Iomega REV 70GB USB 2.0 review

Price when reviewed

We first reviewed Iomega’s REV format in 2004, and the appeal of high-capacity, durable and removable storage remains as strong as ever. The capacity of each cartridge has now been more than doubled from 30GB to a far more practical 70GB, with each 70GB cartridge costing around £35 inc VAT, or £30 each in packs of five.

The fundamentals remain the same. Each REV cartridge is a tiny, 4,200rpm hard disk, complete with motor. The drive heads are provided by the drive itself, and a dual-chamber sealing system means that dust is unlikely to get into the cartridge. Iomega still claims a shelf life of 30 years for the REV, making it a good choice of format for long-term archiving. The new 70GB disks are incompatible with old drives, but existing 30GB media will work with new drives.

Currently, the new generation of REV drives are only available as external USB 2 models, although FireWire and serial ATA versions are in the wings. Our speed tests produced some excellent results. The REV drive isn’t as quick as an external hard disk, but 100MB of mixed files transferred from our host PC to the drive at a rate of 3.1MB/sec. Writing 1GB of 1MB and larger files took just under 90 seconds, for a final write speed of just over 11.3MB/sec. Reading them back was three seconds quicker.

Small and home offices are unlikely to need such long-term storage, particularly when you consider that, per gigabyte, a 70GB REV cartridge costs just over 53p, compared to less than half that for a larger-capacity hard disk. But long term archives or regular backups that need to be stored off-site or kept for extended periods of time will benefit from the boosted capacity of the REV system.

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