Those of you itching to take arms in the epic struggle for Blu-ray glory have a few more options today, as both Buffalo and Optiarc announced that they're shipping their second generation of BD drives. The Buffalo units (pictured) use the Pioneer BDC-202 mechanism we've seen popping up lately, so while they can't author Blu-ray discs, they'll read BD-ROM, BD-R and BD-RE discs at 5x, dual-layer recordable Blu-ray discs at 2x and write to the various CD and DVD formats at 1-32x. The ¥53,000 ($436) BRC-5125U2 is the internal model, while the ¥63,700 ($525) BRC-5125FBS-BK comes in a monolith-looking USB 2.0 external case. Both prices seem a bit high to us, since you'll be able to score the exact same drive labeled as the Pioneer BDC-2202 for like $300 next month, but maybe all that CyberLink software Buffalo bundles is worth the extra coin to you -- after all, it's not like Vista supports Blu-ray out of the box.
On the other hand, if your needs involve Blu-ray authoring, the Sony / NEC joint venture Optiarc's got you covered with the BD-M100A, which we first saw previewed at CeBit. The internal drive writes BD at 2x, DVD at 8x, CD-R at 24x, CD-RW at 16x and reads at speeds up to 32x. Being able to burn BD will set you back, though -- Optiarc says the BD-M100A will cost around £400 ($789) plus VAT -- ouch. Both companies are saying these drives will be available imminently, so better start saving those pennies.
Read - Buffalo BRC-5125U2
Read - Buffalo BRC-5125FBS-BK
Read - Optiarc BDM100A