Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Iomega's Rev 70GB Drive Might Make Tape Obsolete

When Iomega released the Zip drive back in 1995, it set the tech world on its ear. Finally, there was a rewriteable way to back up your hard drive on removable disks without the trouble and expense of tape. The Zip drive eventually disappeared, partially because of problems such as the "click of death" that surfaced later. Now, Iomega is trying again with its Rev hard disk cartridge drive. The Rev 70GB drive is the latest model.

Iomega Rev 70GB Drive

The Rev cartridge hard drive system is made up of a separate drive unit that contains all the sensitive electronics and a separate disk cartridge that contains the disk platter. The idea is that you can you can drop the 2.9 x 3.0 x 0.4-inch, 3-ounce cartridge in your pocket and not worry about damaging it -- unlike all-in-one portable hard drives, the more fragile elements are all contained in the drive unit.

In The Box
Not that the drive portion of the hardware is all that large itself: It measures 6.2 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches (HWD) and weighs in at under a pound. Iomega sells both an internal ATAPI drive and an external USB device (with a separate power cord) suitable for either a PC or a Mac. I reviewed the latter.

According to Iomega, both the drive and the cartridges are manufactured for long-term use. The drive's electronics are capable of sensing and compensating for temperature, barometric pressure, and vibration variations, while Iomega claims that the cartridge alone will survive a four-foot drop onto commercial grade carpet and a five-foot drop if it hits a hard floor while still in its plastic case. Both the drive and disk cartridge are designed to be resistive to dust intrusion. All in all, Iomega has anointed the cartridge with a 30-year shelf life.

Whether or not that's true, I can't help thinking that the actual lifespan is limited more by the market than by the technology -- a case in point being Iomega's remarkable Bernoulli Box, a groundbreaking storage medium from the 1980s that was consigned to history well before its shelf life could have expired.

  • 1