Monday, November 01, 2004

Panasonic UJ-835 slot-load 8X slimline DVD burner available

Earlier we had reported that the new Panasonic UJ-830 laptop DVD burner was available, but incorrectly suggested that it would find itself in new Macs. While it is true it can be used in laptops, it is not a slot-load drive as was reported. It is a tray load slimline drive, and Apple no longer uses tray load slimline drives at all. The iMac G5, the iBook, and the PowerBook all now use slot-load slimline optical drives.

Panasonic/Matsushita has now officially announced the slot-load version of this drive, and following the same naming conventions they have used in the past for their slimline slot-load drives, they call it the UJ-835. Other than the loading mechanism, the drive has the same specifications as the UJ-830:
Slot-Loading DVD Super-Multi Drive (OEM) for notebook PC's (12.7mm height)

- 3X Speed DVD-RAM Writing
- 8X Speed DVD-R Writing
- 4X Speed DVD-RW Writing
- 24X Speed CD-R Writing
- 10X Speed CD-RW Writing
- 8X Speed +R Writing
- 4X Speed +RW Writing
- 24X Speed CD-ROM Reading
- 8X Speed DVD-ROM Reading
- Buffer Under Run Protection
Expect to see this drive in the next iteration of the iMac G5 desktops, and also likely in the next revision of the PowerBooks and iBooks as well. Although a nice bonus for laptops, it is more important to see 8X DVD-R burning for the iMac G5. The 4X DVD-R burner in the current iMac is slow by desktop standards, and 8X DVD-R media is now becoming affordable. The one feature the iMac G5 will still lack, however, is the ability to burn dual-layer discs. The Panasonic slimline DVD burners do not support this feature. This is not a huge issue in practical terms for most people however, as good quality dual-layer media will be very expensive for quite some time to come. It is also possible that Apple will ship the drive with a firmware that removes DVD-RAM support, as Apple has done this in the past for unknown reasons.

For additional information on the various DVD recordable formats, please check out my DVD Recordable FAQ.

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