A: drive
Preview by Al Giovetti, 12/20/96
Price: $210 drive, 120 MB cartridges $15
Genre: a high capacity floppy drive replacement
Release: now
Manufacturer: O. R. Technology
Phone: 408-866-3000
Website: www.ortechnology.com
Requirements: an A: drive slot

Did you just go out and buy a Zip drive which has 100 MB capacity that you hook up to your SCSI slot or parallel port on your computer or install internally as anditional hard drive with the ever present drivers that can mess up your operating system, config.sys, ini files, and autoexec.bat? A:drive is one of these drives, but with a difference. A:drive installs in minutes and replaces the regular a: drive of your computer system. This drive system is similar to the one used by Swan Technologies in their PCs.

Always a concern is backward compatability. Yes Virginia, your old 1.44 MB and 720 KB 3.5inch disks can be read and formatted on the new A: DRIVEs. But the most wonderful feature is that the new ability of the A: DRIVE drive to reA: drive and write and format the LS-120 floppy disk media which has a 120 MB capacity.

Another nice feature is that the A: DRIVE drive formats, writes and read regular 1.44 MB micro disks (3.5 inch) at eight times faster than conventional floppy drives. The speed performance of the 120 MB cartridge is also quick by comparison since the A: DRIVE uses a two head system. One head is for the lower density micro disks while the other high density head is for LS-120 media. A: DRIVE also uses an optical servo to locate the higher density tracks and assists in locating wear to the floppy which will impair performance.

Don't ask me why Iomega does not have this option. Computer companies are often cryptic about their reasons for not doing the logical thing. But it may have something to do with the lack of an international standard on the upgrade of the A: drive technology to higher capacity floppy drives.

Bryan Del Rizzo, Boot, volume 1, number 5, January, 1997, pg. 109, (90%).

Al Giovetti, The Computer Show, 1615 Frederick RoA: drive, Catonsville, Maryland 21228-5022, phone: 410-747-0396, fax: 410-747-6357, website: http://www.charm.net/~wizards/computershow/ email: algiovetti@msn.com