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Odyssey Removable Hard Disk Storage System
September 13th, 2007Back up, store, or travel with removable hard disk cartridges.
The Odyssey Removable Hard Disk Storage System from Imation is an easy to use storage system for the Macintosh and PC computers. Initially, you purchase a dock and one storage cartridge, you can buy individual cartridges as you need them. The initial system price varies from $249.99 to $349.99 depending on the size cartridge you choose. You can choose a 40GB, 80GB, or 120GB cartridge. This USB-based system works in Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and up and only requires a Mac with 512 MB of RAM.
The docking station holds any of the available 40, 80, 120, 160, or 250GB cartridges, but 320GB and 500GB cartridges are expected soon. The NTFS Windows formatted cartridges need to be re-formatted to a native Mac HFS+ format. You can also format the cartridges in Windows FAT32, but you may have problems with files larger than 4GB. This size file is common when using back up software like Retrospect, which is included in the package.
Plug and Play
To use your removable hard disk system, PC users must install software on their Windows machine. Mac users can just plug and play. I tested the Odyssey Removable Hard Disk Storage System on a PowerPC system and it worked flawlessly.
Is a docking station and cartridge system Right for you?
The docking station is 7 3/4" x 5 1/4" x 2" and weighs less than two pounds. The cartridges are 5" x 3.21" x 0.83", so should fit nicely in a pocket or purse. The cartridges can withstand a 3-foot drop onto a hard surface, without loss of information.
With Retrospect back-up software included, the Odyssey Removable Hard Disk Storage System is an excellent back-up system for a home office or business. It makes it easy to keep backups off site. If you store client files, the cartridge may be a reasonable way to back up or store files by client project for easy use later. For those who travel or work in two locations, the cartridge system helps protect your information because you can leave one behind and take one with you and switch out cartridges so that you always have a back up disk in one or both locations.
You might want to use this system if you plan to do a project that requires a lot of hard drive space, such as scanning photos or slides, or converting your vinyl or VCR collection to digital files. Once the files are on the cartridge, you can easily organize them and burn CDs or DVDs without eating up hard drive space on your internal hard disk.
The dock is a little bigger than an external hard drive. The cartridge is pocket size, but on the heavy side. The drive is quiet, because there is no fan. On my Mac, the drive was about as fast as a USB thumb drive in both mounting and moving files on and off.
For those who back up their data onto DVDs, an 80GB cartridge holds more files than a stack of 20 DVDs. For those who do movies, you could pick a cartridge size for your project, download the raw footage from your camera, burn DVDs when you are finished and erase or archive the cartridge.
The cartridge fits easily into the dock and can be write protected if needed. They appear very sturdy and you have a number of size cartridges from which to choose. Here is where the system falls down though, the cartridges are much more expensive than comparably sized USB or FireWire hard drives. There are many portable hard drives now that rival the rugged design of the Imation cartridges at cheaper prices. So, the question remain you need to answer is, do you really want to use a proprietary cartridge system when you can approximate the same work flow with a series of cheaper hard drives. If you prefer not to tangle with multiple hard drives, this removable cartridge system is a good choice.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor
Forward compatible design lets you use new and larger cartridges as they are developed. Large variety of cartridge sizes. The cartridges can be write-protected. Great for travelers or for those who have to take work home from the office. EMC Retrospect back up software included. Cons
Cartridges are expensive compared to hard drives. USB only. Mac and Windows compatible.