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Sony's BW-RU101 is probably among the first optical storage drives (along with Plasmon's UDO) that use blue-laser technology to reach storage capacities of 23GB with Sony promising up to 100GB storage by the end of 2007. The drive uses cartridges that offer additional safety mechanisms against dust and will keep your data safe. The RW and write once discs have the same capacity (23GB) and more or less the same price.
The drive itself includes interesting technologies and probably from the PDD white paper we expected to see very high reading/writing speeds, since Sony promises up to 11MB/sec reading/writing with both PDDR/RW media. The test results confirmed the drive's very good reading performance, especially with the CLV mode. The writing performance however was half that specified. We believe this may be due to the verify after write feature, which of course boosts data integrity and prevents data loss. The access times was more or less the same for both CAV/CLV modes, at least with PDDRW media.
At a retail price of $2500~$3.000, the BW-RU101 doesn't come cheap, but then again it is aimed at the professional market and not for home use. Media costs around $45, where the cost per Gigabyte is $0.51. Similar capacities can be found for much less (tape is $0.20) but of course tape doesn't offer the data safe mechanisms and the access times of an optical storage device. With the drive aimed at professional use, home users are awaiting with great expectations upcoming blue laser drives from both the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Alliances.
16MB internal cache and CLV/CAV reading/writing modes
11MB/sec reading performance at CLV mode
USB2.0 interface for easy connection
The cartridge media (R/RW) supports up to 23GB
Sony promises up to 50 years lifetime for the media
Good access times, considering the disc size
Isn't compatible with upcoming HD-DVD, Blu-Ray formats
Writing performance wasn't up to specified specs
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