Working with Other Removable Media Drives

Quite a few other data storage options are available. Table 23.1 summarizes several of them.

Table 23.1. Removable Media Drive Options for Modern Macs
Technology Configuration Comments
DVD-RAM FireWire, External SCSI, External

Uses dual-sided DVD-RAM discs that can store up to 5.2GB of data. These discs cost about $20 each. This is a good choice as a backup drive on which you can also store working files.

At one point, Apple included DVD-RAM as an option on new machines, but has aban doned this option in favor of CD-RW and DVD-R drives.

Floppy USB, External The good old floppy is still around. These drives enable you to read and write standard 3.5-inch floppy disks. Some also enable you to read and write to 120MB "super" floppy disks.
Zip ATA, Internal FireWire, External USB, External SCSI, External

The Zip drive uses a 250MB or100 MB removable disk that costs about $12 per disk. At one point, Zip drives were extremely popular and were standard equipment on Power Macs (at the time of this writing, a Zip drive is offered as an option).

However, with the rise of the CD-RW drive, there isn't really any reason to use a Zip drive. Because a CD-R disc is only about $0.50 and holds nearly as much as three Zip disks, CD-R makes much more sense for most purposes.

Jaz SCSI, External

Jaz drives use a 2GB disk. However, a 2GB disk costs more than $100, so this technology can't compete very well with DVD-RAM (for which a 5.2GB disc costs less than $20) or CD-R for general data storage.

This is another format that was extremely popular for a while, but has since faded.

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Lifestyle