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Hush reveals silent-PC pricing, and Sony launches its 23GB blue laser optical drive

Desktop

Hush Technologies, maker of the Hush silent PC, which was launched last month, will begin shipping the machine on 14 April.

Prices start at €645 for an entry-level system based on a VIA 933MHz C3 processor, VIA EPIA-M 9000 mobo featuring integrated VIA CastleRock graphics with 32MB RAM, 128MB DDR SDRAM, slimline (ie. notebook) CD-ROM, a 40GB hard drive, four USB 2.0 ports, two 1394 ports, s-video and TV out, one PCI slot, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, and mouse and keyboard.

The hi-fi style metal units are available in dark silver or black.

Optical

Sony this week launched an optical data storage system that uses blue laser technology to offer rewriteable and write-once capacities of 23.3GB per disc. Each disc is built into a cartridge unit.

The product is aimed at high-end data storage applications, and Sony is touting it as a successor to 9.1GB MO drives.

The 5.25in drive itself has a data transfer rate of 9MBps, and connects via an Ultra-wide 160 SCSI connection.

Optical drives such as CD players typically use laser that operate in the infra-red part of the spectrum. By moving up to the blue band, Sony uses light with a shorter wavelength, the upshot of which is that it can make the tiny cells on the disc's surface that represent binary 1s and 0s much smaller. So more data can be stored on the disc. A shorter wavelength also means blue light has a higher energy than IR, which is why it's harder to produce blue semconductor lasers than red ones.

Sony is already planning a second-generation machine that ups the capacity to 50GB and the data transfer rate to 18MBps. Alas we'll have to wait to 2005 for it - the first drive will ship this summer for around $3000. Discs are $45 a pop. A third-generation unit, due some years down the line, will double capacity and throughput again, to 100GB and 36MBps, respectively, Sony says. ®