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Storage Wars

Looking for a gigabyte-sized removable drive for backup or file storage? So was TidBITS Contributing Editor Matt Neuburg, so we spent time at Macworld Expo comparing Iomega’s Jaz (1 GB now with a 2 GB drive coming soon), SyQuest’s SyJet 1.5 GB drive, and the forthcoming 2.1 GB Orb drive from newcomer Castlewood Systems. After conversations with company representatives, the differences seem to boil down to the following. The SyJet 1.5 is currently the cheapest, particularly with the $249 show special which includes two cartridges. The 1 GB Jaz drive is the most ubiquitous, with over one million units sold, making it the best choice for compatibility and trading files. And, the new Orb drive (when it ships) will be the cheapest, fastest, and roomiest, plus may have the best reliability due to a simpler mechanism (though the early units of removable drives often have problems). So, for individual backup, the SyJet 1.5 GB appears to be the drive of choice, and the 1 GB Jaz drive looks particularly ideal for those who work with service bureaus or trade large files. The Orb drive, if it lives up to its promises, may supplant the SyJet 1.5 for individual use (especially because its $30 cartridges are significantly cheaper than cartridges for the other two), though it could take time to become popular in service bureaus.


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