The Last Resort: Streamer Technolgy Overview


The Travan standard is also QIC-based and represented an attempt to untangle the chaos of more than 120 QIC standards. Technically, the Travan tapes are far superior to the QIC models, as they were designed for long-term storage and greater reliability. For that reason, however, the media were also more expensive than the ones for DAT drives.

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Header Cell - Column 0 TR-1TR-2TR-3TR-4TR-5TR-6
Capacity400 MB800 MB1.6 GB4 GB10 GB20 GB
Maximum transfer rate125 kB/s125 kB/s250 kB/s1.16 MB/s1.83 MB/s4 MB/s

With the introduction of the first Travan standard, the tapes at first became increasingly longer, meaning that Travan cassettes were somewhat larger than Mini-QIC. Should you run into the term NS, this refers to the Travan-related systems by Imation, which differ from 3M-Travan in their hardware compression. Good Travan streamers support the SCSI protocol's block specifications, meaning that the access to tape content can be realized relatively quickly.

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DAT stands for Digital Audio Tape. It's not music that's written onto them but data in the DDS format (Digital Data Storage). The DAT tape is 4mm wide and, in contrast to QIC and Travan, it employs the Helical scan. As a result, DAT streamers are naturally not among the faster models but rather serve the purpose of backing up larger amounts of data. In addition, prices are at least twice that of QIC and Travan devices.

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StandardCapacityMaximum Transfer Rate
DDS2 GB550 kB/s
DDS-12 GB1.1 MB/s
DDS-24 GB1.1 MB/s
DDS-312 GB2.2 MB/s
DDS-420 GB4.8 MB/s

Too bad that DAT is highly sensitive. The complicated route that the tape takes and the great forces emerging through friction (these develop when the spindle is touched) create enormous wear and tear. In addition, the writing and reading heads are moved out of position quickly, meaning that tapes sometimes cannot be read properly.

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