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WinLab Reviews
Pinnacle Micro Apex 4.6 GB MO Drive
Gigabytes to Go

-- by Marc Spiwak

You Have space for almost anything with the Apex 4.6 GB MO Drive, the latest removable media drive from Pinnacle Micro. I tested the external model, which includes an Adaptec Plug-and-Play AHA-1540CP ISA-to-Fast SCSI host adapter.

The external drive measures 2.9 by 8.4 by 10.6 inches and weighs 6.9 pounds. It has a 50-pin high-density SCSI-2 interface and is SCSI-1 and Fast SCSI-2 compliant. One 4.6GB magneto-optical (MO) data cartridge is included when you buy the drive. Additional cartridges cost $169 each, or about 3.67 cents per megabyte. Price is not the real benefit of MO disks, since CD-Recordable discs, at $8 apiece for 650MB, cost 1.2 cents per megabyte. But unlike CD-R, MO disks are rewritable (and double-sided, at 2.3GB per side)

It was easy to install the drive. I set it to a unique SCSI ID with a switch on the back of the drive, and then I connected it to a SCSI adapter. Though another switch allows you to select different operating parameters, the default settings worked fine for me under Windows 95.

Pinnacle specifies an average seek time of 21 milliseconds and a maximum data-transfer rate of 3.5MB per second. These numbers are achieved under ideal conditions and relate to reading data-the drive can read two to three times faster than it writes. In actual use, performance will be slower, as my tests showed.

I copied 768MB of material (consisting of hundreds of individual files) to the Apex drive in 35 minutes, resulting in a transfer rate of approximately 364KB per second for writing data. I then copied the same 768MB back to the hard drive in 18 minutes, which translates to a read-transfer rate of 711KBps.

Next, I transferred a 31MB file from my hard drive to the Pinnacle unit. That process took a long 46 seconds. When I copied the same file from the Pinnacle back to my hard drive, it took 14 seconds. (Although the drive is intended primarily for backing up, archiving or transporting data, I had no problem playing an AVI file from the Apex, indicating that it's fast enough for some multimedia applications.)

The Apex 4.6 is much slower than the Iomega Jaz drive on our Recommended List, especially when it comes to writing a file. The Jaz drive recorded the 31MB file in just 25 seconds, for a write speed of 1.24MBps; it read the file back to the hard drive in 12 seconds. Even though the Apex offers more than four times the capacity of the Jaz drive, its higher price and slower speed keep it off the Recommended List.

Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.

W Info File

Pinnacle Micro Apex 4.6 GB MO Drive
Price: External model, $1,895; internal model, $1,795
Pros: Immense storage; removable media
Cons: Expensive; not very fast
Platforms: 3x, 95, NT
Pinnacle Micro
800-553-7070, 714-789-3000
Circle #649 or visit Winfo Online
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.

Windows Magazine, March 1997, page 172.

[ Go to March 1997 Table of Contents ]