2.2 GB Portable Discs: Castlewood's ORB Drive

A Huge HD Or Removable Disk Drive?

$ 19.95 for 2.2 GB do not seem to be cheap on the first view, but comparable products are more expensive. The Orb will lose a comparison with high capacity IDE drives: For $ 200 you can get 10 media or a 40 GB IDE hard drive. Both capacity and performance are clearly better with conventional hard drives.

The negative aspect of a hard drive is its high susceptibility to mechanical defects if you keep installing and removing it to/from different computers. Shocks are especially unhealthy for hard drives. Additionally, there is a little board carrying several chips on the bottom of the drives. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that IC boards are not made to be carried around due to their sensibility to electrostatics and mechanical vulnerability.

Also the power and flat cable connectors are not designed to be strained day by day. Uncommon handling will likely kill soldering points.

Castlewood recommends to use the plastic cases when carrying around the media. The only factor which we cannot check in a short review is the long-term reliability of both the media and the insert and eject mechanism. Smart people treat their hardware adequately. If you do so, I cannot see any reason why the mechanism should fail.


With a capacity of 2.2 GB, Castlewood is offering the largest exchangeable disk drive available. Due to the use of proven technology - as we know it from Iomega and Syquest, the cost for drives and media are pretty attractive. Transfer speed and access time cannot even match today's low-end hard drives, so don't try to execute complex software directly from the Orb. Apart from that, however, you can easily load and save your work data directly on it, as you will both keep the data safe and mobile at once.

Thanks to four different versions (internal IDE/SCSI, external SCSI, external USB), every user should be able to find a suitable one. Also companies will get great flexibility, as the Orb can be adapted to every environment - it does not need to be the other way round.

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