Castlewood Orb 2.2GB External Hard Disc Drive

The Orb Drive was a 3.5" removable hard disk drive introduced by Castlewood Systems in 1999. Its original capacity was 2.2 GB. A later version of the drive was introduced in 2001 with a capacity of 5.7 GB.

This removable disk drive was far quieter in operation than its contemporary the 2 Gb Iomega Jaz and incorporated several notable and quite novel features:

1 For ease of working with an SCSI interface the SCSI identity could be altered simply with a screwdriver. A recessed control located under the unit allowed one of four settings (0; 4; 5 and 6).

2 Unlike its rivals the Orb had a protective cover over the front of the unit completely encasing the data disk. Closure of the cover allowed air to be purged for reading and writing operations. A button located at the centre of the front panel raised the cover for insertion or removal of a disk as shown in the picture on the right (97mm wide x 103mm high x 7mm deep). Disks were fed into the front of the drive and pressed down lightly to engage them with the drive mechanism. Seconds afterwards the lid would flip back down again.

3 The Orb was encased completely in smoked transparent plastic through which the Power/ activity light shone (Steady Green/ Flashing Amber or Flashing Red) as disks were loaded, tested and unloaded. It was also possible to follow movements of the read and write mechanism through the top panel at the rear of the unit.


    * Average Seek Time: 10ms read/write 12 ms
    * Data Transfer Rate: 12.2 MB/sec maximum
    * Burst Transfer Rate: 20 MB/sec maximum
    * Rotation Speed: 5400 rpm
    * Head: MR (Magneto-Resistive)
    * CPU: 25 MIPS DSP
    * Start/Stop Times: 6 sec spin-up, 10 sec read, 15 sec write/6 sec stop
    * Long Format Time: 9 Minutes
    * Short Format Time: Less than one second

Model No. ORB2SE00
Serial Number: 50A19S711

Our machine complete with original box and packaging was kindly donated by Shane McDonnell

Date : 1999

Manufacturer : Castlewood

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH11385. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Scan of Document: Castlewood Orb 2.2GB External Hard Disc Drive

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