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External Floppy Drives - Comparing External Floppy Drives

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For all intents and purposes the floppy disk drive is dead. Internal floppy drives have not been standard equipment on computers for over 7 years. When this first occurred, people were aghast. “What? No floppy drive? Ridiculous!” was a common reply to the news. No one could have believed that CD and DVD media would become affordable enough to replace the cheap, ubiquitous floppy disk, and flash drives cheap enough to be disposable were an alien dream.

The 3.5” floppy disk that many of us grew up on has a maximum data storage of 1.44 MB. Today, that’s not even enough for a single MP3 or a standard 10-megapixel photo. Since CDs, DVDs, and flash drives that hold hundreds or thousands of megabytes came down in price, floppy disks were abandoned. You would be hard-pressed to find any store that still sells them. An old mom and pop computer store might have a box lying around covered in dust, but do not get your hopes up.

Many of today’s motherboards have gone so far as to eliminate the dedicated connector required for internal floppy drives. This means external floppy drives connected by USB are the only option. An external floppy drive today has only one use: for archiving projects. There is no use in recording anything to a floppy disk anymore because no one will be able to read it. The only reason anyone would need an external floppy drive is if they have several floppy disks that need to be archived onto a hard drive, flash drive, or optical media.

Buying an external floppy drive was once simple and inexpensive. As most other hardware goes down in price, the external floppy drive prices are rising because they are becoming difficult to find. The best bet for finding an external floppy drive for an emergency archiving project is to go directly to the computer specialty stores online. This means TigerDirect, Newegg, and Best Buy. A few companies have bought up some old stock and have an inventory of old external floppy drives also, but only about 5 models are currently still being manufactured.

Here are a few models of floppy disk drives still available:

Diablotek 1.44MB External USB Floppy Drive (USBFL-BK)
This is a great model of external floppy drive because it is very slender and sleek. It can fit in your pocket and it does not take up much space. It is powered directly through the USB port, so there is no bulky AC adapter to complicate matters. It receives rave consumer reviews and works with newer system directly out of the box within seconds. It comes in only one color, black, and lists for $16.99.

Sabrent 1.44MB External USB Floppy Disk Drive (SBT-UFDB)
This model is similar to the Diablotek model, except it is slightly boxier. The Diablotek is smooth and rounded, but the Sabrent has definite edges. It is also very slim and comes in black with a blue eject button. The major complaint with this drive is that the cord is too short. Otherwise, it receives excellent reviews. List price is $19.99

PowerUP External USB Floppy Drive (G54-8016)
This is the highest-rated of the three external floppy drives. It is even boxier than the Sabrent, but it has a flatter form-factor, making it exceptionally slender. The USB cord is of ample length and the eject button is as black as the case. This drive lists for $19.99.

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