Drive Cartrige System Tutorial

Synopsis of removable data storage
Removable storage media offers the advantage of data portability. Data stored in removable media can only be accessed by a drive (or a device) designed specifically for the media. So data portability can only be realized if every system or computing device is equipped with a device for the particular removable media. Over the past few years, the varieties of removable data storage media have really exploded. Making matter worst, removable storage technologies constantly replaced with newer storage system that are not necessary backward compatible with the old media. Some of the new removable storage technologies are proprietary such as ZIP, REV, SuperDisk as these products comes primarily from one manufacturer. Besides more expensive media, the limited install base of the proprietary removable storage further limit the portability of the data stored in these media.

What is Addonics Drive Cartridge (ADC)?
Addonics Drive Cartridge is a removable storage media based on the ubiquitous hard drive. The Addonics Drive Cartridge is designed to take advantage of the hot swap capability of the new storage interface standards and Operating System such as Windows 2000 and XP. Unlike other storage media, the ADC can be easily accessed practically by any computer or computing device. For the past several years, Addonics has invested heavily in providing all the necessary components to enable any hard drive to be used as a removable data media. User can use whatever hard drive capacity (even a hard drive from one of your old computers). User can also choose 3.5" IDE or Serial ATA hard drive to achieve the lowest cost / MBytes or the 2.5" IDE hard drive for better portability. The hard drive inside the ADC is accessible by inserting it into a simple Cartridge Cradle that can be mounted inside a standard drive bay of any desktop PC, equipment or installed as an external Drive Cartridge System (DCS).

Since the ADC media is a standard hard drive, there is also no special format utility or software required to prepare the Drive Cartridge. On system with legacy OS and hardware, an IDE Cartridge Cradle can be installed to these systems to access the data in the Drive Cartridge.

By attaching different Addonics USIB Interface cables, the Cartridge Cradle can interface to a computer via either USB 2.0 or 1.1, Firewire or iLink, CardBus or PCMCIA, Serial ATA or any future interface standard. Since the media inside the Drive Cartridge is a standard hard drive, user can experience fastest data transfer possible. In fact, when the Cartridge Cradle is connected to Serial ATA externally, the computer can be booted directly from the Drive Cartridge and be used as an ordinary hard drive with no degradation in performance comparing to the internal hard drive.

The Drive Cartridge can also connect directly to any computer without the Cartridge Cradle. The Addonics USIB Interface cables designed for the Cartridge Cradle can also be used to connect the Drive Cartridge directly to the computer. The connection flexibility of the Drive Cartridge enables it to be used practically by any computers regardless of interface or OS. The Drive Cartridge is designed to out last and out perform any other removable storage standards for a long time to come, till the day that the hard drives becomes obsolete!
For a comparison of the Drive Cartridge against other removable storage, click here for detail.

Addonics offers all the necessary components to build a low cost Drive Cartridge System: The Drive Cartridge System is composed of five basic components:

  • Drive Cartridge - the housing that encapsulates the hard drive and to provide power and interface connection to the hard drive
  • Cartridge Cradle -the device mounted inside the drive bay of the computer to read/write to the Drive Cartridge
  • USIB Interface cable - the interface cable that connects the Cartridge Cradle to the computer. Different USIB interface cable comes with different interface electronics to allow the the Cartridge Cradle to connect to either USB 2.0 or 1.1, Firewire or iLink, Serial ATA or CardBus/PCMCIA. These same USIB interface cables can also be used to connect the Drive Cartridge directly to any computer.
  • Power Supply - to provide the power to the Cartridge Cradle or the Drive Cartridge when it is used outside the computer.
  • Hard drive - the media for the Drive Cartridge.

Following pictures illustrate how the Addonics Drive Cartridge can be setup and installed.

Removable storage comparison

Addonics Drive Cartridge
Flash memory, USB Memory Drive
Floppy Drive
media type 3.5" IDE hard drive,
2.5" IDE hard drive,
1.8" IDE hard drive,
3.5" SATA hard drive
semiconductor memory ZIP, REV floppy disk
media suppliers Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba More than 10 More than 10 Proprietary from Iomega More than 10
media technology over 20 years, well proven reliable technology ~5 years old, continue changing over 20 years, well proven reliable technology ZIP - 10 years old
REV - in the market since mid 2003
over 20 years, well proven reliable technology
Data accessibility internally or externally connect to any computer with or without cartridge cradle DVD+/-R/W drive is required Flash Reader or USB port is required ZIP drive for ZIP media
REV drive for REV media
Floppy drive is required
interface support
internal USB 2.0/1.1, Serial ATA, Firewire, IDE, SCSI ATAPI / IDE USB 2.0/1.1 ATAPI / IDE floppy drive interface, USB
external USB 2.0/1.1, Serial ATA, Firewire/iLink, CardBus/PCMCIA USB 2.0/1.1, Firewire/iLink USB 2.0/1.1, Firewire/iLink USB 2.0/1.1, USB 1.1
Software requirement included in all Operating Systems DVD burning software is required included in all Operating Systems Iomega utility needed to format media included in all Operating Systems
maximum capacity per media or cartridge -350GB and growing
depending on the hard drive capacity
4.5 GBytes for single layer
9 GBytes for dual layer
5GBytes and growing ZIP - 750 MBytes
REV - 30GBytes
1.44 MBytes
maximum data transfer rate 150 MBytes/sec via Serial ATA 22 MBytes/sec for 16X 2 -10 MBytes/sec ZIP ~ 2 -3 MBytes/sec
REV ~ 30 Mbytes/sec
~ 100 KBytes/sec
cost / MBytes* < $.005 < $.01 < $.5 ZIP ~ $.12
REV ~ $.07
~ $.1
Supported OS Windows 2000/XP/Me/98SE
Windows 3.1/NT 4.0, DOS
Linux, Solaris, Mac
DOS, Windows 2000/XP/Me/98SE
Linux, Solaris, Mac
Windows 2000/XP/Me/98SE
Linux, Solaris, Mac
Windows 2000/XP/Me/98SE
Windows 3.1/NT 4.0, DOS
Linux, Mac
Windows 2000/XP/Me/98SE
Windows 3.1/NT 4.0, DOS
Linux, Solaris, Mac

*General market information as of 9/20/04
Information in the table above are for reference only. All brand names are registered tgrademarks of theire respective companies