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Mini hard drives for players
Intro to the Microdisc
By Russell Kibbee
(more articles from this author)
2000-10-25
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The high cost of memory storage (in either format) is a deterrent to the widespread distribution of digital music players. The high cost of the player (with the most expensive part being the memory) has kept the format in the hands of gadget lovers, music lovers with a lot of disposable income, or reviewers. Most expensive players hold only 64 megabytes of music (about 1 hour of CD quality tunes). This could change in a big way if the micro-disc market takes off, allowing for triple digit megabyte storage for a double digit price.

Step 1: What is the microdrive?
Microdrives are the category of hard drives that are very small (about the size of a dime and about 3-mm thick). They function as normal hard drives, and hold between 170 and 340 Megabytes of data. Although IBM was the first company to come out with a drive in this category, other firms have picked up on the name.

Step 2: How can Microdrives be used?
Most of the Microdrives can be used just like ordinary memory cards. They fit into the slots on your portable player, digital camera, PDA, or any other gadget that needs a lot of storage. They are self-contained, so you can swap them with any device.

Step 3: What are some other uses?
If you need a quick 340 megabyte hard drive for your laptop, you can use the Microdrive to do so by utilizing the PCMCIA adapter. The new drive will show up in your Windows Explorer screen as a new lettered drive ready to store and send data.

Step 4: What types are available?
There are two types you can get depending on the devices you are using. The type I slots are available from Halo if you are using Smart Media cards. Type II slots are available from IBM if you are using Compact Flash.


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