|★ HARDWARE ★ LECTEURS DE DISQUETTES ★ DRIVE TIME ★|
|Lecteurs Externe - SD Microsystems - Second Disc Drive (Amstrad Computer User)||Hardware Lecteurs De Disquettes|
The latest offering from SD Microsystems comes under the scrutiny of John Taylor
As the new SD Micros 3.5" drive hits the streets, ACU samples a real high-capacity delight. Most people who have looked into the prospect of fitting themselves out with a 3.5" disc drive will, by now, know of the enormous benefits of these beasts.
The access times for data are quicker, you can store more than double the capacity of the standard 3" discs and, more importantly, the 3.5" discs themselves are a darn sight cheaper and easier to get hold of.
Admittedly, there has always been the initial hurdle of costs to leap over, before being able to access this new found power. The unfortunate problem for 464 owners, is that they will always need to purchase a DDI drive first, enabling the machine to address a second drive properly.
For 6128 owners, however, this does not apply. But, even so, many owners are still cagey about paying out for a new drive and then having to fork out another £20 or £30 for a ROM or ram-based system to access the high capacity performance of the 3.5" disc.
On top of this, a ROM box to sort out your gear will put you even further in the red before you get operating. Of course, extra power does cost you money, you only need to look at the cost of PC equipment to tell you that. So where does the new SD drive fit in with all this?
Well, for just £79.95, not only do you get quite possibly one of the quietest, and neatest, 3.5" drives on the market today, but you also get a high-capacity formatter thrown in absolutely free.
What this means, is that you can no w access up to 800k of disc storage space, without the need for Ramdos or Romdos applications and the entailing extra expense.
Simple to connect to your 6128, all you need to do is plug in the drive and install the free 400k per side software by entering lb at the ready prompt, followed by run"bcode" and then select your option from the extensive menu, allowing you to copy material to and from your drives at will.
Formatting and accessing the second side of your 3.5" disc is a doddle, using the side switch located on the back of the drive to flick between sides one and two, and then using the normal Disckit routine on your cp/m disc to do the rest.
Other features allow you to copy whole discs, while a special wildcard option gives the ability to copy specified and marked files to and from your drives.
Standard 3" mode must be used in cp/m mode, although your data can still be archived onto 3.5" using the file transfer routines provided.
In short, the SD Drive looks great, feels great and is an absolute boon to anyone requiring cheap and extensive storage space. At present, a widget is being worked on to make the drive compatible with the Plus machine and, eventually, those clever people at SD Micros intend to put an end to the 3.5" drive side switch problem with a new switch of their own devising.
Using a special three way switch, with up and down options for the two sides of the disc, as well as a neutral position in the middle for users of Ramdos and Romdos applications, who need to access both sides of double density discs, this new device should be pretty much of a major coup for SD Micros.
In the meantime, the SD Drive forms a pretty major coup in itself and, if you have been put off indulging in a 3.5" drive in the past, for whatever reason, the specifications of this little beauty should make you think again.
As soon as any new developments take place on the drive, we at ACU will be giving it the full lowdown. For now, try dropping Steve Denson a line at the address below for more information about this slimline tonic to your storage power.
John Taylor, ACU #9202