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Review of the Iomega 250 MByte IDE Zip Drive

"Floppy" drives just got bigger, again...  Iomega's new 250 MByte internal IDE Zip drive packs still more storage capacity and speed into a package which is physically the same size as it's predecessor and a little longer than a 3 1/2 floppy drive.  Of course, it presently costs about 2 1/2 times as much as the 100 Mbyte version.

INCLUDED.  This is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer--a company that manufactures computers, etc.) product.  As such, the drive, in its anti-static bag, arrived here unpackaged with a CD and one 250 MByte Zip disk.  You would think that at around $200.00 per drive, Iomega would at least include a jumper to set the drive as a Master drive.  But, no, it doesn't and neither do the 100 MByte IDE Zips I have been getting.  This is a real cheap shot!  Installation instructions  and screws to mount the drive would also be nice additions.  The CD does include a User's Manual.  According to Iomega's web site, there is now a boxed retail version of this drive.

INSTALLATION.  As I installed the software, I was begging to think Iomega finally had it's act together in this department.  The drivers and software installed without a hitch and allowed assignment of drive letters to the Zip and CD-ROM, and didn't insist on making the Iomega drive a floppy drive.  Alas, upon boot-up the system with an EpoX MVP3G motherboard locked-up.  The problem turned-out to be Via's Bus Master driver.  I replaced the Via Bus Master with the stock Windows 98 version of the VIA Bus Master driver and the Zip got along with it.  But, right after booting-up, Windows would just sit for minutes with an hour glass before responding to the Start button, etc.  To fix that problem, I went into Accessories, System Tools, System Information, Tools, System Configuration, Startup, and turned-off the following Iomega stuff:

  • Iomega Watch
  • Refresh
  • Iomega Startup Options
  • Iomega Disk Icons

For optimum performance, be sure to turn-on DMA after installing the drive.  Go to the Control Panel, System, Device Manager, double click the drive, click the Settings tab, and check the DMA check box.

PERFORMANCE.  Iomega/s web site states that the drive's data transfer rate is 2.4 MBytes/sec. max.  Who besides Iomega really cares about the maximum transfer rate?  How fast it when moving 100 Mbytes from a hard disk to a Zip disk?  Well, about 1 MByte/Sec.  Or about 67% faster than the 100 MByte Zip.


Transfer Rates in MBytes/sec. for Various Kinds of Disk Drives

BOTTOM LINE.  As production ramps-up, this drive should supplant the 100 MByte version and the price will probably drop.

NOTE.  The 250 MByte Zip drive can read and write 100 MByte Zip disks, but the 100 MByte Zip drive cannot read and write 250 MByte Zip disks.

Larry

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.