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Even though many computer makers started to offer systems featuring HD DVD drives, those computers could only playback movies in the format, but not record data on those discs. A little less than a year after the first release, Toshiba starts to sell laptops with built-in HD DVD recorder. But will customers bite the currently pretty expensive HD DVDs instead of conventional DVDs?

Toshiba Qosmio G30/97A laptop, which went on sale in Japan several days ago according to IDG News, is an upgraded version of the company’s last year notebook with HD DVD that now features faster processor, larger hard disk drive, HD DVD-R optical drive and higher weight.

The new Qosmio G30/97A comes with 17” screen with 1920x1200 resolution, is based on Intel Core 2 Duo processor 2500 (2.00GHz), features two 320GB hard disk drive, is equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce Go 7600 256MB graphics accelerator, sports 802.11a/b/g network controller, is equipped with integrated TV tuner, 5-in-1 card reader and so on. The main peculiarity of the laptop is its optical drive that allows to playback and record CDs, DVDs, and most importantly, HD DVDs. The previous version of the notebook with no HD DVD burning capability weighs 4.58 kilograms, whereas the new one reportedly weights 4.8 kilograms.

The capability to record new generation DVDs, in fact, does not come for free. The previous-gen machine cost $2999, while the novelty carries the price tag of ?373 365, which is $3158. The recommended price for the U.S. and Europe remains to be seen, but Toshiba reportedly has strong intentions to sell its Qosmio G30 in the rest of the world too.

To coincide with the launch of the new laptop, Hitachi Maxell is putting blank 15GB HD DVD-R media on the market for around ?1500 (approximately $12.7) per disc, according to the report. Given that the price of a conventional single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R from Maxell is around $0.9 in the U.S., then it means that fourteen of such discs may be acquired for $12.7, providing 65.8GB of storage space, or more than four times the capacity that a 15GB HD DVD-R offers. Perhaps, $12.7 HD DVDs will be required for those downloading pirated HD DVDs from the Internet, however, for users seeking for robust and comprehensive optical storage, the HD DVD is not the best option.

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