Review: Aiwa TD-U8000 Travan 8GB Tape Drive

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


The Aiwa TD-U8000 is a Travan 8GB tape drive lets you perform backups to 8GB (4GB uncompressed) Travan (a.k.a. QIC) tapes over USB and includes a copy of Dantz‘s Retrospect 4.1 tailored for this drive.

The drive itself is about the size of a typical external drive, and the sturdy metal case has rubber bumpers all around so that you can orient the drive horizontally or vertically. Its power supply is built into the unit, with a permanently-attached power cord and a two-prong plug. The fan is on the bottom and sounds pretty loud when used at home. On the translucent blue front there are three status LEDs and a slot for your tape.

The nice thing about backing up to tape is that you can still work on your computer while it’s doing the backup, unlike CD-burning which requires the computer’s complete attention if you don’t want to make coasters. Retrospect is the standard for Macintosh backup, so you get some really good software with this drive. It can do incremental and full backups, unattended operation, scheduling, and many other things while running in the background.

Performance is about typical with other Travan 8GB drives: 24 to 25 megabytes per minute. Doing a full backup of a 6 GB drive will take about 8 hours in write and verify mode, so you’ll probably want to run it overnight. However, most of the time you’ll be doing incremental backups, reserving the full backup for the end of the week. For personal backups, this is good enough.

Travan tapes run about US$35, more expensive than DAT tapes of the same capacity, but this is offset by the lower cost of the drive. When you insert the tape cartridge, it sticks out a little, and you must manually remove the tape instead of ejecting it, as DAT users might expect. It might seem a bit odd to just yank the tape out of the drive like that, but that seems to be how it works.

The Aiwa TD-U8000 sells for US$299, comes with Retrospect 4.1 and a USB cable, and is Mac-only. You will also need to have a Travan 8GB tape, which costs about US$35.

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