Iomega Shipping New Zip Drive

Company claims the 750MB disk drive is 50 times faster than a CD-RW's read, write and rewrite speeds.

Iomega Corp. has begun shipping its new 750MB disk drive, as part of its Zip series.

The new drive connects to computers with USB 2.0 ports, features a 7.5MB-per-second transfer rate, and has upgraded backup and synchronization software. It costs $179.

The new transfer rate is 50 times faster than a CD-RWs read, write and rewrite speeds, said Tim Dammon, product general manager of front office products at the San Diego company.

The upgraded applications are Iomega Automatic Backup and Iomega Sync. With the former, users can do advanced backup scheduling and can use filters to avoid backing up unchanged or irrelevant files. The latter adds the ability to work across multiple computers, Dammon said.

Firewire and ATAPI versions of the new drive will come this fall, at $199.95 and $149.95, respectively. The products disks cost $12.49 each and are sold in packs of eight.

Iomegas previous drive only had 250MB of capacity. The company sold 1GB and 2GB drives in its Jazz product line, but discontinued that line recently due to poor sales. Still, of the roughly 1 million Zip units sold each quarter, 40 percent are the original 100MB units, Dammon said.

Zip disks are preformatted and can be password-locked, and the new 750MB disks work on both Windows and Macintosh systems, he said.

"To go beyond [750MB], we would have lost some compatibility" with the older drives, Dammon said. Also, "obviously were looking at all those trends," he said, referring to newer removable storage technologies, like USB keychain devices.