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              Review: Dell High-Density External Amiga Floppy
                            By:  Jason Compton 
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Hey, you never know where friends can come from.

Ok, so they didn't do it out of the goodness of their hearts, they did it
because Software Hut and Better Concepts asked them to build a whole lot.
But it's done.

Somebody figured out that Dell's external laptop floppy could be made Amiga
compatible with just a little fuss.  One hacked up cable later, the Dell
floppy is now the second best way to get high density disks read on your
Amiga.  (The best would be an internal high density floppy, but Amiga Tech
can't find anybody who wants to make them right now.)

A ridiculously small footprint (Roughly 5 inches long by 4 inches wide) and
slim styling (it's 5 stacked floppies tall) make it a very unassuming piece
of hardware.  The case is an odd smoke grey, roughly the same color as the
CD32, which serves to make it the perfect companion piece for the SX-1.
The Dell has no Amiga floppy passthrough, so it has to sit on the end of a
floppy chain.  There are no DIP switches, either, it defaults to DF2: on
the A3000, skipping DF1: for the other internal bay, presumably.

The drive requires no special drivers but does need Workbench 2.1 to
function properly, and Software Hut recommends CrossDOS 6 Pro for PC disk
reading.  Good idea, too, as operating under the standard CrossDOS with the
Workbench results in an awful lot of CRC errors.  Besides, it's been a long
time since Consultron's seen a lot of return on CrossDOS, and 6 is a
worthwhile upgrade.  We ran into no problems using MaxDOS and CrossMAC for
Macintosh floppies.

Other weak points?  Well, as mentioned before, the cable is a hack.
Specifically, the connector on the drive is only a small card edge with
relatively little stability.  The cable itself is a rather unmatching
beige, ending in wrapped wire and a small circuit board, enclosed in
plastic and hot-glued.  Really, the casing around the board covers
everything, but the only way to tell which way to put the card-edge in the
connector is by the small white sticker on one side of the cable.

A decent solution for the high density problem.  Perhaps disgruntled 4000T
owners, stuck with double density drives, can bribe their internal high
density-owning friends to trade.  And for US$115, it's a bit cheaper than
other drives, including those which require special software drivers to
operate at all.

Software Hut
Folcroft East Business Park
313 Henderson Dr.
Sharon Hill, PA  19079
610-586-5703 voice
610-586-5606 fax
No e-mail address.  Encourage non-networked companies to get online!