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SCSI Zip drive

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My guess. Not that many SCSI Zip drives were sold, and most of them have been scrapped by now. So there is a very limited supply. 

Edited by redrouteone

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I pick em up for about $5 or less at local thrift stores. Some are parallel, but I bought a couple Mac SCSI units and a few "Plus" ones. I think I have about 6 of em now. If you are looking on eBay, people do ask to much. So look for the "Plus" ones. Seems "SCSI" is some magic term. The Plus ones can do both parallel and SCSI.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ONE-ORIGINAL-IOMEGA-100-PLUS-SCSI-PARALLEL-PORT-ZIP-PLUS-DRIVE-PC-OR-MAC-/112235911514

Edited by unity

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How expensive is "so expensive"?

 

 

A bunch of them died or got scrapped when the click of death thing happened in the late '90s. Confidence in the technology dropped massively at almost exactly the wrong time, because Zip was cheapest and had the biggest installed base of the big alternative storage format options. Iomega could probably have made the case for large institutional purchases of the media and drives, as a way to let students/employees easily carry data around in a post-floppy era, but it was still more expensive than many wanted to spend, and it was far from being a real "standard" in that there were always going to be people who didn't adopt, and it was inconvenient to use a zip drive temporarily on somebody else's computer. Possible, but not convenient.

 

I'm sure a whole heck of a lot of SCSI examples existed, but zip250 came along and eventually people started using CDs and other stuff. Often peripherals like this got kept and used for a few generations of machine, as well, so somebody who bought a zip100 in 1994 for, say, their LC580 or PowerMac 6100 probably kept it in use on their 6500 and then their beige G3. It may have been worthwhile for them to get a SCSI card for their G3/G4/G5 and use it on that system as well.

 

Zip was one of the most popular "bigger than floppies" removable media systems, ever. I don't have numbers, but I'm betting a fair number of Mac users had them. Probably, proportionally more Mac users (as a percentage of the Mac user base) than PC users (as a percentage of that user base). The biggest trouble is that you're talking about the most popular drive of an expensive genre of technology among a group that never really made up more than 10% of the installed/sales base of computers for the time that type of device was popular.

 

Back in the day when I was picking from giant piles of Quadras for $5 a pop, I still never had an external hard disk, a big monitor, an AEK/AEKII, literally any kind of removable external cartridge or tape media system, or anything of that nature, simply because they were all still expensive. People kept that stuff and used it with their newer machines wherever possible, and that was generally possible from SCSI devices for the Plus in 1986 all the way up to the beige G3s in 1998, further if you added PCI SCSI cards.

 

Later on, without machines to use them on, I'm betting stuff like this just got tossed or donated, but without the context of a machine, eventually got dumped.

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I figured this might be a good place to ask this question...do SCSI Zip and Jaz drives require termination or do they self-terminate? I have a SCSI card in my G3 but no terminator so I haven't tried it.

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I've got internal Zip 250s in all my PCI/ATA PowerMacs. I've got the Zip 750 kit for the MDD, but the drive itself will be swapped with the more compatible Zip 250. I've got a couple of internal SCSI drives for special machines and use external SCSI drives to swap around for the rest of my Macs.

 

Best Sneakernet (especially cross platform) solution ever! CD/RW killed off the market for the Zip drive. Apple stopped offering it (read bezels for it) as an option when the MDD rolled out, so Imega built my Zip 750 kit themselves for the MDD.

 

I even bought a pair of Zip 250 drives mounted to an ATA<->SCSI adapter plate. Worked great until it was time to shut down, hanging the process and forcing a brute force power switch shut down. Interestingly, these drives were made by a PC upgrade mfr. Zip had penetrated vertical markets in the PC/Workstation world far enough to warrant production of such a device.

 

I've got a couple of USB units, one of which is installed on my dedicated WebWorkstation. It makes file transfers with the Quicksilver graphics production machine a breeze.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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I would argue it was flash drives that killed the market for further development on Zip. The 750 shipped in late 2002, and almost certainly what ultimately did it in for good was that Travan tapes were still available with a much higher capacity, but lower speed, for "backups" and that flash drives became available in 2003, and made muuuuuch more sense than burning a CD or DVD to move files.

 

CD/DVD burning was a huge pain everywhere on the body and it was a huge process that often completely dominated the computer. It wasn't something you could do last minute in the morning before the school bus showed up.

 

I kind of wish Zip750 had lasted a little longer, but I think what happened is people got used to the idea that there were different types of external media for different things. It's easy to schedule a weekly cd/dvd burn of a backup of a small data folder or a removal of stuff you no longer want on your computer. Then, keep "working files" you need to move back and forth all the time on your flash drive. Zip750 was faster and the media was rated to last much longer than plain CD/DVD media as well.

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I found some more information about Zip750 online. Also, more thoughts, because why not? I remember at the time thinking Zip750 drives and media looked very cool, like they would look good with the Power Macintosh G5 or a TiBook.

 

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/2389304106/iomega750mbzip(More or less, a press release.)

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/generation,567.html(Technical review)

 

The drives themselves were (All USD as of late 2002) $150 for an ATAPI internal, $180 for a USB 2.0/1.1 drive, and $200 for a Firewire drive.

 

The 750MB media, in an 8-pack, was $12.49/disk, so you're talking about $100 for a bulk pack of media. That's 6 gigs of total storage. 250 and 100 media was still on sale, for less, presumably for people keeping those drives.

 

The 750 drive could read and write 250 media and could read 100 media. I'm presuming Iomega's thought was if you were moving entirely to 750 cartridges, you'd just copy stuff onto your computer and then back onto new 750 media. If you weren't moving entirely to 750, you may have kept a 100 or a 250 drive available to write the 100 media.

 

The technical review indicates that performance was "okay". It was nowhere near Iomega's claim of 50x50x50x performance, relative to CD read/write speeds, but that it was respectable nevertheless, especially for the convenience and durability you were getting.

 

Their final verdict was that Zip750 is overpriced, but I don't think in 2002 anybody was buying these to save money on anything. It was going to be purely for a better or more productive workflow.

 

There was backup, archiving, and syncing software included in the kit, I don't know how many people ended up using these tools. It could be useful if it helped you keep track of a particular piece of media that a particular file is on, but I'm imagining most people archiving stuff just wrote an approximation on the label

 

I'm guessing that anybody who could afford Zip750 probably also had a CD burner (unless they were upgrading an older computer, a laptop, an early iMac, etc) and at the time, the perceived infinite durability of writeable CD media, as well as the lower cost, would make that more suitable for archival. Certain software like Toast eventually gained the ability to create multi-disc archives, so you could put very large directory structures in place onto several CDs or DVDs. I don't know if Iomega's software did anything like that.

 

Sometimes I very briefly lament the death of small transportable cartridges. A similar-in-spirit system meant for backups called RDX exists, but that's really entire 2.5-inch SATA hard disks in ruggedized enclosures that plug into a special dock. On the other hand... a yearly subscription to a terabyte of data now costs less than just buying a 1TB USB external hard disk, which themselves are also very inexpensive.

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The SCSI Zip has a switch on the back for termination on/off. Also a switch to toggle between ID 5 or 6.

My Jaz drive is set to 4, and the Term switch is set to A, with I, A, and C as choices. Don't know what that means.

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Jaz termination switch should be: I (on)  A (automatic) and O (off)

Maybe part of the O rubbed off or something to look like a C

 

I've been thinking about it, and it seems that Zip drives were plentiful at my thrift stores a couple of years ago, mostly parallel and mostly costing about $5 and mostly missing their power adapters.  But good SCSI drives were available from time to time for not much money.  These seem to have dried up this past year, and I'm not sure I've seen one at all in the past six months.  A pity.

I mostly saw 100mb parallel, then 100mb scsi, then usb 250mb.  I don't think I saw any 750mb at all.

Edited by sstaylor

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I would argue it was flash drives that killed the market for further development on Zip. The 750 shipped in late 2002, and almost certainly what ultimately did it in for good was that Travan tapes were still available with a much higher capacity, but lower speed, for "backups" and that flash drives became available in 2003, and made muuuuuch more sense than burning a CD or DVD to move files.

 

CD/DVD burning was a huge pain everywhere on the body and it was a huge process that often completely dominated the computer. It wasn't something you could do last minute in the morning before the school bus showed up.

 

I kind of wish Zip750 had lasted a little longer, but I think what happened is people got used to the idea that there were different types of external media for different things. It's easy to schedule a weekly cd/dvd burn of a backup of a small data folder or a removal of stuff you no longer want on your computer. Then, keep "working files" you need to move back and forth all the time on your flash drive. Zip750 was faster and the media was rated to last much longer than plain CD/DVD media as well.

A combination of CDR burners getting cheap (along with media) and reliability issues killed ZIP drives. ZIP 100 was everywhere, the larger capacity models were rare. DVD burners put the nail in the coffin on ZIP. Flash drives are what killed CDR and DVDr.

 

The most common external ZIP was the Parallel port model, SCSI was much rarer.

 

For playing with vintage machines that are not networked an external ZIP drive is useful especially since all the old Macs have SCSI built in anyway.

Edited by Unknown_K

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If that was the case, Zip would have died in the late 90s when those reliability issues (which were really problems with a specific batch of media, if I remember correctly) surfaced.

 

Zips lasted in the marketplace a long longer than that. 750 failed to catch on because it was only available for a few months ahead of flash drives, but new 250 drives and 100/250 media were available longer than the 750 was.

 

The other advantage zip carried forward in comparison with most, if not all, other superfloppy and several of the gig-plus cartridge formats is that it did work with pre-USB Macs. A lot of the other formats required USB, even though there was, say, a parallel port LS-120 drive.

 

At this point though, almost anything (or actually anything, depending) on the Mac side of things that can have a Zip drive connected can be connected to a server set up properly with netatalk anyway, so I'm not too concerned about needing a zip drive.

 

A Pi with a2server or the ipnetgw software and a localtalk bridge is probably going to be a better long term investment anyway. The other potential advantage zip might have is if you could boot from it, which might make the need for floppies a little less urgent.

 

 

I also don't really think flash drives killed cdr/dvdr. Honestly, I was still burning optical media way after I stopped regularly carrying flash drives. Dropbox met the need flash drives were using quickly-ish, but cloud had yet to become a good replacement for clearing stuff off the local computer from time to time.

 

Today that stuff ends up just getting dropped onto the file server or onto external USB hard disks, but I've been tentatively looking back into blu-ray as a way to get certain things off my main storage areas.

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I still burn CDs mostly because I need to support my old relics, most people don't need to do that. Every computer user seems to have different needs with respect to storage and portability. I was late to flash drives because I didn't need to move files out of the house much (at least nothing that was too big to email). I knew people who did walk around with flash sticks because they kept their whole OS on the thing and booted public machines off of it. I don't think too many people here got into tape drives but I find them interesting and usable for offline backup.

 

While ZIP lasted quite a while after the 90's it was mostly because people and companies had invested in them so they kept buying media and drives as needed. The only reason I got a zip drive in the late 90's was because it was easier to move files home from work (work didn't get a CDRW till 2000ish), I had a CDR at home before then. Tech companies back then were really not that into people being able to dump 100's of files on a ZIP and walk out the door anyway.

 

There are PCMCIA LS-120 drives (I have one). When you collect laptops removable media drives become collectable as well. I think I can thank Apple for sticking a ZIP drive into so many PPCs that make still using the media useful.

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Tape is super intriguing, and when you go look at stuff in 2002, there was a new Travan format that was introduced in that year, which allowed for 20-40 gigs of information on a tape. It was slow, but there's some amount of coverage on it in mainstream computer publications in the late '90s and the early 2000s. MacWorld or MacAddict reviewed a Travan drive with an iMac G3 and a Power Macintosh G4, for example. (They complained about backups taking literally all night.)

 

I could never get into burning CDs for daily needs because it was always such a huge pain. There was less of a need when I eventually got some Zip100 stuff, and my own high school still had some Zip infrastructure available, but I also eventually got a printer at home and it was much easier just to do my printing at home.

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Hard to get around OS install CDs so I had to burn them, but for most other things Ethernet is the way to go at home which is why I had hubs/switches/network cards since the 90's.

 

While I liked QIC tapes when the 386 was king, I hated the super extended Travan drives and tapes because they were so slow (granted some were made into SCSI interface but most were tape controller based). QIC lasted a very long time actually, it morphed into SLR sold by Tandberg. I have a Tandberg SCSI SLR100 drive and tapes, 50GB native and not too slow either.

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I think Travan was slow whatever you connected it to. That, and relatively limited capacity compared to DLT, were probably the things that made it semi-suitable for the home/SOHO office markets, and as an individual desktop backup tool. Before long, you could just buy an external USB hard disk that matched or was bigger than the one internally to your computer, probably for less than what Travan gear cost, and that plus burnable DVDs almost certainly killed any further notion of tape at home.

 

Tape still exists, but it's not something you can go out to the Egghead or CompUSA to buy in person.

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The other potential advantage zip might have is if you could boot from it, which might make the need for floppies a little less urgent.

 

Not long ago we had threads about installing internal Zip 100 drives into Compact Macs set up so as to not eject media at shutdown. They were used as replacements for the slow, anemic 20MB-80MB HDDs shipping in that era.

 

Later we moved on to using modern 2.5" SCA Server HDDs as monstrously oversized HDDs for Macs in the II series and Quadras.

 

Now we're moving on to SCSI-SD and SSD solutions. Storage solutions both fixed and portable evolve, even in time capsule environments like ours.

 

 

p.s. unless your machines are mostly in a permanent setup, networking is a lot less convenient than SneakerNet over Zip, most especially so for the old Compacts or the IIsi where NIC pricing is prohibitive. With Zip you just rock and roll. PhoneNet just trundles along, but it was WAY cool back in its time. :approve:

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At this point, I would probably rather use LocalTalk on systems like the 1400 and IIsi (although, my IIsi, if it still works, has a riser card and a networking card of some sort) than bother with sneakernetting if it wasn't absolutely necessary. If I did have to use sneakernet, I'd probably end up either gravitating back toward Zip, because there's just so much of it and it's near universally compatible, or getting some newer EZ135 cartridges and another mechanism or two.

 

I'm still wary of those hot high-speed SCSI disks in most smaller Mac enclosures. I've had modern Macs kill much more modest disks of heat exhaustion, and enterprise disks, while they have some more durability (not necessarily all of it) were still meant specifically for environments where "cool" air was flowing directly over them on its way into the server. In bigger systems, fans and a general ability to radiate heat away from themselves should help a lot. Placing them in a SCSI enclosure with a fan should help a lot as well.

 

But, what I meant about booting wasn't necessarily (at least in all cases) using it as fixed storage, but rather, to use it as a way to install the OS and a bunch of apps from one piece of media that you can also use on a newer Mac.

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I still make extensive use of ZIP.

 

I was fortunate enough to be given an external SCSI drive, and it has continued to work well for me. I have a nice collection of internal SCSI and ATAPI drives(as spares for installed ones or to add a new one), along with a couple of USB ones.

 

To me, I like the ability to be able to transfer files from my Plus to my MBP running OS X Sierra, and of course every computer in between.

 

Granted Intel Macs lost the ability to write to HFS standard, but a bridge machine in the middle can solve that issue.

Edited by bunnspecial

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