Speedy Ro Ms

NEC Corp.'s MultiSpin 4X Pro CD-ROM reader took top honors in a test of some two dozen CD-ROM drives, conducted by NSTL, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc., BUSINESS WEEK's publisher. With so-called data transfer rates of 600 kilobytes per second, the "quad-speed" unit is four times faster than the single-speed CD-ROM drives that first hit the market and twice as fast as the double-speed drives that are now common. But at a list price of $1,120, NEC's drive is more costly than any other model tested--and more than four times the price of the highly rated double-speed Mirror CD-ROM drive. Still, the fastest drives are already getting affordable. In June, Plextor unveiled the quad-speed 4PLEX line, at $549 for an internal drive, $649 for an external version. The new line was not included in NSTL tests.

TOP-RANKED CD-ROM READERS
      Models                  List price
      NEC MULTISPIN 4X PRO    $1,120
      DEC RRD44-DA               549
      LEGACY CD-ROM 2X           575
      MIRROR CD-ROM DRIVE        259
      PLI CD-ROM MS              743
      DATA: NATIONAL SOFTWARE TESTING LABORATORIES
      
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