VI ZIP Drives
A technology that was thought to replace the hapless floppy drive was the ZIP Drive, developed by the Iomega Corporation. This intriguing piece of technology uses disks that are roughly the same size as a standard 3.5" floppy disk (although slightly thicker).
Original versions of the ZIP Drive could store over 100MB of data per disk, with newer versions storing roughly 250MB of data per disk. This was achieved by addressing some of the more obvious shortcomings of floppy drives, such as:
Head Size: The read-write head of the ZIP Drive is about 1/10th the size of a 3.5" floppy drive read-write head. This allows bits of data to be written closer together and in a smaller size, raising the overall capacity of the disk. The smaller heads allow a ZIP Drive to write data a using 2,118 tracks per inch, compared to 135 tracks per inch on a floppy drive.
Higher Quality Media: The storage medium itself, called a cookie, is made of a higher quality material that is coated with the same particles that are used in S-VHS videotape. These particles have a higher energy level and are not as easy to magnetize. Therefore, magnetic fields from the read-write heads affect a smaller area on the disk, increasing the storage capacity of the disk again.
Efficient Storage Format: A conventional floppy disk is divided into radial sectors. This means that sectors on the outside of the disk take up more surface area than sectors on the inside of the disk. Due to the fact that a sector is the smallest unit that can be written to on the disk, the overall surface of the disk loses its efficiency for storage as data is written towards the outside of the media. This is overcome in the ZIP Drive by using a method called the zone bit recording. This method formats the disk in such a way that every sector takes up the same area anywhere on the disk. This translates into more sectors per track as you move from the inside to be outside the disk.
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