase-change recording and playback of PD allows overwriting to reduce rewrite time.

5. The PD phase-change recording playback method eliminates the need for the field magnets that are used in the optical-magnetic recording and playback method, which means that the device can be made smaller and lighter.

6. A PD cartridge, CD-R media, 120 millimeter CD and CD-ROMs, and 80 millimeter CDs can be mounted into the same tray.

7. Can be installed horizontally or vertically. (80mm CDs horizontal only)

8. Auto-loading and auto eject functions.

9. Pre-read read cache and write-back write cache functions.

10. A separate mechanical block and circuit block improves dust prevention without filtering.

11. E-IDE (ATAPI protocol) interface and standard CD-ROM form factor allows easy installation in personal computers.

12. The use of both PIO and the DMA for data transfer reduces CPU load.

Main specifications

<When using optical disks (PD cartridge)>

PD cartridge memory capacity Approx. 664 MB (user area)
Sector size 512 bytes per sector
Average seek time 79 msec. (including command processing time) *
Continuous data transfer speed 518-1, 141KB per sec.
Data transfer speed PIO mode 3 5.3 MB per sec.
DMA mode 1 5 MB per sec.
Disk rpm/rotation control 2,027 rpm/ZCAV
Buffer capacity 256KB Uses both read and write cache

* Typical

<When using CD-R>

Memory capacity (Recording time) 553-650 MB (63 to 74 minutes)
Media size 120 mm
Continuous data transfer speed
Maximum double speed, 300 KB per sec.
Maximum 20-times speed, 3 MB per sec.
Data transfer speed PIO mode 3, 16.6 MB per sec.
DMA mode 0, 16.6 MB per sec.
Disk rpm/ rotation control 200 to 1,060 rpm/CLV
CD-R media supported Cyanin or phthalocyanin
Physical format Red-book compliant
Recording mode Disk at once
Track at once (multi session)
Packet writing

<When used with CD-ROM>

CD-ROM memory capacity 664 MB (120 millimeter user area)
Media size 120/80 millimeter CD-ROMs can be used
Sector size 2,048 bytes per sector
Average seek time 79 m/sec
Continuous data transfer speed Max. 20 x speed, 3 MB per sec.
1 x speed (audio mode), 150 KB per sec.
Data transfer speed PIO mode3, 16.6 MB per sec.
DMA mode0, 16.6 MB per sec.
Disk rpm/rotation control 200 to 4,600 rpm/CLV
Buffer capacity 128 KB (Can be used with read cache)
Audio output Headphone output (x1), line output (x1)
Compatible CD families CD-DA, CD-ROM Model
CD-ROM XA (Mode2, Form1&2)
PhotoCD (Multi Session),Video CD
CD-Extra, Part of CD-I, CD-G (audio only)
Multi-read compatible (can play CD-RWs)


Ambient temperature (during operation) 5 to 45 CELSIUS
Humidity (during operation) 20 to 80 %
Power supply +5V, +12V
External dimensions (L x W x H) 146 x 41.3 x 192 mm (excluding front bezel)
Weight Approx. 1.2 kg
Installation orientation Either horizontally or vertically.
Only horizontal with 80 millimeter media.