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CARD DRIVES

CARD DRIVES

By Peter McLean

What Is A Card drive?

A card drive is a device which allows your desktop PC to read from and write to the RAM memory card that is used with the HP 95LX. Card drives connect to either the parallel or serial port of your PC, and some are installed internally. In all cases, the card drive looks like a floppy disk drive to the operating system of your PC. Thus you can use any of the standard MS-DOS commands, such as COPY, DIR, or DEL to arrange the files on a memory card.

In addition, a card drive can be the default drive for your desktop's application programs, allowing you to save files directly to, and retrieve files from the memory card.

Card Drive Graphic

 When you remove the memory card from the card drive and insert it into the memory card slot of your 95LX, all of the files and programs that were on the memory card when it was plugged into the card drive are available on drive A of the 95LX.

A card drive serves the same purpose as a 3.5 inch drive used to transfer files to and from a laptop and a desktop PC. If you didn't have a 3.5 inch floppy drive in your desktop PC, you would have to use a program such as LapLink to transfer your files. Likewise, a 95LX without a memory card and card drive must use a connectivity kit (either from HP or a third party) to transfer files. Because a connectivity kit uses the serial port of your PC, the data transfer rate is very slow. The transfer rate of a card drive can be much faster if connected to the parallel port of your PC or connected directly to the data and address bus of your PC (the case with internal card drives).

ADVANTAGES OF A MEMORY CARD

You must purchase a RAM memory card if you are going to use a card drive. Using a memory card in your 95LX benefits you in other ways as well. If you always use the memory card for your files instead of using the C drive, you can change the allocation of internal RAM to free up more user RAM area. Storing your files and programs on a memory card also means that they are backed up and ready for copying to your PC via the card drive. Also, you can instantly "de-personalize" your 95LX by removing the memory card containing your files before lending your 95LX to someone.

Using memory cards and a card drive also means that the 95LX doesn't have to be there when you download files from your PC. You or someone in your group can copy the desired files to the memory card, and deliver the card to the 95LX.

CARD DRIVE AND CONNECTIVITY KIT

A card drive and memory card will not completely replace a connectivity kit. The software that comes with the HP Connectivity Kit allows you to run the 95LX's built-in applications on your PC, and the serial cable that comes with the Connectivity Kit is useful for printer and modem connections. Besides, you may run into a desktop computer that is not outfitted with a card drive. If you already have a Connectivity Kit, you haven't wasted your money. But you will enjoy the speed and convenience of using a card drive to transfer your files back-and-forth between your PC and HP 95LX.

CARD DRIVES AND THE FUTURE

The age of palmtop and handheld computers is upon us, and these types of PC's do not have the physical room or power needed by rotating magnetic media. The memory cards used in the HP 95LX are standard, PCMCIA-compatible cards that will be used in virtually all of the upcoming handheld and palmtop computers, many of which will be introduced this year. The card drive/memory card combination will become just another standard method of transferring data from one computer to another. Your desktop or laptop computer will not be complete without one.

iPhone Life magazine


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