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Computer Accessories

Formac Disk Mini 120GB: Jong-sized HD video transporter

If you need to transfer huge amounts of food, you get a fat man to eat it all and put him in a taxi. But what if you want to transfer huge amounts of hi-def video?

Now that high-definition video is de rigueur for any filmmaker worth his fashionably distressed Diesels, we all need something to cart captured footage around in. While old-school DV ate up a polite 13GB per hour, HDV (the consumer HD format used by Sony) binge-eats an outrageous 38GB to 50GB per hour. If you want to move projects around, you're going to need something like this pocket-sized Formac Disk Mini 120GB.

We're hardened cynics in this arena -- victims of multiple hard disk failures, not to mention the flashbacks that still visit us after the 1GB Iomega Jaz drive fiasco of 1999 -- but in our preliminary tests the Formac Disk Mini performed well. Last night we loaded it with a 50GB HDV video project we're working on and took it across London. The project survived two Tube zones in a rucksack and delivered its payload gracefully onto another machine.

We rate transfer speed on the Formac Mini at six and a half Hammonds. If you use the FireWire connector (over the USB) you're in for a special treat -- it's blisteringly swift. FireWire is still our interface of choice for sustained high-speed throughput.

The only disappointment here is that the drive is FireWire 400, not the new FireWire 800 standard. Admittedly, not much equipment has adopted this standard yet, but transfer speeds double those of FireWire 400 make us reach for the flying goggles. Only time will tell whether this Formac has durability to match its speed, but so far things look good. The Formac Disk Mini 120GB is available now for just over £100. -CS