Review: Burn With The Best

Wednesday Mar 1st 2000 by SmallBusinessComputing Staff
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HP Colorado 20 GB Tape Drive -- Rating 90

by Lou Grinzo

HP Colorado 20 GB Tape Drive
Rating 90

Data disasters are inevitable. So the only question is how well you can recover from one? Tape is one of the most reliable methods to backup your system and guard against data loss. It also packs the highest-capacity punch in a single piece of media. HP's Colorado 20GB tape drive is the newest entry in the company's Travan format line, featuring a 2 to 1 compression ratio, meaning the actual capacity of the drive (or native capacity) is 10GB, and 20GB when compressed.

We had no trouble installing the external parallel port version of the tape drive, along with the provided HP Colorado Backup II software, on a 350MHz Pentium II system. We achieved close to HP's claimed backup speed of 45MB per minute with data compression enabled. This speed is impressive for a parallel port tape drive, but it can still result in some long backup times for today's large hard drives. The internal IDE version of the drive is rated at 110MB per minute, and also uses data compression.

The Colorado Backup II software provides the ability to backup or restore an entire drive or selected files. Users can perform scheduled one-time backups or regular backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The software also creates bootable floppy disks, from which you can recover a totally disabled system. One quite useful feature is HP's Media Monitor; it tracks each tape's usage and warns users when it's nearing the end of its expected life.

The media is a bit pricey at $45 to $50, but it is still a good value for the capacity compared to other types of removable storage. The Colorado 20GB drive would be a welcome addition to any business or power user's data protection arsenal. The drive performs reliably and has more than enough data storage capacity and capability to guard against PC disasters.

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