ProDrive For The Amiga
Third-party hardware support for the Amiga appears to be accelerating at surprising speed. Attributable mainly to the marketing success of the Amiga 500, third-party manufacturers in recent months have come out with a panoply of hardware peripherals for the Commodore Amiga. One of these third-party hardware peripherals, the ProDrive from Progressive Peripherals & Software, is a good example of third-party support that benefits Amiga owners with higher quality products at less expensive prices.
Like the Amiga 1010 3½-inch external floppy drive, the ProDrive draws its power from the computer power supply. Additionally, the ProDrive is designed to be 100-percent compatible with the Amiga 1010 external drive. Similarities between the two drives, however, end there. The ProDrive is compact, consuming only about 40 percent of the space that the Amiga 1010 drive requires. Its dimensions are a mere 7 inches deep by 4¼ inches wide by 1½ inches in height. Removing the metal housing of the drive revealed the reason for its compactness. The drive is an NEC brand internal 3½-inch drive, undoubtedly developed for IBM PC clones.
Other physical characteristics of the ProDrive that distinguish it from the Amiga 1010 drive are its sturdy metal housing, spring-loaded door to keep dust out of the drive, and its three-foot cable to connect to the computer. One woefully inadequate feature of the Amiga 1010 is its stubby cable. For Amiga 500 owners, the 1010 must sit immediately next to or on top of the computer in order for proper connection of the cable. My work station would not accommodate such an arrangement and I was forced to buy a special extension cable to connect my Amiga 1010 drive. The ProDrive's extra cable length, therefore, provides needed flexibility for your work space.
In my examination of the drive I found the ProDrive to be truly 100 percent compatible with the Amiga 1010. All reads and writes to the drive perform flawlessly, and all commercial software, including many with copy protection, ran on the ProDrive without a glitch. I detected no distinguishable differences in the speed of reading and writing to disk between the ProDrive and the Amiga 1010. Its quietness of operation, however, was pleasantly noticeable in comparison to the noisy operation of the 1010.
The only drawback to the ProDrive is the absence of a 23-D-pin drive connection out of the drive to permit daisy-chaining of additional drives. As most Amiga owners are aware, the operating system of the Amiga will support up to four floppy drives. However, the power supply of the computer will support only one external floppy drive, making it impossible to connect more than one Amiga 1010 drive to the computer. That fact was undoubtedly the consideration of Progressive Peripherals when it decided to leave off the drive connection on the ProDrive. However, the absence of such connection prevents one from daisy-chaining an Amiga 1020 5¼-inch external drive. The Amiga 1020 has its own power supply and can be daisy-chained with an Amiga 1010. The absence of the drive connection on the ProDrive, therefore, is a significant consideration for any Amiga owner who is considering obtaining a 5¼-inch drive down the road.
In summary, the ProDrive is an excellent high-quality hardware peripheral for the Amiga. It is better built than the 1010 external drive and has significant feature enhancements over the Amiga drive. Its compactness, quiet operation, and sturdiness make it a very attractive peripheral. And with a list price $60 less than the 1010, it's very much a bargain. Unless you have or are considering the Amiga 1020 5¼-inch drive, I recommend serious consideration of the ProDrive as an inexpensive yet higher-quality alternative to the Amiga 1010 drive.
Progressive Peripherals & Software
464 Kalamath St.
Denver, CO 80204