Iomega pushes zip drive storage to 750MB

Iomega pushes zip drive storage to 750MB


Tired of slicing and dicing your backups into 100MB or 250MB chunks to fit on your Zip disks? No need anymore: Iomega is now shipping its first 750MB drive.

Using a USB 2.0 interface, this external drive offers data rates comparable to a still-theoretical 50x/50x/50x CD-RW drive, according to the company. That means it could write to archive, rewrite, and read at 50x speeds (about 7.5MB per second).

High-speed backups, plus the venerable Zip disk cartridge's rugged dependability, should make the new drive a good alternative to the nearly ubiquitous CD-RW drives, company executives said. An industry analyst agrees, and said he expects Iomega's numerous and loyal fans to embrace the new technology.

In order to squeeze more data onto a disk the same size as Iomega's existing 100MB and 250MB products, engineers worked to dramatically improve the track density of its flexible media, said David Greenhalgh, Iomega's worldwide product manager, future products.

In addition, the company improved the drive's internal transfer processes, including its chip set, software algorithms, and channel efficiencies. To utilise USB 2.0's faster throughput, the drive also spins the flexible media inside the cartridge considerably faster than the older units did, resulting in the maximum throughput of up to 7.5MB per second, he said.

As with previous Zip upgrades, the new drive can read existing 250MB and 100MB disks. However, it can write only to the 250MB versions, not the 100MB variety. And as with the 250MB version, writing to the preceding generation of media should be a painfully slow process.

Despite using USB 2.0, which can draw power from the PC, the new drive requires a separate power supply, Greenhalgh said. That's because the drive needs more juice to operate than the USB 2.0 specification allows vendors to draw through the port. Iomega hopes to eventually eliminate the need for the power cord, he said.

Besides the new USB 2.0 drive, Iomega plans to roll out several other versions of the drive in coming months. A Zip 750MB FireWire drive is scheduled to ship this year and an internal ATAPI version will also be available.

Iomega has shipped more than 48 million drives and 300 million disks since it launched the first Zip drive in March 1995, the company said. It has no plans to discontinue its 100MB and 250MB drives.

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