The launch of the first 4X Blu-ray drive is imminent, but features are not so outstanding

The word around the neighborhood is that Hitachi-LG will be launching the world's first 4x Blu-ray drive for the PC within the next few days in China.

The GBW-H10N will be the first 4x recording drive that will be able to write not only to Blu-ray  BD-R and BD-RE media but also to the standard DVD and CD formats. The downside to the GBW-H10N is that it is not able to write to dual-layer BD-R media which means 25GB is the maximum that can be written by this model.

The Hitachi-LG product basically gives a performance increase (144Mbps Blu-ray write speeds) with a hit on support for 2+ layer Blu-ray media at this point. There is still no word as to whether the firmware can be updated in the future to support dual-layer media. Regardless, at current prices we would rather wait another year to adopt Blu-ray for regular uses or more as we are content with our standard 16x DVD writers that can be had for well under $100.

However, it is nice to know that someone is working on write speeds higher than the standard 2x even before the initial release of the new high-density optical standard. Pricing has been set at $923 US which is slightly lower than many other manufacturer's are pricing their drives. Sony also launched a Blu-ray recorder which supports dual-layer BD media and is priced even lower at $749. The catch is that recording speeds of other media are slower than the maximum we can achieve with standard DVD recorders.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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