~~~ Overview & Appearance ~~~
The MPF920 is a fairly unremarkable floppy disk drive produced by Sony to be mounted inside your trusty computer. The drive supports 3.5" diskettes up to a maximum capacity of 1.44MB. Measuring just over 3.5" x 4.5" x 1" (approx) the main body of the unit is composed of steel, with a beige fascia at the front. There is a small slot for inserting your diskette, a button to eject the diskette and a small green LED to indicate whether the drive is being read from or written to by your computer. The rear of the unit features a small 4-pin power connector and also a second set of smaller pins for connecting the drive to your motherboard by means of the supplied (sometimes!) lead. The drive features a selection of small holes along each side so that you can screw it securely into your PC case.
Interestingly(?!) the drive is fully enclosed in the steel casing so that there is no exposed circuit board on the underside of the drive which is common in devices from other manufacturers. By hiding this circuitry, Sony have reduced the risks of damaging the drive if you accidentally place something made of metal against the circuit board.
~~~ Use ~~~
Once the drive has been fitted into your PC, it should immediately be recognised by your variant of Windows (Apple Macintosh ended their support of floppy disks years ago) and show up as another drive in "My Computer". Insert a diskette and you can read from or write to the disk as you would any other disk-drive-type device attached to your computer.
Being a floppy disk drive, the MPF9020 is nothing special. Floppy disk drives have become virtually obsolete so there is no longer any incentive for the computing industry to increase the read/write speed of the drive.
Similarly, this drive only accepts 1.44 MB floppy diskettes which in todays terms is a tiny amount of information. Considering many digital cameras take photographs of 2.5MB+ in size, you are not going to able to fit many (if any) onto a diskette.
~~~ Observations ~~~
In the course of my job, I have found the Sony MPF920 to be an extremely resilient piece of hardware. Working in a school I am very used to finding all manner of objects inserted into the floppy disk drives, but I have found that the Sony drives seem to withstand this treatment far more readily than any of their rivals.
Added to this is the relative ease with which the drive casing can be removed so that inserted objects can be retrieved, this drive really is worth investigating for use in enviroments where you may experience regular computer vandalism.
Sadly te small springs which keep the floppy drive doors are not quite as sturdy as the rest of the device and they do occasionally fall off meaning that the floppy door must be removed. This does not appear to affect the functioning of the drive in any way though.
~~~ Conclusion ~~~
As noted above, the relatively small capacity of floppy disks means that they are all but obsolete in modern computers. That said, the floppy disk is still the most widely-used form of removable computer storage and will probably be with us for some time to come (until the World stops using Windows 95/98 anyway!).
Floppy disk drives are notoriously fragile because of the way they use magnetic fields to store data on floppy disks and as such, there is always a few delicate points inside the drive. With this device, Sony have done as much as possible to prevent damage to its componentry and in my experience this really is one of the best designed units around. And you must remember not to expose your floppy disks to magnets or mobile phones!
If you are in the market for a new floppy disk drive, (perhaps your brand new PC did not come with one), or you need to replace an old drive, then this drive will meet your requirements perfectly.
Thanks for reading!
© 2009 ben-lloyd. Please note that this review appears on other webistes under the same username.