I want a Zip removable-media drive for my computer. Since there’s a printer already
connected to the parallel port, I need another port for the Zip drive. Does anyone make
parallel ISA or PCI cards?

A. Yes, but you don’t need one. Iomega Corp. of Roy, Utah, realized that folks
like yourself might hesitate to buy, so it put a passthrough port in all its
parallel-based Zip drives.

Just plug the Zip drive into the computer and then plug the printer into the Zip drive.
The printer signals will pass through the Zip drive on their way to paper. If you’d
rather keep the Zip and the printer separate, read on.

Q. I’ve got only one serial port on my computer and need to add another
serial device. Where can I find a PCI or ISA card that has a serial port?

A. Here’s some good news. Addonics Technologies Corp. of Fremont, Calif., makes
two ISA cards.

The FlexPort 22 has two parallel and two serial ports, and the FlexPort 42 has two
parallel and four serial ports. Both cards sell for about $99.

I couldn’t find Addonics products listed on any government contract, but you
should be able to buy them from a catalog warehouse using a government IMPAC card. For
details, call Addonics at 800-787-8580 or visit

Q. I’m considering buying some of the low-priced Celeron PCs. I noticed
two versions of the Celeron chip: 300 and 300A. What’s the difference?

A. Intel Corp. introduced the Celeron earlier this year to compete with cheaper
processors such as the K6 from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Celeron initially was a crippled Pentium II without any Level 2 cache. Performance fell
so short that no computer maker has ever agreed to send the GCN Lab a Celeron PC to test.
Intel then decided to add 128K of Level 2 cache, and Celeron performance reportedly

The Celeron 300 is an early 300-MHz processor without Level 2 cache. The Celeron 300A
is the more recent 300-MHz version with integrated 128K cache. If you want one of these
systems, buy quickly, because the 300A will be disappearing in favor of the 333-MHz
Celeron and subsequent chips that have 128K of Level 2 cache.

Is Level 2 cache a big deal? Yes. Cache is a holding area for calculations the
processor will work on next or has just completed.

If it were my buck, I’d consider splurging on a standard Pentium II processor that
has 512K of Level 2 cache instead of the Celeron’s 128K.

The Sneaker Sleuth is on the case. Got a baffling bug? Sneaker.Net’s author,
GCN Lab manager Michael Cheek, will answer questions about common computer problems. Send
your query to [email protected]. If your question
appears, you’ll receive a GCN T-shirt.


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