Zip disks are high-capacity, removable, magnetic disks that can store tons of information! On the outside and on the inside, they look quite similar to floppy disks. They both have similar plastic cases on the outside, similar read/write heads to read and write data, similar tracks in which the data is stored, as well as many other similar mechanisms. (See Floppy Disk for more information on the parts of a floppy).
How, you might ask, can a zip drive store 100 or 250 megabytes of information while a floppy disk can only store a mere 1.44 megabytes? Well, the main thing that separates a floppy disk and a zip disk is that the magnetic coating used on a zip disk is of much better quality than that used on a floppy. Zip disks also have smaller read/write heads, and because of this, the heads pack more tracks per inch on the track surface. One final feature of zip disks is that they can have any number of sectors per track. This makes the best use of disk space. All of these features accumulate in a zip disk that can store as much as 250 megabytes of data!
Zip drives can be both internal and external. They also can come in three different interfaces.
1. SCSI (Small Computer Standard Interface): This is the most expensive zip drive interface. It is also the fastest and most sophisticated. This interface is not only used to connect a zip drive, but it is also used by many personal computers to connect all sorts of peripherals, from disk drives to scanners! If you want the highest performance interface, then the SCSI would be the way to go!
2. IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics): This type of interface is found in almost all personal computers. It is not as expensive as SCSI, but it is also not as fast. Its major downfall is that it has many limitations. For example, most IDE adapters can only support two devices.
3. Parallel Port Interface: This
interface is popular for external zip drives. They are convenient in that
you can easily transfer information from one computer to another, but they
are typically slower than SCSI and IDE.
1995-2001, ThinkQuest Inc.all rights reserved