By Colin Fisher-McAllum
On his way back home to Scotland, Domhnall Dods was due to pay me a flying visit on Sunday 1st December [AP#4 proposed publication date! - Ed] with his Papyrus 4 update review. "Hi Colin, sorry I'm late" he said. "We must get this into AtariPhile #4", were the words I heard as he dashed to the bathroom [Well it was a long journey - Ed]. I looked at the device he had handed to me. "Oh, a Zip drive...", I said, "... we've already done this!". However on taking the drive from it's plastic wrapper I noticed that it was dark grey not blue.
The SyQuest EZFlyer 230 is in shape, size and looks, very like the Iomega Zip, but a little sturdier in construction. It even uses the 'Mac' type DB-25 pin SCSI, in and out, connectors like the Zip. Apart from the colour, it differs from the Zip by having a power button on it's side and a flip down, dust-proof, door covering the cartridge slot. My final mention of the Zip [we are not comparing the two drives, they are technically very different] is to say that it was lucky I had one or we wouldn't have been able to plug the EZFlyer [let's just call it the "Flyer" from here on] into my system.
The Flyer is an attractive looking blob to add to your desk and as with all SyQuest devices it is well constructed. I was pleased to see the dodgy cartridge release lever from the EZ135 had been replaced with an eject button. The PSU is external and unlike the early EZ135s it is small and has plenty of cable. Setting the SCSI ID is done by holding down the power switch while pressing the eject button. I watched Domhnall get a little confused at first, but on second attempt he got it right. You can check the ID by button pressing too.
Supplied with a 230Mb cartridge, the Flyer is also backwardly compatible and can use the EZ135 cartridges. The words "EZ family of cartridges" are used in the manual, so it sounds like SyQuest are planing on future drive also being backwardly compatible.
We ran up HDDriver to format and partition the cartridge. All went well and a total free drive space of 222Mb was confirmed.
To test the speed we simply copied my Calamus directory from my Falcon internal IDE drive to the Flyer. Totalling 28Mb the transfer took only 62 seconds using Kobold. From Flyer partition to Flyer partition it took three seconds less, but it was a clean drive with empty FATs. My IDE is no slouch, so I was very impressed with this turn of speed. Our test continued... It's worth mentioning here that the Flyer, unlike the ZIP [I thought you weren't going to mention that again? - Ed] does not have internal termination. I didn't have another DB-25 pin SCSI cable so we were running unterminated. Back to the test... Without Kobold this time, we started the transfer of the same 28Mb directory. Seven minutes later - yep seven minuets ain't Kobold great - everything stopped. While we were scratching our heads and wondering what was wrong, the transfer continued and was completed without further problems. Was this due to the lack of termination? We don't know. Domhnall was due to leave any moment, so time was against a re-test.
The recommended price of £230 would obviously be undercut by the mail order companies in the PC mags and the cartridges at £19 for 230Mb are very well priced. Bear in mind you will need a DB-25 pin to 50 Centronics type SCSI cable or a DB-25/C-50 adaptor, and if it's not mid-daisychain, you'll need to sort out the device termination. We didn't have the equipment to test the Flyer on an ST, so make your own enquiries before you buy.
Domhnall packed his new baby into the travel case he bought for his ZE135. "I'll email the Papyrus copy to you on Monday - honest!", were his passing words as he dashed off to London and his flight back to Scotland - It really was a "flying visit"!
|Contact:||SyQuest Technology on 01313-397027|
|Price:||RRP c£230 Cartridges £19|