If you ask a different folks about their opinions on a given topic you will likely get different answers. This sentiment has been true for a while now with regards to the need of a floppy drive. Yes, those little plastic covered disks are out of date, but unless you have been quick to jump on Windows Vista, odds are good you will have need of one when it comes time to install an operating system on your brand new SATA drive.
So you go out and get a floppy drive and maybe even just install it for OS installations then put it away. But what if you could get some added functionality from your device? Would that make a difference? After all, floppy drives are pretty handy for BIOS flashes and hardware firmware updates too.
Enter Scythe, a company that has been around since late 2002 and are well known for their cooling products. Its aim is to give the DIY crowd something workable at a reasonable price. One of Scythe's latest projects was to create a device that works with a lot of different media types but also includes the functionality of a floppy drive. Basically the YD-8V08 is a 3.5-inch device that combines a card reader (18 formats according to the marketing media) and a floppy drive. Does it all work together? Read on to see for yourself.
In The Box
Once you have emptied the box, you have the device and two cables. You will only be using one for your device, but both are included to give more flexibility during installation. The white cable is for those with an empty USB header on the motherboard and the black cable is for those who do not and need to connect the device through an external port.
One item of note regarding the external cable: you may need it to be just a bit longer. Most will likely not have a large problem, but if you are running, say, dual graphics and a couple of PCI boards that reside high on the motherboard, you may need to do some reorganizing to get an open port for your USB cable. Not a huge issue, but it bears noting.
The front of the device has a simple and straightforward design that does not take a rocket scientist to figure out. The floppy drive is on the top and the other readers/writers are positioned below. As we said earlier, this device fits in the traditional 3.5-inch external drive bay.
As far as compatibility goes, this "YD Series" device will read and write to all varieties of Compact Flash, Smart Media, SD, xD, MMC and Memory Stick media types. It is even compatible with the IBM Micro Drives for those with the high-end digital cameras that take advantage of this media type.
The back side of the device is pretty standard fare with a FDD cable port and a power header that uses a normal FDD power connector from your system power supply. This gets the floppy drive part of the device running, but the reader/writer functions will be connected from below.
On the bottom of the drive unit you will see a port that allows you to attach the appropriate cable to your system. The arrow shows the location of this port. The casing is also arranged where you can run that cable inside the confines of the drive and out the back beside the power connection. This allows those with little room around their 3.5-inch drive bay to still make use of this device.
When it comes to gadgets, more is generally better. Scythe has managed to come up with a simple multi-card reading device and make it better by adding in a floppy drive as well. Not only does this allow those who use both to get everything in a smaller package, it also allows those who do not really want a floppy drive to still have one around when they need it. Add in the large assortment of compatible media types and you have yourself a very handy product.
As far as working well, this unit is fully USB 2.0 compliant and gives you the faster data transfer rates that come with this technology. I used SD, Memory Stick, Smart Media and CF media and all worked flawlessly. The floppy drive had no issues either as it was used for driver installations when a new OS was placed on our test machine.
As far as price goes, the YD-8V08 will run around $30US, so is consistent with pricing of normal multi-card reading devices currently on the market. You can get it in either white or black, so you can keep the front of your enclosure looking uniform.
Bottom line... If you have been thinking of getting an installable multi-reading device and either do not want a standalone floppy drive or are looking to save space, the Scythe YD-8V08 is for you. With full compatibility for a vast majority of common media types and USB 2.0 speeds to boot, you just cannot go wrong.
Compatible with most removable media currently available
Combines FDD with media reader/writer
Fits in standard 3.5-inch drive bay
Fully USB 2.0 compliant
USB cable may be too short
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award!
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