High capacity floppy disk drives have regularly been announced or previewed by manufacturers over the past decade, but have not made much of a mark up to now, because they were seldom compatible with the low-capacity disks widely in use. But Insite Peripherals Inc, San Jose, California hopes to change all that with its 20.8Mb 3.5 floppy drive, because it has designed it to be able to read and write 1.44Mb and 720Kb floppy disks. According to Microbytes Daily, Insite will ship limited quantities of its Floptical drives, which use optical technology for precision positioning before the magnetic heads take over, and it plans to start volume production of the drive in April 1991 at an OEM price of $325. The disks – to be made by Xidex Corp and Verbatim Corp – have embedded optical tracks and a closed-loop servo motor to increase the storage capacity of the magnetic disk. The Insite I325VM drive, which has taken its time getting to market – it was first noticed here back in September 1988 (CI No 1,022) fits into a 3.5 storage bay and uses 3.5 disks with the optical tracks added. It is 1 high and runs on +5 volt power.It has average seek time of 65mS and a transfer rate from the disk of 1.6Mbytes per second, but is slower reading from non-floptical disks. Arrow Electronics will distribute the drives.
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