[ Go to July 1997 Table of Contents ]|
-- by Marc Spiwak
In the world of removable storage, desktop-system users have a wide variety of options, but notebook users aren't so lucky. One choice they do have is the Fujitsu DynaMO 230 Portable, which connects to a notebook computer via a PCMCIA IDE controller and stores data on 230MB magneto-optical (MO) cartridges. Unfortunately, due to formatting problems and lackluster performance, it isn't an attractive option.
The portable DynaMO measures 1 by 4.4 by 6.5 inches and weighs 15 ounces without its removable battery pack. Nickel cadmium batteries are recommended, since they'll power the drive for roughly 35 minutes. You should use the AC adapter whenever possible.
The Windows 95 installation required a few more steps than other removable storage systems we've tested. In addition, partitioning and formatting the included cartridge was tricky. After multiple crashes, reboots, ejects and inserts, the drive finally recognized the unformatted 230MB blank cartridge and let us partition and format it. We had no trouble reading and writing preformatted disks.
We found the DynaMO 230 Portable to be a rather slow performer, especially when writing data. According to Wintune 95, the transfer rate is 1.2MB per second cached and 0.097MBps uncached. It took an average of 165 seconds to save a 30MB file on two different notebook systems. That's a transfer rate of only 180KBps. Reading that file back took about 45 seconds, or 666KBps.
Despite its PCMCIA interface, the DynaMO 230 Portable doesn't offer any better performance than parallel-port systems such as the SyQuest EZFlyer 230. Due to its versatility (it can work with notebook and desktop systems), the EZFlyer 230 is still the better choice for removable notebook storage.