updated 12:25 pm EDT, Fri September 29, 2006
HP External HD DVD Drive
The final hardware updates made today by HP include two new USB 2.0 drives for avid video enthusiasts. Most important of these is the HD100 (PDF), an external HD DVD drive that can read the newer discs at 2.4X as well as DVDs at 5X and CDs at 14X. The drive is completely powered by the USB bus and includes a special version of CyberLink's PowerDVD that plays HD DVD movies. HP says that a minimum of a single-core 3.2GHz Pentium 4 and a GeForce 7600 or Radeon X1600 video card to play movies at their native 1080p. The HD100 will be available soon but hasn't received a price.
Lastly, HP began shipping its new Pocket Media Drive, which is designed as a convenient way of backing up music, photos, and videos on a regular basis. It uses a 2.5-inch laptop hard drive to store either 80GB or 120GB of data in a portable form. Certain HP Pavilion desktops can actually mount the drive in a dedicated slot instead of connecting through a USB cable. A copy of Sonic's Back Up My PC is included and helps owners automate media backups as well as password-protect stored files. HP says the new drive is shipping immediately at prices of $150 (80GB) and $220 (120GB).