Iomega Jaz edges the SyJet in speed tests

Security, speed and capacity aren't the only purchasing parameters, however.
Reliability remains paramount for removable-media drives, just as for fixed hard drives.


The GCN Lab's test PC crashed more than once with SyQuest Technology Inc.'s 1.5G SyJet
attached. Although no data was destroyed, filenames and SyJet's own index directories were
corrupted.


With its original software drivers, SyJet could not complete disk scans on itself
before failing and crashing Microsoft Windows 95. No such problems occurred with Iomega
Corp.'s Jaz 1G drive.


Each drive came with a 312-inch floppy disk to show the host PC the way to the included
utilities cartridge. Software installs on the host from the cartridge.


Thinking the SyJet cartridge might have arrived corrupted in some way, I downloaded new
drivers from SyQuest's World Wide Web site, but crashes persisted. After I reported the
problem, SyQuest technical personnel took 10 days to respond by e-mailing new drivers that
cured the crash problems.


Both companies have claimed nearly equivalent access and seek speeds. But SyJet was
slower on GCNdex32TM benchmark tests. Overall, the Iomega drive's software interface and
utilities excelled. SyQuest took a more bare-bones approach. Its hard-to-decipher symbols
left me uncertain that I had selected and backed up all the files on the hard drive.


Both drives took about 20 minutes to back up about 7,000 files occupying 1.2G of a 2G
magnetic hard drive.


The Jaz drive usurped drive letters and threw off mapped network drives at first
bootup. But you can set the Jaz drive to its own letter, then reboot to regain network
drives.


Both Jaz and SyJet were tested with the same 200-MHz Dell Computer Corp. OptiPlex GXMT
PC that had 32M RAM, Windows 95, and a SCSI card and cable not supplied by either company.


The GCNdex32 benchmark rated speed in kilobytes/sec for writing selected files back and
forth from the parent file on the PC's hard drive to the target file on the removable
drive.


The benchmark did not write directly to the disk but sent appropriate commands to the
operating system, just like a normal application. No other applications were running
during the tests.


Each drive underwent several tests, which averaged out as shown in the table. The
repeat-access test clocked the time for a 14M binary file to travel 100 times to the
removable drive. The single-access test measured speed at writing a 100M binary file.


The PC's magnetic hard drive underwent the same tests, writing to a separate sector as
a baseline.


In all tests, the Jaz drive maintained a more consistent speed. SyJet's velocity seemed
to fall as constant access continued.


For ease of use and fewer complications, Jaz earned the Reviewer's Choice designation.
SyJet's larger capacity and its lower cost per megabyte make it attractive, though.
Perhaps the next SyJet release with better drivers and utilities can edge out Jaz.


inside gcn

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