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- The disk drive

- Hard disks

- Removable devices
  - up to 250 MB
  - up to 2 GB
  - of more than 2 GB

- Safety copies (backups)

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Juan Herrerías Rey

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Removable devices

We are going to comment now on other devices of storage that do not appear in a standard way in the configuration of a PC... at least for the time being, because as the computer world is ever it is known when they will be so common as the disk drive or the hard disk. They are named removable not because it they turns as to the soup, but because they record the information in supports (discs or cartridges) that can be removed, extract.

The classification alludes to his storage capacity, for being this one one of the principal characteristics that influence the buy or not of one of these peripheral, but to do an intelligent buy there must be born in mind other parameters on that they comment in the explanation as speed, durability, portability and the most important of all: his price.


Devices up to 250 MB of capacity

There are devices that they think about how to offer a substitute of the disk drive, but without becoming a clear option like backup (safety copy) of the whole hard disk. Nowadays many files reach easily the megabyte of size, and that without entering fields like the CAD or the treatment of digital image, where a 10 MB file is not by no means rare.

For it, with these devices we can store easily and quickly every project on a disc or two, in addition to being able to realize selective copies of safety of the information of the hard disk, keeping only the files generated by the applications and you do not programme them in yourself.


Unit Zip de Iomega

Zip (Iomega) - 100 MB

  • Pros: portability, limited format, global, very widespread price
  • Contras: limited, incompatible capacity with diskettes of 3,5"

The units Zip are characterized externally for being of a dark blue color, as the habitual diskettes (they are of all the colors, even some very little serious). These discs are magnetic devices a little major than the 3,5 inches classic diskettes, although much more robust and trustworthy, with a capacity without 100 MB compression once formatted.

This size makes them inappropriate to do safety copies of the finished hard disk, although suitable to file all the files regarding the same topic or project on the only disc. His speed of transference of information does not turn out to be comparable to that of a current hard disk, although tens times are any more rapids than a traditional disk drive (about 1 MB/s for the version SCSI).

They exist in diverse formats, both internal and external. The interns can have interface IDE, like that of a hard disk or CD - ROM, or SCSI; both are quite rapid, the SCSI a little more, although his price is also a Superior.

The external versions appear with interface SCSI (with a yield identical to the internal version) or conectable to the parallel port, without having to do without the printer connected to this one. It can work standing or knocked down, and the only "snag" is that we do not like his extravagant color (the navy blue deep one takes very much for this type of peripheral, but do not ask me about the porqué). The model for parallel port puts the accent in the absolute portability between computers (basting that they have this port, that of printer), although his speed is most reduced of three versions. Very resistant, can be the ideal accompanist of a portable one.

It has had big success, being the standard "of fact" in his segment, despite not being able to do without the disk drive of 3,5 " with which they are not by no means compatible, although his advantages it is possible that they fulfill this disadvantage. The price of the internal version is about 14.000 pts more VAT, with discs I half-close to 1.500 pts.

Certainly, it seems that many of the first units Zip was suffering the so called one "badly of the click", that there was consisting of a defect in the unit reader - tape recorder who, after doing a few ruiditos or "clicks", was destroying the introduced disc; fortunately, this defect is corrected in the current units. In any case, the discs are quite resistant, but obviously they do not go so far as to last what a CD - ROM or a magneto-optic one.


Discs SuperDisk de Imation

SuperDisk LS-120 - 120 MB (Imation/Panasonic)

  • Pros: limited format, global price, compatibility with diskettes 3,5"
  • Contras: slightly limited capacity, minor acceptance than the Zip

These discs are the answer to the more and more common desperation of the user who is going to record his work on a diskette and meets that overcomes the awesome 1,44 MB. It does not matter, put a SuperDisk, which feigns to be a diskette of 3,5 " some more thickness, and it already has 120 MB at his disposal.

Seemingly, this compatibility with the classic diskettes (eye, with the new disk drive, it is not enough to buy to him the superdiskettes) leaves K.O. to the Zip, but this is not like that. The problem is in that the speed of this device, approximately 400 Kb/s, although it is sufficient and it overcomes fully that of a disk drive of 3,5 ", is something less than half of that of a Zip (at least if it is a question of the version SCSI of the Zip).

The unit sells to itself with connection IDE for the internal version or parallel port (that of printer) for the day pupil, that, although she seems less thought for eventful trips that the Zip, it allows to connect it to any computer without major problems. Also, there has just been presented a version USB that does the even more simple installation. If the BIOS of his badge allows it (which only happens with modern badges of a certain quality, for example many for Pentium II) it can form the version enclosed IDE like starter unit, with what he will not need for anything the disk drive of 3,5 ".

His biggest "handicap" resides in having left the Zip like the only option during too much time, but the extra compatibility with the diskettes of 3,5 " and his 20 MB seems that they are changing this situation. If he is going to buy a new computer, it will compensate to him to ask them that to install a SuperDisk to him instead of the disk drive of 3,5 " (remember, if the BIOS it); if not, the decision between Zip and SuperDisk is more difficult, they even cost practically the same.


Unit EZFlyer de SyQuest

EZFlyer (SyQuest) - 230 MB

  • Pros: price of the discs, high capacity
  • Contras: little implantation in Spain

The EZFlyer is the descendant from the EZ135, which 135 MB discs it can use in addition to their own ones of 230 MB. It is a question of it usually name a device Winchester, which in this case is not a rifle but a removable hard disk as it it is the Jaz.

As device of this type, it is tremendously fast: up to 2 MB/s and less than 20 ms of time of access for the version SCSI, a few numbers much over what they are capable of obtaining the Zip and the SuperDisk. To tell truth, it is a question of an excellent product, with the only problem (enormous, of course) of without almost knowing in Spain.

It is not an exclusive problem of the EZFlyer; the SyQuest products in general are but that very little extended in our country and that reverberates in his price, almost 30.000 pts the unit reader - tape recorder, what there are approximately 5.000 pts more than in the USA (and of course it finds it, which can be something difficult). Fortunately the discs, although they accuse this distributors' scarcity, keep on being very cheap: less than 4.000 pts, very low price to have more of the capacity double that a Zip.

Anyway, there is not much any more that to comment: it is a good device, comfortable, transportable, accessible of price and capably already of realizing backups of a finished hard disk, although we keep on needing a considerable discs quantity. It exists in versions SCSI and for parallel port, of which we recommend the SCSI, as always, since that of parallel port allows major transportabilidad but it limits the speed to the half.

Since it is an interesting but not very well-known device, we are going to do an exception and give a pair of distributors' phones across which probably the EZFlyer could be acquired: Mitrol (91 518 04 95) and Sintronic (977 29 72 00). I hope that the information should be useful, owe it to him to Current PC (so I do not want criticism, unless they are of the proper companies, if the correct phone is not not anything for the style, I do not want to get angry: rourghh!!).


Devices up to 2 capacity GB

To these devices it might name them multifunctional; they serve so much to keep big files or projects of organized form, as to realize safety copies of the hard disk of comfortable form and enclosed like substitutes of the second hard disk... or in the extreme, enclosed case of the first one.

We do not include any tape devices which capacity would make them be in this paragraph, since they lack the versatility on that we have commented, being fundamentally peripheral destined to realize backups of the entire disc.


Magneto-optic of 640 MB of Fujitsu

Magneto-optic of 3,5 " - 128 MB to 1,3 GB

  • Pros: high safety of the information, portability, under price of the discs, easy handling
  • Contras: initial investment, little implantation

It is a question of devices that unite the best of both technologies to offer a product with a low cost for stored, quite rapid MB, with an absolutely transportable support and especially lasting: they store his information practically forever, without affecting the most minimal the magnetic fields (the dust, heat, not even moisture, etc, up to a reasonable limit), simultaneously that allows him to re-write his information so many times as he should want.

They are capable of storing up to 1,3 GB on discs very similar to the diskettes of 3,5 " (yes, this way of children) that have a plastic covering to protect them from the blows and the dust, not like the CDs with his surface exposed to involuntary traces of fingers that render useless them.

As soon as the unit was installed, he manages as if it was one more hard disk (without need for any incidental program). There exist discs and 128, 230, 540, 640 MB readership - engraver and 1,3 GB, but at present only those 640 MB are advisable and 1,3 GB (the above mentioned slightly expensive), who also allow to read and write on the discs of minor capacity (except in those of 128 MB, which generally only can be read). Ah, they are not compatible with these pieces of junk that are the 1,44 MB normal diskettes, of course.

His speed is very high, comparable to that of the hard disks of a few years ago, but it has the problem of that the used process forces that the writing is realized to half of the speed of the reading. This way, while almost 2,5 MB/s can be reached in reading (a speed comparable to that of a CD - ROM 24x), the writing remains in about 1 MB/s, with a time of access near to that of a hard disk (less than 40 ms). To correct this problem, Fujitsu (one of the companies that more promote this market) to extracted a few new models with technology LIMDOW (also known simply like OW, for OverWrite) in those that more than 1,5 MB/s one can reach in writing.

The bad of the technology OW is that in addition to a unit recent reader - tape recorder needs special discs, more expensive than the normal ones; but this is not very much a problem, since the discs of 640 classic MB cost some 1.300 pts (with VAT) and the OW less of the double; even the 100 MB Zip are more expensive. A ridiculously low price, in my opinion, for a support that fits in a pocket, is super resistantly and in that it is possible to write thousands of times at one more speed of the double of rapid that in a CDs tape recorder 4x.

His only problems are the price of the unit reader - tape recorder, approximately 30.000 pts more VAT, and his relatively scarce implantation. Although in professional ambiences they are quite common, the true thing is that neither CDs nor games of PlayStation allow to copy...


Tape recorders of CD - ROM - 650 MB

  • Pros: high safety of the information, compatibility, under price of the discs
  • Contras: relatively limited initial investment, capacity and speed

The first thing, to do distinction between tape recorders (those that only allow to record the information once, without then it being possible to write again in the CD) and retape recorders (those that, using the appropriate discs, allow to record them numerous times, theoretically approximately thousand). Anyway every time they remain less recording that there are no also retape recorders, but it is convenient that one reports just in case, obviously there is not the same one that other.

The tape recorders are like readership of CD - ROM but who allow to record in addition to reading. In any type of CD? Not, by no means, for nothing. The commercial CDs, of music or information, are absolutely inalterable, which is one of his advantages. The CDs grabables are special and of two types: CDS-R (Memorable, grabable the only time), which cost approximately 200 pts, and CD-RW (ReWritable, regrabable multiple times) for approximately 1.000 pts.

The ridiculous price of the CDs grabables the only time makes them suitable to store information that are small or not updated at all, as well as to realize small throws of proper software or "safety copies" of commercial software (in fact for what they usually serve it is to pirate software, why to cheat us). The regrabables serve to realize backups of the hard disk or of the most sensitive information to be updated constantly.

The characteristics of this technology determine simultaneously his advantages and his principal problems; the CDs-ROMs, although they are perfect to distribute information for being extended immensely, have never been a speed prodigy, and the tape recorders accentuate this lack. If in the CD - ROM readership one speaks like minimum of 24x (another thing is that this is a lie, in fact the average speed seldom overcomes 1,8 MB/s, them 12x), in these units the recording is realized generally to 4x (600 Kb/s), although they already offer someone 8x or more.

But to reach or to overcome 4x not always is possible, eye, especially if the source of the information is slow or unstable (like a CD - ROM reader). What is more, the reading in the proper engraver usually does not overcome them 16x, therefore it usually use a reader as complement. This does that, although the result is the same way invulnerable to magnetic fields, moisture, etc, turns out to be much more practical to use a magneto-optic device if speed, versatility and major resistance is wished and to leave the CD tape recorders to copy discs and to do safety copies. Clear it is that to pirate software they turn out to be more practical, but there each one with his conscience...

Otherwise, to indicate that the result of the recording on a disc grabable it is possible to read the only time in any not prehistoric reader (let's say one 2x), but the discs regrabables give more problems, and it is not strange that they fail in slightly ancient readership, for example 4x ó 6x, but with modern readership problems do not exist.

To realize a recording of any type it is recommended to possess a relatively powerful team, says an excessive Pentium of RAM (at least 32 MB). To avoid to remain short (what it can prevent from going so far as to record to 4x or spoil the CD for lack of information continuity,) we can buy a tape recorder SCSI, which they give a stabler information flow, have a data source (hard disk or CD - ROM) very rapid, not record straight of CD - ROM to tape recorder (better than CD - ROM to hard disk and then to tape recorder), buy an engraver with a big built-in memory buffer (more of 1MB) or to insure ourselves of that the tape recorder fulfills the norm IPW or better UDF, that facilitate the fluid information recording without errors.

The units only recording are in extinction process, since the retape recorders every time are more accessible, approximately 25.000 pts more VAT in version IDE and approximately 30.000 in version SCSI.


Unit Jaz of 1 GB of Iomega

Jaz (Iomega) - 1 GB ó 2 GB

  • Pros: very high capacity, speed, portability
  • Contras: initial investment, as so resistant as a magneto-optic one, relatively expensive cartridges

The numbers of speed of the Jaz are absolutely amazing, almost indistinguishable of those of a modern hard disk: little more than 5 MB/s and less than 15 ms. The reason of this is easy to explain: every cartridge Jaz is internally, to almost all the effects, a hard disk to which only he lacks the element reader - engraver, that it is in the unit.

For it, it hoards the advantages of the hard disks: big cheap capacity and speed, together with his disadvantages: information sensitive to magnetic fields, durability limited in the time, relative fragility. Any way and without coming to the extreme resistance of the discs Zip, we can qualify this support of hard and trustworthy, although the information will never be so safe as if it was kept in an optical or magneto-optic support.

Applications? Massive storage of information that must keep and recover with the biggest possible speed, which makes it ideal for the edition of digital video (almost one hour in format MPEG); in general, it serves for the same as the hard disks, but with the advantage of his portability and easy storage.

As for defects and criticism, apart from the fact that the information does not last "forever", only it has a handicap: the price. The unit reader - tape recorder of 1 GB costs a respectable money quantity, approximately 40.000 pts, and the discs approximately 12.000 pts. A madness? Does the good thing cost it? Be as it is, it is a professional element, it is not suitable like caprice... or at least for capricious without money.

Certainly: the version of 2 GB completely compatible with the cartridges of 1 GB (but not the cartridges of 2 GB with the unit of 1 GB, very much eye), is slightly more expensive, as what perhaps it does not have so much interest. If you need so much capacity for disc think if him the sorrow will not deserve any more slightly less rapid but more trustworthy like a magneto-optic one of 5,25 ", an investment as this one not every day ago.


Unit SyJet de SyQuest

SyJet (SyQuest) - 1,5 GB

  • Pros: very high capacity, speed, portability, price of the cartridges
  • Contras: initial investment, as so resistant as a magneto-optic one

Again another good SyQuest gafado device in Spain; this world of the computer science is her &%#@, hear! ("the milk", I refer; what atrocity did they believe?). It has 50 more % of capacity that the normal Jaz, the same speed and a price (at least in the USA) identical to of this one, but in our country nobody knows it almost. It will be a thing of the this marketing, I suppose.

Since that: almost identical to the Jaz but with cartridges of 1,5 GB and a minimally low speed, of 5 MB/s and less than 15 ms. It exists with all kinds of interfaces: SCSI, EIDE and enclosed parallel port, but of course do not use it with the latter type of connector or there will have left the speed reduced a fifth one of the stated one, which corresponds to the SCSI (or the EIDE in a powerful computer and without using very much the microprocessor, already he knows).

His price if it finds it (luck, friend; try in the same places where they bandage the EZFlyer) it will be near to that of the Jaz of 1 GB, approximately 40.000 pts, or perhaps approximately 5.000 pts more expensive for that one of being less common (they will say to him that difference jig is for the way, but curiously abroad they do not receive this difference...).


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