|★ HARDWARE ★ PERIPHERIQUES ★ Concern grows over cheap imported disks ★|
|Disquette - Concern Grows Over Cheap Imported Disks|Amstrad Action)||Hardware Peripheriques|
Over the past six months there has been a steady influx of cheap 3-inch disks from the Far East. The average price for ten is £15 and in bulk quantities the price per disk can be less than £1. Amsoft or Maxell disks retail for around £24.95 in boxes of ten. In higher quantities this comes down to about £1.50 each.
The cheap disks are recognizable by a circular pattern stamped into their plastic surround. They also come in a variety of colours black, blue and light brown. Zone-four, located at Welwyn Garden City in Herts, import the disks directly from the Far East. Sandra Herbert told us, "As part of the quality-control procedure, the disks arrive from the Far East pre-formatted. They come in two forms, either single-sided or double-sided. We then sell them on as either unbranded or under our own label, Mimic."
Although high street chains frown upon such disks and stick rigidly to Amsoft and Maxell, several software houses are adopting the budget 3-inchers.
Mark Norsworthy. production manager at the duplicating firm Interceptor, estimates that they get through 25.000 budget disks a month. "Out of these", he said, "we have under 1% of rejects." Norsworthy did admit that the disks were of lower quality, but as the market was so competitive he couldn't afford Amsoft or Maxell. "If you give people the choice of paying £1 50 for Amsoft or £1 for these other disks, they'll go for the cheaper ones every time."
Ocean's chairman. David Ward, held a different view He told us that Ocean don't use cheap disks and were unlikely to do so in the future, "They are of extremely low quality; it wouldn't be worth our time or trouble having to replace so many faulty goods."
Mike Mordecai at Amsoft was aware of the cheap disks, and when quizzed as to whether these imports were affecting sales of Amsoft disks replied, "We have noticed no drop in sales. If people want reliable disks, they'll pick Amsoft every time."
Of the cheap disks we've had in the office these have been amongst the faults demonstrated: a disk only works on one machine, horrible noises when being read, totally unreadable, and no indication of whether they're single or double sided. Some disks have worked okay, though, as yet. we don't think we've tested a large enough sample to be sure of the results.
If you have problems with any disk, return it to wherever you obtained it. If large numbers of returns start occurring due to faulty disks, you can bet the software houses will sort things out fairly sharpish.