IOMEGA ZIP DRIVE

The IOmega Zip drive was released circa Q4 1994. The Zip drive originally was shipped as a SCSI device but it had a firmware problem that caused the drive to malfunction.

The Zip disk with 100 megabytes of capacity was very attractive at a time when most computers were equipped with 200-500MB hard disks.

The original Zip drive was sold for $200 and it came with a single disk to make it ready to use. Additional disks were $20 which compared to the $300 for a hard disk in 1993.

Compared to the older SyQuest 5¼” disks, the Zip drives were immediately very popular.

IOmega also had models which would work on a printer port. This make it possible to use MS-DOS with the drive.

Zip drives started with 100MB but then 250MB and finally 750MB models were introduced. All 3 capacities are available in ATA interface. The 250MB and 750MB formats were not nearly as common as the low cost 100MB format.

The NEC FZ110A is an ATA Zip drive that were sold from 1999 onwards. Some PC vendors included a Zip drive as part of the machine. The Zip drive was commonly slaved with the CD-R drive as master.

We used a pair of Zip-100 ATA drives which were reasonably reliable. The ATA models featured a jumper that would make the Zip disk adopt A: as the drive letter as a floppy. It could also be used as another drive letter if desired.

The Zip-100 was very popular for backups as the media is reasonably reliable. We installed an ATA  Zip-100 drive when we built the Pentium MMX machine back in 1996. We ended up using several zip disks before we retired them in favor of CD-R disks.

Iomega built its Zip drive brand on a Gillette model—it sold the drives at low margins and the disks at high margins. But by 1998, the market was saturated, and the company was experiencing big losses. Instead of changing strategy, Edwards doubled down on the aggressive advertising.

Prices for Zip-100 disks fell over time and some commentators believed the Zip format would replace the old 1.44MB floppy. The rise of the USB flash stick rendered all removable hard disks obsolete. Eventually Lenovo bought IOmega.

1998 ZIP DRIVE AD