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Castlewood Systems Orb Drive vs Iomega Jaz 2GB Drive Comparison

New:  Castlewood is now shipping a 5.7GB drive!  Approximately $300 (US$) for the drive; about $46 (US$) per 5.7 GB disk in quantities of 5 disks; backwards-compatible with 2.2GB disks; and the drive has similar specifications (similar read/write/transfer rates; a bit slower start/stop times).  See the updated information in the comparison table below.

The Orb Drive stores 2.2GB of data, is about ¾ as fast as a true hard drive, and costs less than most tape drives. Compared to an Iomega Jaz 2GB Drive, it is bigger, faster, and much, much cheaper.  Here is a comparison of the two removable medias.

Items marked "(*)" are based on PC Connection catalog received in early March 1999; items marked "(**)" are based on the manufacturer's web site (internal EIDE version for Orb Drive, unidentified version for Jaz Drive); items marked "(***)" are based upon actual observation of the internal EIDE Orb Drive on the author's Pentium Pro 200MHz, Windows 98 system, or purchasing experience.  Items marked "(****)" are based upon pricing from PC Connection catalog/online purchase in July 2001.

Castlewood Orb 5.7 GB Drive

Castlewood Orb 2.2GB Drive

Iomega Jaz 2GB


5.7 GB (**)

2.2 GB (2,196,258, 816 bytes) (***)

2.002 GB (2,002,000,000 bytes?) (**)

Transfer rate:

17.35 MB/second sustained (**)
66MB/second burst (**)

12.2 MB/second sustained (**)
20 MB/second burst (**)

8.7 MB/second maximum sustained (**)
7.4 MB/second average sustained (**)
4.9 MB/second minimum sustained (**)
20 MB/second burst (**)

Drive cost ($US):

$300 (****)

$150 (***)

$200 (*)

Disk cost ($US):

$46 in quantity (5 disks) (****)

$30 or $25 in quantity (10 disks) (See above) (***)

$125 or $100 in quantity (3 disks) (*)

Average seek time:

11 milliseconds read (**)
12 milliseconds write (**)

10 milliseconds read (**)
12 milliseconds write (**)

10 milliseconds read (**)
12 milliseconds write (**)

OS compatibility:

Windows 98
Windows 98SE
Windows NT 4.0 (SP4+)
Windows 2000
Windows ME
Mac OS8.6+

Windows 98
Windows 95
Windows 3.1
Windows NT 4.0+
MS DOS 5.0+
OS/2 4.0
Mac OS7.1+ (**)

Windows 3.x
Mac OS
Windows 95
Windows NT (**)

Disk format time:


Long format time (native OS): 9 minutes (**)
Short format time (provided tools): < 1 second (**)

Long format time (surface verify): 20-35 minutes (**)
Short format time: 10 seconds (**)

Drive life:

5 years (**)

5 years (**)

Unstated (**)

Estimated Disk shelf life:

20 years (**)

20 years (**)

10 years (**)


1 year limited (drive and disks) (**)

1 year limited (drive and disks) (**)

1 year limited on drive; unstated for disks (**)

Technical Support via Web Site:

No experience.

Truly incredible!  After two full days of personal effort installing the drive, I began a short volley of e-mails for help.  Each technical support response was received not later than the following day.  Incredibly, technical support solved it after only one useless (but expected) "reinstall the software" response.

Mine was no simple problem – it involved leftover bus-mastering files from an upgrade from Win95 to Win98.  Yet, the Castlewood tech nailed this problem on the second e-mail.  He even called me (on his dime) to ensure that my problems were solved!  Thanks, Joe! (***)

No experience.

Site Link:

Castlewood Systems, Inc.

Castlewood Systems, Inc.

Iomega Corporation

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