Drive Performance Trends
CD-ROM performance has
enjoyed a steady increase from 1X in 1991 to 32X in 1997.
Despite DVD's debut in 1997 at 1X speed (equivalent to 8x
CD speed), the majority of consumers are still choosing
the faster CD-ROM drives over DVD.
DVD has not taken off as
quickly as many had predicted last year. In fact most
research firms that are following the CD/DVD-ROM market
have substantially revised their predictions regarding
DVD adoption for 1998 and 1999, to predict a healthy
continued growth for CD.
conception is that the industry as a whole has reached a
transfer rate which has "capped out" at 32X. The reality
is that not only has the ceiling not yet been acheived,
but the preponderance of drives in the market today do
not live up to their advertised "X ratings". Conventional
CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) drives, which comprise
the bulk of models on the market today, allow for a
maximum speed of 32X or higher, but on the outermost
tracks. Data read from the inner tracks of a disk, where
most of today's software is located, is read at a mere
12-16X. For this reason, there has been significant
amount of negative press and analyst reaction.
generally obtain the 32X speed only on a disc's outer
tracks---which is why manufacturers rate the drives as,
for example, 14/32X. There's a catch, however: Data
rarely fills the outer tracks, so drives rarely read
PC World, February, 1998
are shipping 16X drives not because they're faster but
because they want buyers to think so! More honest (drive
makers) label theirs '16X Max'. Forget a CD-ROM's X
rating. A drive's advertised speed doesn't always reflect
its true performance."
Computing, June 1997
with the need for speed, an ATAPI 24X speed CD-ROM is the
only antidote, right? Wrong! While manufacturers push
these potent peripherals like street vendors hustling
swag- hyping quality and wielding fancy terminology-
these 24X drives don't deliver."
boot magazine, October
"If you're expecting a
24X drive to give you double the performance of a 12X
drive, think again. In fact, none of the beta-model
drives we tested lived up to expectations."
Windows Magazine, November 1, 1997
CD-ROM performance and
sales have enjoyed significant growth over the past 10
years, with an estimated 195 million plus CD-ROM drives
installed worldwide, according to a recent report by
InfoTech Research. The installed base of CD-ROM will peak
after the year 2000. However, CD will continue to
dominate the CD/DVD-ROM market until after the year
The DVD-ROM market has
gained popularity, with most consumer electronics
manufacturers promising to support DVD. However,
deployment has been slow and will not likely ramp up
until more DVD titles are available towards the end of
1998 and beginning of 1999. At year-end 1997, there were
a mere 60 DVD-ROM titles, as compared to 46,000 CD-ROM
titles in print, according to the InfoTech report.
CD-ROM prices have
consistently decreased while performance has only
marginally increased, leveling off at 32X, which is
really only 14-17X on average. Zen TrueX enabled CD-ROM
drives will significantly boost performance, extending
the usefulness of CD-ROM technology for many years. Zen
will also apply TrueX technology to increase the
performance of DVD products.
the Gap Between Storage Devices
Zen TrueX technology
addresses transfer rate and access times that currently
limit CD-ROM on today's PC's. Reading and processing two
tracks simultaneously doubles the transfer rate. Reading
ten tracks increases the rate tenfold - that's over
6Mbytes/sec at 4x speed, for example.