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Tiny Computers (Remember them?!) Hard Drive Question

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August 21, 2009 10:48:39 AM

Hands up who remembers the 'Tiny' brand of PC that were sold in the UK in the late 1990's/ early 2000's ? Im trying to do some research for a small web feature on the now obsolete manufacturer and i'm trying to pin down the hard drives that were installed in the different machines and to be perfectly honest its proving tough going as the company went bust years ago and no one seems to have any detailed records of the types of hard drives fitted to the various models of Desktop PC's which is surprising as they were the UK's best selling make for a few years. I think that most of them came with regular Fujitsu, Maxtor & Seagate drives and i have managed to locate the different model numbers for most of them but i remember a friend of mine having one (probably around 1999/2000 -ish) where the hard drive was located in a steel box (which to all intents and purposes looked like another DVD or CD Rom in the tower casing :o  ) and the regular IDE connector plugs were slid through pre cut holes in the back of the steel box and the hard drive was inside.
To cut a long story short the hard drive was dead so we had a look and inside this box (I THINK it may have been a 5.25" size box - Did they make 5.25" IDE internal hard drives for personal PC's back then?) the actual drive was uncovered apart from the box it was housed in. Simply pushing the connector plugs through the back of the box released the drive from its housing and it slid out the other (open) end completely exposed and unprotected - platters, spindle, heads etc were there for all to see!
The drive is long gone but i cannot for the life of me remember what make or model it might have been. Any ideas - PLEASE? Can you think of why the drive was made to fit in a large steel box like that? I remember that the actuator was quite tall so that was possibly why? I have not seen a hard drive in any PC like that before or since
I wish i had taken more notice of the make and model, whether it was single or multi platter etc but this was nearly 10 years ago now !! Any suggestions or ideas gratefully received as its really bugging me now ! :pt1cable: 
January 15, 2010 4:45:42 AM

Believe it or not I actually have a Tiny!! I am a computer tech in Wichita, KS and got this out of a vacant house my boyfriend remoldeled. Please email me or IM me at christiplace@yahoo.com. I can let you know what I have and see if I can help you out.
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January 26, 2010 7:35:20 PM

after Tiny went bust, we took over repairs of their machines at Time Computers. In the three years or so that we supported the marque I never saw a drive like that. To be honest I don't believe it is a hard drive: exposed platters and heads would be a sure way to get a problem
Sounds more like some kind of primitive optical drive - a laser disk maybe? Or something from Iomega like a Bernoulli Box (I believe Tiny did sell a few of those)

all the Tiny hard drives we saw were standard IDE models in various sizes from a range of suppliers. Don't bother trying to say specific PC models used specific brands: they didn't. Tiny (like Time) simply bought drives as a commodity by the pallet / container load from wherever they were cheapest. On any one day a particular production batch would use a specific drive, but the next batch of the same PC model could use a different one completely.
I have the entire Tiny/OM model list on a pair of databases and hard drives are only listed by size, not by model or brand

Only things of note re Tinys drives were:
1) SATA drive leads were glued to motherboard and drive to stop them coming loose in transit (they used thermal glue guns)
2) Time (and we believe Tiny/OM Tehcnologies also) purchased some hard drives direct from the manufacturers UNTESTED at a substantial discount. The tradeoff was a higher initial failure rate and - in some cases - Time/Tiny took the financial risk of the failure
3) Certain models were prone to failure. From memory 18GB Hitachi, 20Gb and 30GB Samsung, 40Gb IBM drives all had premature failure problems (though my memory could be faulty)
a c 359 G Storage
January 27, 2010 1:44:36 PM

Yes, at one time HDD's were in 5¼" sizes. BUT those had long since disappeared by the end of the 1990's. Olddemdike's info showing that Tiny used SATA drives certainly confirms this - 5¼" HDD's disappeared long before SATA was created - in fact, I think even before IDE HDD's graduated to ATA33 and ATA66 standards.

What you describe actually sounds like a 3½" HDD unit mounted in an adapter box designed to allow mounting this device in a 5¼" slot in the machine. Further, the fact that it was completely open really suggests some prior owner was playing around and investigating, probably with a known-dead HDD. I am quite sure that HDD is useless. There is no point in trying to find an exact replacement.
!