Magazine article The CPA Journal

Product Reviews: Hard Disk Capacity Problems

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Product Reviews: Hard Disk Capacity Problems

Article excerpt

We recently encountered a problem many have faced--limited hard disk capacity. Numerous alternatives are available including:

* Adding hard cards;

* Replacing the hard disk with a larger one

* Adding an external hard drive;

* Adding an external removable media drive;

* Compressing files; or

* Buy a new computer with a larger drive.

We decided to test what appears to be the best two alternatives namely, adding an external removable media drive and file compression. The other alternatives have limitations such as:

* Adding hard cards only provides a limited amount of additional capacity. Each increment requires an additional hard card. You not only run out of slots in which to place the hard cards, you may also overload the computer's power supply. Also, if your computer uses Micro Channel Architecture (MCA), you may have great difficulty finding hard cards.

* Replacing the hard disk with a larger drive still leaves you with your old computer. If it is a slow machine, the new drive will only give you greater disk capacity with little or no improvement in performance.

* Adding an external hard drive is better than adding a new internal hard drive since it will add to your systems hard drive capacity, and can be moved to another computer. Other than that, it is the same as replacing the old internal drive with a new one.

* Buying a new computer with a larger drive is a great alternative, but is more expensive than the alternatives we selected.

ADDING AN EXTERNAL REMOVABLE MEDIA DRIVE. We obtained a SyQuest removable media MRD80 drive from Procom Technology, Inc. and attached it to the computer via a SCSI adapter. (SyQuest Technology does not sell directly to the enduser market. It sells to integrators who incorporate the drives into their own products.) The MRD80 uses the SyQuest SQ5-110 drive mechanism which and read and write 88MB removable Winchester technology 5.25" droves (SyQuest recently released the SQ5110C which has the added capability of also being able to write 44MB drives). Once installed, the drive performed flawlessly.

The SyQuest removal media provides a flexibility not available with fixed media; unlimited expansion at the rate of 88BM per cartridge. This is what the tax practitioner needs to keep clients returns organized. Simply use one or more cartridges for each year. The returns can be prepared and stored on the hard disk and transferred to the removal media as part of a backup procedure. It is important to use a backup utility which provides for incremental backups. The initial backup of 60MB of data took approximately 3.5 minutes, while subsequent incremental backups took less than 30 seconds.

COMPRESSING FILES. Although we used removable media to store seldom used programs, we were still faced with a fixed disk capacity problem (the drive could only hold 80MB). Disk compression saved the day. We installed Stacker 3.0 for Windows and DOS and increased the disk capacity to 95.5MB. Capacity could have been increased further, but this would have reduced the computer's performance more than we wanted (it is possible to almost double the capacity of the drive).

PROCOM DRIVE OVERVIEW

The MRD40 (SyQuest SQ555) and MRD80C (SyQuest SQ5110C) are high-performance removable cartridge hard disk drives which provide 44 or 88 MB of formatted data on-line.

Both drives are based on proven Winchester technologies and a rugged, field-proven, transportable 5.25" data cartridge with the MRD40, it provides access to the 44MB cartridges already in use.

The MRD40 and MRD80C provide unlimited storage capacity. At the same time, these drives allow individual users who maintain large, private data bases to share systems resources. …

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