First HD DVD drive for desktop PCs

Buffalo's drive is versatile but demanding and expensive

It seems as if something like this must have been announced long ago but, apparently, Buffalo Japan 's new high-definition HD DVD-ROM drive for desktop PCs is the first such player in the world.

The HDV-ROM2.4FB will be on sale in Japan by the end of December and uses a standard ATAPI connection to slot into a desktop PC setup. Windows XP SP2 is needed as well as a pretty powerful system.

The listed hardware requirements are, at least a 3.2GHz Pentium D CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 256MB graphics card and a DVI or HDMI output. Naturally, you'll need a high-definition screen to make the exercise worthwhile.

The drive plays back dual-layer HD DVD-ROM discs, single-layer HD DVD-R and pretty much everything else right back to CD-ROM.

However, the asking price of ¥38,850 (£170) is pretty steep, particularly when considering that Microsoft's HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 costs around half that. We suggest waiting a few months for other players to arrive and push the price down. J Mark Lytle