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Iomega Disk / Zip Disk

What Are Zip Disks?

Looking akin to their 1.44MB floppy disk predecessors, IOMEGA zip disks are sized slighter bigger but armed with the capacity to store over 100 to 700 times more data. The Zip data drive was released in the late 1994 by IOMEGA as a removable storage solution to be used in mainstream IBM PCs and Macintosh computers. At that time, as the choices of storage meida are few, Iomega Zip soon took over the storage market by storm. Due to its proprietary nature, a zip drive is used to access the disks.

Beneath The Technology

There are two distinct features that distinguish a zip disk from a floppy.

A zip disk is manufactured with a high quality magnetic coating which allows its set of read/write head to be significantly smaller compared to that of a floppy. It uses a read head positioning mechanism similar to that used in a hard disk that allows a zip disk to pack thousands of tracks per inch on the track surface hence by providing a higher real density.

Secondly, read and write protection is introduced logically via a password. Unlike a floppy which implements write protection on the hardware level, zip disks contain a software meta data which stores the protection status. Each time a user accesses the disk, the meta data will be processed and enforced by the operating system.

The latest 750MB series supports data transfer rate of about 7.5 MB/s and a 28 milliseconds average seek time as compared to a standard floppy's 500 Kbit/s transfer rate and several-hundred millisecond average seek time. Zip disks are also available in commonly 100MB, 250MB and 750MB sizes.

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