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Advance Reported in Data Storage : Technology: Pinnacle Micro of Irvine is set to unveil an optical drive that can hold much more at a much reduced price.


IRVINE — Pinnacle Micro Inc. is scheduled to unveil a new product today that could make optical storage a cheaper, more effective alternative for personal computer users.

The Irvine company's new storage drive can hold more than three times the data and costs less than similar products on the market, according to company officials and industry sources.

"We have built what people want," said Scott A. Blum, executive vice president and co-founder of Pinnacle Micro. "Before, optical solutions were too limited and too expensive. We have overcome that now."

Pinnacle Micro's optical storage system sold as late as January for $2,995 and stored 1.3 gigabytes, or about 700,000 pages of single-spaced text. The new system, according to the company, will give the user 4.6 gigabytes. The product, which is scheduled to hit the market in September, will carry a retail price of $1,695, Blum said.

Computer data originally was stored on magnetic tape, which has been replaced by the magnetic disk drives common to desktop computers.

Magnetic disks are still superior to optical disks for most tasks, said Robert Katzive, an analyst for Disk/Trend, a Mountain View, Calif. market research firm.

"Magnetic disks are still cheaper and faster," said Katzive. "Software programs are so complex today, you have to have speed." He pointed out that the advantage of optical disks is that they are an inexpensive way to store a lot of information on fewer disks.

Blum predicted the new optical disk drive, Apex 4.6 GB, will push Pinnacle's revenue over the $100-million mark this year, compared to about $70 million in 1994.

Cypress-based MOST Inc. recently began shipping an optical disk that offers 2.6 gigabytes of storage, or about 1.4 million pages of text, for a retail price of $2,000.

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