Storage to Go

by Steve Bennett

IBM Microdrive
Rating 98

A penny for your thoughts? How about a quarter for your data? That’s the internal size of IBM’s incredible Microdrive removable hard disk, which now boasts a capacity of one gigabyte.

This marvel of miniaturization is designed to fit into an industry-standard CF+ Type II slot, making it ideal for disk space-hungry digital cameras (holds about 1,000 high-resolution photos), Internet music appliances (stores roughly 18 hours of music), and PDAs. An inexpensive optional extender (about $20) quickly converts the 1GB Microdrive into a full-sized PCMCIA card, so it can be used as secondary laptop storage.

The drive is compatible with numerous card readers; IBM posts a list on its Web site. Other readers not on the site might be compatible with the Microdrive, but check with the reader manufacturer before making a purchase.

While the 1GB drive isn’t the first in IBM’s Microdrive series, it is the largest capacity to date and offers the best value (340 and 512MB versions are also available). In addition to upping the density, IBM also improved the drive’s shock resistance and performance. Though the case is the same as the first-generation model, the new Microdrive can withstand rougher treatment. It also offers a 25 percent faster sustained data transfer rate.

In addition, road warriors will appreciate the 17 percent reduction in power consumption of the 1GB Microdrive. The biggest power savings occur during idle and standby modes.

The convenience, size, and speed of the 1GB Microdrive make it a great backup device when on the road and a great accessory for digital cameras, PDAs, or laptops. Laptop users will have no more excuses for not backing up critical files! All in all, a terrific technological achievement.

PROS: size; speed; convenience
CONS: none obvious

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.
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