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Floppy Disk Drives

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  1. What is a floppy drive?
  2. What does "interchangeability" mean?
  3. What is the difference between solid aluminum casting of the floppy disk drive and assembled metal chassis of other floppy disk drives?
  4. Why is interchangeability important?

What is a floppy drive?

Floppy drive is short for floppy disk drive and is used as the primary data transfer device. It can read, write and store data to the removable floppy disks. A floppy disk is a soft magnetic disk. A floppy disk is slower to access than a hard disk and has less storage capacity, but it is much less expensive an most importantly it is portable it can be removed from the disk drive.

Floppies come in two basic sizes:

5 - inch: The common size for PCs made before 1987. This type of floppy is generally capable of storing between 100K and 1.2MB of data. The most common sizes are 360K and 1.2MB.

3 - inch: Floppy is something of a misnomer for these disks, as they are encased in a rigid envelope. Despite their small size, microfloppies have a larger storage capacity than their 5 cousins from 400K to 1.4MB of data. The most common sizes for PCs are 720K (double-density) and 1.44MB (high-density).

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What does "interchangeability" mean?

When referring to removable data storage products, interchangeability is defined as the process of shifting the storage media from one system to another without destroying or affecting the data. This means that the data contained on the storage media must still be readable and must not have been affected by a sudden change of temperature, a long period of time between systems, or other factors in the environment.

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What is the difference between solid aluminum casting of the floppy disk drive and assembled metal chassis of other floppy disk drives?

The solid aluminum casting floppy disk drive provides a stable platform for both high and low density operations. This type of FDD is assembled into the PC drive bay, and it gives the system a "little-to-no-distortion" read and write capability.

Assembled metal chassis is another type of casing used for FDD. This type of FDD relies on installation and is susceptible to non-uniform expansion as the system heats up, which may cause the drive to become incapable of reading diskettes.

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Why is interchangeability important?

For removable data storage products, interchangeability is key because users need to be confident that they can move media from one system to another and still be assured the data will be readable. It is also important that given the changing temperature of the system, from the time it is turned on to the time it is turned off, diskettes can be written at any one time and can be read at any later time.

Using the solid aluminum casting floppy disk drive gives drives a stable platform for both high and low density operation. When fastened within the computer drive bays, little-to-no-distortion will be found that may lead to unreliable read/write performance; thus interchangeability is assured. The assembled metal chassis can bend on installation. These other drives are also susceptible to non-uniform expansion as the system heats up, which can cause the drive to be unable to read diskettes written when the system was cold or vice versa.

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