Sony Electronics announced on Tuesday its third-generation internal Blu-ray optical drive, the BWU-300S. The new drive reads Blu-ray media and writes single- and dual-layer BD-R discs at up to 8x speed (36MB per second).
At this speed, it burns a full 25GB disc (single layer) in about 15 minutes and a full 50GB disc (dual layer) in about 30 minutes. While these numbers are big, this is probably as fast as computer-based Blu-ray recording can get due to the fact that the discs can spin only so rapidly (almost 10,000 RPM for 8x operation). In addition, the BWU-300S also writes DVDs at up to 16X, CDs up to 48x, and supports DVD-RAM recording. The drive, however, still writes DB-RE media at the sluggish 2x speed.
As expected, the BWU-300S doesn't support HD DVD playback, which makes it a little less desirable than the Blu-ray drives that Plextor released a while ago.
On the other hand, the new Sony drive comes with a bonus. You'll get a full-featured Men in Black Blu-ray movie disc bundled with the BWU-300S, which otherwise can be had from Amazon for about $15.
The Sony BWU-300S drive ships with CyberLink's software suite for capturing, authoring, editing, burning and viewing high-definition personal content. It features 8MB of cache memory, SATA interface and standard 5.25-inch form factor that fits any desktop PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista. The drive will be available in October for an estimated $400.