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  CNET : Hardware : Storage : Removable Cartridge Drives : Castlewood Orb 2.2GB Internal EIDE : Full Review  

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  Castlewood Orb 2.2GB Internal EIDE

CNET Rating:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9 10 best   How we rate products
User Opinions: 54%  46%   246 votes
CNET Review
By Sarah Roberts-Witt
Used to be that the average computer user who wanted to store more than 100MB of data at a time either had to pay through the nose for a Jaz drive (and cartridges) or sacrifice speed and settle for a CD-RW drive. Not anymore. With the Orb drive, newcomer Castlewood Systems has delivered 2.2GB capacity at blazing speeds for a pittance.

More Space and Speed, for Less
The EIDE-based internal Orb drive retails for just $199.95, compared with the Iomega 2GB Jaz drive, which sells for $349.95. Castlewood's bargain-basement approach holds for media, as well. Additional 2.2GB disks for the Orb run $29.95 compared with $124.95 for 2GB Jaz disks. And in our tests, the EIDE Orb consistently outperformed Iomega's external Ultra SCSI-based Jaz 2GB drive.

The Orb's biggest disadvantage is that the drive currently only comes in internal EIDE and external parallel port versions. However, according to Castlewood, external SCSI, USB, and FireWire products should hit the shelves this summer. The prices for those units are expected to hover between $199 and $249.

Easy Install; Useful Software
Even users who are fearful of opening their computer have little to worry about with the Orb; installing this EIDE drive on our Dell Dimension test PC was completely painless. We simply turned off the machine, removed the cover, slipped the drive into the open bay, and connected it. Windows 98 recognized the drive immediately and installed the necessary drivers and accompanying software from the included 2.2GB disk.

The Orb comes with a slew of software extras: FileTracker, which lets you create a catalog of backed-up files and folders; Professional Backup, for setting up automatic backups for your drives or your whole system; and Super Backup, for backing up data from one disk to another (great for making a quick image of your hard drive). A utility suite is also included, which lets you check the status of the drive, spin it down, and eject disks.

Overall, the Orb blows away everything else in the removable cartridge category: it's fast, capacious, and dirt cheap. Iomega may have colonized desktops everywhere with its Zip and Jaz drives, but as long as Castlewood can produce enough Orbs to satisfy the legions of new PC owners who require removable storage, it stands an excellent chance of making a dent with this storage solution.

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