View Full Version : New Dell PC specs. What..no floppy?

11-11-2003, 11:07 PM
I saw a Dell Dimension 4600 desktop PC advertised on TV tonight. Reasonable specs and $1999 all up. Had a look at it on their website (www.dell.co.nz) and while what is there is adequate, you can see where the savings have been made. One is 'no floppy drive'. Not as important for storage now as previously but probably still nice to have. I know you can get external ones or install an internal one assuming there is a spare bay...but really, can you get by without one yet. (My main worry is emergency disks for when evil strikes).
What about booting up from an external floppy drive. Anyone have any information to share on this?

11-11-2003, 11:15 PM
Im no dell but i dont install floppies in many systems i build nowadays,besides its only 6 extra dollars if someone wants one.

11-11-2003, 11:20 PM
I know we boot laptops (yes they have no floppy drive) from a exterenal usb drive or make a bootable cdrom with all the evil fixers on it

11-11-2003, 11:22 PM
How often do you USE a floppy? More and more companies did remove such feature, even tho its just a couple of bucks extra worth while producing the unit. 1.4Mb is just not enough. Most units do boot via USB memorysticks tho. Far more useful.

12-11-2003, 08:34 AM
And some of them u can fit linux on !

12-11-2003, 08:46 AM
What about people who use programs like MYOB or NZA Gold that needs to backup to floppy?
Not worth buying a CDRW just for that is it?

12-11-2003, 08:53 AM
backup to a network!

12-11-2003, 10:05 AM
I like the idea of using a memory card reader instead of a floppy.
Heck, I've got over half a gig of Ram in my camera now. Why would I want to use 1.44Mb?

Terry Porritt
12-11-2003, 10:12 AM
Well, for one I use floppies all the time, cant see how anyone can live without them if you indulge in lots of playing around, running utilities from floppies etc.
I know they can be put on a cd, but it is so much more convenient from a floppy most of the time.

12-11-2003, 10:15 AM
i still find the old floppy handy for booting and repairs. even loading lan drivers etc so i can geet it up on the lan to copy over the rest of the drivers etc.

however more and more is being replaced by bootable cd's.

Terry Porritt
12-11-2003, 10:23 AM
I forgot to ask this. I havent bought any new floppy drive cables for so long, I have a big box full. Are there still the connectors attached for 5 1/4" floppy drives???? :) :) If so why?

12-11-2003, 11:09 AM
No, I haven't seen a FDD cable, with a new mobo, with the 5 1/4" connector for a long time.

But I do have a drawer full of FDD cables with 5 1/4" connector if anybody needs one :)

12-11-2003, 11:12 AM
What if they are using a stand-alone PC and want to be able to backup NZA or whatever and then restore on PC at home to carry on working?

12-11-2003, 11:33 AM
ive jst bought a dell 8300 and im not missing the floppy drive one bit!

12-11-2003, 11:45 AM
For NZAGold I created a batch file for it so that you could backup to CD, Zip or any media you could assign a drive letter too. MYOB has supported backing up to any drive since I can remember so it's of no concern using floppy or any other media.

Well lets see, how many floppies does it take to backup NZAGold, last time I used it was about 4 floppies, how many on CD, 1, how long does it take you to complete backing up 4 floppies as well as verifying the data, too long. On CD you would be finished in a matter of Seconds dependant on CD speed, although it's still faster than floppy.

CDRW are worth their dollar value when using CDs, Floppies cost more than CDs and are slower. I think floppies are more prone to problems than CDs.

Floppy drives are not needed anymore, but I wouldn't get rid of them, as you should know, someone is going to bring you a floppy disk sooner or later so you may as well be prepared huh :P

12-11-2003, 01:32 PM
Thanks for the input everyone. If I get this system I will pay the extra $36 and get the FDD (just in case). What can I say? I'm a guy and I can't comprehend life without Mr Floppy....

Susan B
12-11-2003, 02:52 PM
> If I get this system I will pay the extra $36 and get the FDD (just in case). What can I say? I'm a guy and I can't comprehend life without Mr Floppy....

Yeah, some people rubbished my decision to install a FDD in my new PC last year but I haven't regretted it. It has been very handy at times and I would do it again.

I'm a girl and I can't comprehend life without Mr Floppy either......

12-11-2003, 07:42 PM
How could you do without a floppy? I use them all the time for Drive Image, Partition Magic, boot disks, bios upgrades, loads of stuff!

Until such time as something comes along which replaces the floppy completely and has greater capacity, then I'll keep using it. By that I don't mean useless USB which has pretty limited support in the BIOS and programs which are designed to run on floppy like Partition Magic etc, just wouldn't work at this stage. Stuff like USB mice are useless in this area too. The floppy drive replacement would have to act like a normal floppy drive and the programs you needed to run like PM etc would run without knowing the difference, even old dos programs. Also options in the bios to say: Boot from 'certain device'. Cds aren't too useful either because they aren't re-writeable.

12-11-2003, 10:10 PM
as a next step, does anyone know about booting of memory sticks?

12-11-2003, 10:18 PM
Hmmm....i have no floppy but use partition magic :D

And bootdisks?....meh...they are so 1998

Dolby Digital
12-11-2003, 11:38 PM
>>Heck, I've got over half a gig of Ram in my camera now.
Skite!! :D

13-11-2003, 08:24 AM
I was hoping for a defintive answer to this question,so far no luck.
If the likes of Dell leave them off,I would suggest one can manage without and it wont be long b4 they are just a memory,I would have thought.

13-11-2003, 09:15 AM
I read a while ago that floppies will be a thing of the past in a couple of years, but I think in this case it was Dell trying to configure a PC to come in under $2000 (which it achieved with under a dollar to spare).
I think the answer is that if you're a tinkerer or concerned about boot up problems you get a FDD. If you don't play around with your PC and are confident that you won't have boot problems, or you can boot from CD then you can do without the FDD. The storage side of it doesn't really enter into the equation.

Terry Porritt
13-11-2003, 10:09 AM
I fully agree with your assessment oggy, especially that storage/backup just isnt the issue.

13-11-2003, 10:30 AM
If you work in an office with an older computer that does not have a CD writer or provision for using a memory stick, tranferring files via floppy disk or two to work on at home is more convenient than emailing the files via dialup.

13-11-2003, 10:53 AM
if you're a real tinkerer, you have a usb stick with all the programs you need on it, or one of these:

http://g33kflat.skankyflat.net/images/random/minicd.jpg (ignore norah)

I do have one with all the apps I need and a bootloader that allows me to choose between them as required.. but I'm loaning it out to a mate

floppy drives are archaic technology, snail slow, unreliable and like it or not, they're going the way of the dodo one way or the other. The current trends with pc's is fast moving towards "legacy free" and HTPC applications. This means that pc's are getting smaller, faster, more multimedia orientated AND they're ditching legacy connectivity.. this means serial ports, parallel ports and floppy drives are going bye bye. Better to adapt now than be cut short.

As a case modder I find floppy drives tend to give a case an ugly look... as a system builder I find the floppy connector a horrible waste of motherboard space, space better used on SATA, and the floppy controller itself is a horrible waste of silicon that could be better used on superior technologies such as onboard apu's, improved acpi controllers, usb2, firewire, wireless and new connectivity standards.

Terry Porritt
13-11-2003, 11:32 AM
Like it or not, not everyone goes out and buys the latest bells and whistles. Old technology is going to be with us for as long as people like Graham and myself :) continue to use it. For instance I have an HP pen plotter, that uses HPGL language, and runs off the serial port with an RS232 cable.
It is old but it does the job I want of drawing printed circuit diagrams directly onto copper board, and then I can etch. I also use dos electronic programs like Autotrax, Easytrax, DraftChoice etc, as the need arises. I can scan a magazine PCB track layout with my old Canoscan FB310 which has a parallel port connection, vectorize the bit map, and then plot onto copper.

Toyota if Im going out to spend thousands on something else to do the job.

Then again I use an NEC P7 dot matrix printer to print text. The ribbons are re-inked with $4 stamp pad ink from the Stationery Warehouse, that is enough for 6 re-inks. None of this $60 cartridge nonsense :)

The toyotas wont get any more money out of me than is necessary :D

Jim B
13-11-2003, 11:34 AM
Apple did away with the floppy drive when the iMac was introduced in 1998.

As usual everyone else catches up with Mac inovations eventually.

13-11-2003, 01:54 PM
>As usual everyone else catches up with Mac inovations eventually.

Is taking something away an inovation?

Just can't understand not moving with the times,maybe your shroud will have pockets Terry.;)

13-11-2003, 02:08 PM
I could build up a system and not realise the floppy was dead for a year or two, well just until I needed to use the floppy for some reason. I transfer files with a USB stick mainly, or email/ftp. Whenever I have used a floppy recently it has only been for educational purposes (hardware labs at polytech, install DOS etc) or for mucking around on a laptop I've got here, installing windows 1.1 and the like... though I'm sure I could do that from USB stick if need be.