Tagged: Iomega

Iomega Zip 250 (2001 – 2003)

Zip was a high-capacity floppy disk format originally introduced in 1995 by Iomega. Initially, it had a capacity of 100 MB, later increased to 250 MB in 2001, and again to 750 MB in 2002.

The Zip 250 drives were available in a wide variety of interfaces; parallel port, USB 2.0 and FireWire for exernal drives and IDE or SCSI for internal drives.

Although the disks looked identical to Zip 100 disks, they could not be used in the smaller capacity drive and are automatically ejected. They could however be read and written to by the later Zip 750 drives. Zip 250 drives could read and write to the older Zip 100 disks. A variant on the Zip 250, the Zip U250 was also launched in 2001; the U250 disks contained titanium particles in the media to improve the operation of the drives, and were also self-cleaning. The U250 discs were full compatible with Zip 250 drives despite their different shape.

Even before the introduction of the Zip 250, sales of Zip drives had begun falling due to the falling cost of CD-R and CD-RW disks, followed by USB memory sticks.

All Zip variants were discontinued in 2003.

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Iomega Zip 750 (2002 – 2003)

Zip was a high-capacity floppy disk format originally introduced in 1995 by Iomega. Initially, it had a capacity of 100 MB, later increased to 250 MB in 2001, and again to 750 MB in 2002.

The new Zip 750 drives were available in various interfaces; USB 2.0 and FireWire for exernal drives and IDE for internal drives.

Although the disks looked identical to Zip 100 and Zip 250 disks, they could not be used in smaller capacity drives and are automatically ejected. However, Zip 100 discs could be read in Zip 750 drives, and Zip 250 disks can be both read and written to, so users with existing Zip disks could continue to use them. The introduction of the Zip 750 meant that Zip disks had a higher capacity than the competing CD-R or CD-RW disks. However, the cost of Zip 750 disks was much higher than CD-R or CD-RW media, and by the time of its introduction, many PCs had CD burners installed.

The Zip 750 was short-lived as all Zip versions were discontinued in 2003.

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Iomega Zip U250 (2001 – 2003)

Zip U250 was a variant on the Iomega Zip disk, and was launched by Iomega in 2001. Like standard Zip disks, the U250 was a high-capacity floppy disk format.

The Zip U250 had a capacity of 250 MB and was fully compatible with the Zip 250 drive despite its different shape. Its launch followed the class-action lawsuit against Iomega for a type of fault in Zip drives dubbed the ‘click of death’.

The U250 disks contained titanium particles in the media to improve the operation of the drives, and were also self-cleaning. They came with a 10 year warranty, and were supplied in shatterproof cases.

Like the rest of the Zip range, sales declined due to the falling cost of CD-R and CD-RW disks, followed by USB flash drives, and the Zip range was discontinued in 2003.

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Bernoulli disk 5.25-inch (1987 – 1994)

Iomega released the Bernoulli Box II in 1987, replacing the original Bernoulli Box with its 8-inch disks with a smaller version using 5.25-inch form factor disks. Initially offering the same capacity of 20 MB as the original, this was increased over time, and eventually offered 230 MB by the time it was replaced by the Zip disk.

Unlike the original Bernoulli Box, the Bernoulli Box II was available as an internal unit, although it was still available as an external unit with one or two drives in a self-contained case connected via an external SCSI interface.

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Ditto (1992 – 1999)

Ditto was a line of proprietary magnetic tape formats for data storage, introduced by Iomega in 1992. They were based on QIC standards, and different versions of Ditto used either the QIC Minicartridge, Travan, or QIC EX form factors. Some Ditto drives could read other QIC cartridges.

They were designed for use as a backup device for personal computers, and originally offered storage of 250 MB compressed with the Ditto 250 drive. Later the DittoMAX PRO offered up to 10 GB compressed storage.

Both internal and external versions of the tape drive were offered, with the internal version connected through the floppy drive channel (although an accelerator card, the Ditto Dash was also available) and external drive connected through the parallel port. Both versions were slow compared to disk backup.

Iomega discontinued the Ditto line in 1999.

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Iomega Rev (2004 – 2010)

Rev was a removable hard disk data storage system, introduced by Iomega in 2004.

The small cartridges stored 35, 70, or 120 GB uncompressed (much more could be stored compressed) and were based on hard-drive technology with the cartridges containing the platter, spindle, and motor, while the drive heads and drive controller were contained within the drive. The drives themselves were available as internal or external models, or as a server model with a cartridge autoloader.

The drives suffered from poor reliability and high failure rates of both the disk mechanism and external power supply units. Faced with cheaper, smaller, higher capacity and more reliable USB 2.5-inch portable hard drives, Rev was discontinued in 2010.

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Iomega Clik! / PocketZip (1999 – early 2000s)

The Clik! disk (later known as the PocketZip) was introduced by Iomega in 1999, and used small, thin flexible 40 MB disks in a metal casing.

Although produced by Iomega who also produced the Zip disk, it was not related but it was renamed PocketZip after a class-action lawsuit involving the Zip disk and a fault known as the ‘click of death’.

Drives were available to fit laptop PC card slots, as well as externally connected drives. The format was also used in a handful of other devices such as digital audio players and a camera.

Clik! was a commercial failure, suffering competition from solid-state flash memory cards, and was discontinued in the early 2000s.

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Iomega Zip (1995 – 2003)

Zip was a high-capacity floppy disk format introduced in 1995 by Iomega.

It was initially available with 100 MB capacity, with 250 MB and 750 MB versions becoming available later. Higher-capacity drives can read lower-capacity disks. The disks had a retroreflective spot that allowed that drive to recognise the capacity of the disk, and eject it if it was of a higher capacity than the drive.

The drives were available as internal or external drives, with a variety of interfaces.

Zip drives sold well initially due to the low price and high capacity for the time, and were a cheaper alternative to SyQuest disks. In 1998, a class action lawsuit was filed against Iomega over a type of Zip drive failure dubbed the ‘click of death’.

After 1999 sales declined due to the falling cost of CD-R and CD-RW disks, followed by USB memory sticks.

The entire Zip range was discontinued in 2003.

The Zip brand was also used for recordable CD drives.

Preservation / Migration

Bernoulli disk 8-inch (1982 – 1987)

Iomega’s Bernoulli disc was first introduced in 1982 in it’s 8-inch format, and was Iomega’s first widely known product (this was 13 years before they launched the Zip drive). The drive was  known as the ‘Bernoulli Box’ and was a high-capacity removable magnetic disk storage system, using the Bernoulli law in physics to pull a fast-spinning PET disk towards the read-write head, but keep it separated from it by a cushion of air to make the system crash-proof.

At a time when 5.25-inch minifloppy discs held a maximum of 1.2 MB when used in the IBM PC AT of 1983, the Bernoulli Box’s choice of 5, 10 or 20 MB capacity seemed enormous, especially since contemporary hard drives still only held up to 30 MB. A review in 1983 praised the Bernoulli Box system as ’embodying the best of both worlds’ of floppy and hard disks in a hybrid system.

The Bernoulli Box system used large 11 by 8-inch rigid cartridges containing an 8-inch flexible disk which span at 1,500 rpm. It was somewhat more reliable than a contemporary hard disk drives, since a head crash was impossible; a power cut or knock to the drive would cause the disc to move away from the head rather than towards it. A review of 1985 conducted several ‘bump tests’ to see how crash-proof the drive was, and found that even dropping the table from a height of 1 foot did not cause any data loss.

Due to the size of the drives, these were external devices, connected to an IBM PC via a controller card or to an Apple Macintosh via the communications ports.

Disks were inserted into the drive, and a latch turned to lock it in place. The disk could not be removed from the drive until it span down and the latch can then be released. Drives required cleaning, and a cleaning cartridges was available, and the heads needed replacing periodically (despite not touching the disk surface).

The Bernoulli Box was expensive, and in 1987 cost more than many PC clones. The cartridges alone cost $79 in 1985, but at the time there were no other options for the amount of removable storage offered by a Bernoulli Box, unless you were happy to use tape drives which were very much slower. A review of 1985 suggested the Bernoulli Box was faster than hard drives on the IBM PC XT and not noticeably slower than the hard drive of the IBM PC AT.

It was replaced by the Bernoulli Box II that used 5.25-inch form factor disks and eventually offered larger capacities of up to 230 MB.

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Iomega Jaz (1996 – 2002)

Introduced by Iomega in 1996, the Jaz disk was a removable hard-disk storage system, that initially had a capacity of 1 GB (a 2 GB version was released in 1998). They were formatted for PC or MAC use.

It was never as popular as the smaller Zip drive also produced by Iomega, and this could have been due to the increasing use of CD-R and CD-RW.

Jaz drives were discontinued in 2002.

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Preservation / Migration