ALi Corporation (formerly Acer Laboratories) has become the first company to ship a 20x DVD-ROM single chip, the M5721, taking the lead over competitors that are still shipping 16x products. ALi has also started shipping a small volume of CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive combo chipsets.
The company, however, was low key about its triumph, only saying the chips would help increase shipments next year. Industry sources said that ALi does not want to irritate rival Mediatek, which recently filed a lawsuit against VIA Technologies alleging US patent infringements.
The M5721 features 20x read speed and integrates a servo chip and RF amplifier, allowing DVD drive makers to add only external DRAM, flash ROM and a power controller, significantly reducing the circuit design complexity and cutting production costs.
ALi said shipments of its combo chipsets, supporting 48x and 24x CD-RW write and 16x DVD-ROM read speeds, are small, between 3,000 and 5,000 units a month. The company expects monthly shipments to grow to 30,000 and 50,000 units a month beginning at the end of the year. According to industry sources, Samsung Electronics is using ALi’s chipsets in its latest combo optical storage drives.
ALi said it has priced its chips and chipsets according to the market standard. It reiterated that it will not slash prices to be more competitive. Currently, 16x DVD-ROM chips cost US$7-8 and combo drive chipsets US$12-15.