Jaz drive

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Internal and external 1-GB Iomega Jaz drives with media.

The Jaz drive is a removable hard disk storage system introduced by the Iomega company in 1995. The system has since been discontinued. The Jaz disks were originally released with a 1-GB capacity (there was also 540-MB capacity, but it was unreleased) in a 3½-inch form factor; its capacity was a significant increase over Iomega's most popular product at the time, the Zip drive with its originally 100-MB capacity. The Jaz drive mainly uses the SCSI interface (the IDE internal version is rare), but an adapter known as Jaz Traveller was available to connect it to a standard parallel port. The capacity was later increased to 2 GB, through a drive and disk revision in 1998, before the Jaz line was ultimately discontinued in 2002.


The Jaz never attained as much success or market penetration as the Zip, and explanations for this vary. Some[who?] attribute it to poor marketing on Iomega's part or that it was largely unnecessary to transport a gigabyte worth of information at a time when nonremovable hard disks were still only a few gigabytes. Others attribute slow sales to its cost per megabyte being too high. While the Zip drive was marketed as a high-capacity floppy disk, originally the Jaz drive was directed to a higher-end market and saw little in the SOHO or consumer markets. Compared to the SCSI Zip drive, which uses DB25 connectors, the Jaz uses the HD50 connectors and supports IDs 0-6. While SCSI was standard on the Macintosh platform, a SCSI interface card was required to use the drives on PCs, and this card was too costly for most home users. The rising popularity and decreasing price of CD-R/CD-RW drives greatly hurt the success of the Jaz drive, because its price-per-megabyte was much lower and because discs could be read in almost any standard CD-ROM drive.


The Jaz drive is less prone to failure than is the Zip drive. Even so, earlier Jaz drives could overheat, and loading-mechanism jams could leave a disk stuck in the drive. Forcibly ejecting a stuck disk could destroy both drive and disk. Jaz drives are hard-disk technology, making them susceptible to contaminants in the drive; dust and grit could be introduced through a hole in the disk case where the motor drove the platters, and any dust built up on the external case could enter the drive with its next insertion. Additionally, the metal sliding door was capable of wearing the plastic, resulting in debris and head crashes.

Furthermore, the mechanism used to attach the platters to the spindle motor was complex and tended to vibrate noisily. Iomega implemented an anti-gyro device (much like an optical CD/DVD drive) within the cartridge to prevent vibration at spin-up, but this device lost effectiveness with age. As a result, the two platters could lose alignment, rendering the cartridge unusable. The plastic gears attached to the bottom of a Jaz cartridge often stripped and broke, rendering the inserted disk physically incapable of spinning up to operating speed.


The later REV drive attempted to use similar technology to address the same market segment as the Jaz drive had done.

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