What is 3 times faster than a Zip and holds 3 times as much as a CD?
Bare Feats speed test of the new ORB 2 gigabyte removable (SCSI) posted 8/21/99.
Updated 8/27/99 with results from Orb connnected to Grappler 906 controller.
Updated 9/7/99 with Jaz 1 gig results and the Orb connnected to an Initio Miles Bluenote controller.

© 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS

Sorry. A Zip drive just doesn't hold enough these days... especially if you are backing up a multi-gig hard drive. And the CD-R's take "forever" to back up only a fraction of a gig. That's why I've been so excited about the promise of the Castlewood ORB drive.

Two gigabyte removable storage with "hard drive" speed for $199? And only $30 per 2 gig cartridge? Sounds too good to be true? Check out the results of my speed tests:



(Note the speed difference below using three different SCSI controllers on the Orb.)


Here's an interesting test. I burned a CD with a bunch of files. Then I dropped the same folders on the Orb drive. Obviously, CD-ROM's make more reliable backup media but they are limited to 650MB. The Orb presents an interesting alternative for backing up a big chuck of data in a big hurry.


Conclusion: Although not quite as fast as a typical sealed hard drive, the Orb is faster than any other removable, recordable medium I've tested. (See comment below about Jaz 2 gig.)

For reliability, it's hard to beat a CD-ROM burner but the Orb is an interesting alternative for quick backup or transfer of data by the gigabyte.




Host Computer

Quantum Fireball SE

IDE ATA/33 Ultra
4 gigabytes
Beige G3/466

Seagate Hawk

Internal Fast Narrow SCSI
4 gigabytes
Power Mac 7500 G3/400

Castlewood Orb "Blue"

Miles Bluenote
Fast SCSI-2
(20MB/sec max)
2 gigabytes
Power Mac 7500 G3/400

Castlewood Orb "Orange"

Grappler 906 PCI
(10MB/sec max)
2 gigabytes
Blue & White G3/450

Castlewood Orb "Beige"

External SCSI-1
(5MB/sec max)
2 gigabytes
Power Mac 7500 G3/400

Iomega Jaz

External Narrow SCSI
1 gigabyte
Beige G3/300

Iomega Zip

External Narrow SCSI
100 megabytes
Power Mac 7500 G3/400
Now don't go saying it's unfair to test on different computers. Even when running the same drive on a 266MHz vs 466MHz Beige G3, there was less than a 10% difference in MacBench and no significant difference in the HDT test. The big difference is seen by changing the type of SCSI controller.


A big MAHALO to...

...Interex for the use of the CarrierZIF G3/400

...MacGurus for the use of the Initio Miles Bluenote Fast SCSI-2 Card

...Nicad for the use of the Grappler 906 SCSI Card & Yosemite G3/450

...Blaine & Ken at STARBULLETIN.COM for use of their Jaz drive & G3/300 MT

...David Tasaka of Lyte-On for the use of his Beige G3 DT with the FireBall 4 gig IDE

A big NO THANK YOU to...

...Castlewood who offered a 18 months of excuses instead of an evaluation unit. I had to buy an Orb drive to get the test results. I purchased it from Cyberian Outpost since they shipped it free and offer full refund within 30 days. But I'm not sending it back. I'm hooked.


Consult my Hot Deals page
for best prices on these and other products.


RETURN to bare feats main page

© 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
Gotta Question? Comment? Want to advertise?
Email Rob Art at


Visit MacGurus for great prices and expert advice on CPU upgrades, Graphics boards, & Ultra2 SCSI drives.
(Free U.S. Ground Shipping if you mention BARE FEATS.)