The disk-mirroring technology known as Raid I is costly and complex, and found mainly in corporate offices. Essentially, it connects two hard disks to a computer and writes identical material on them. If one disk fails, the other steps in.
With its DupliDisk Raid 1 product, Arco Computer Products has helped make this technology a lot more accessible.
You plug DupliDisk, an interface card, into any slot on your computer and attach the included cables to your primary and mirror IDE drives. After installation, you boot up the computer from DupliDisk's bootable floppy disk, which proceeds to copy everything from your current drive to the mirror drive. When finished, you just restart.
Since the DupliDisk is a hardware solution, you enjoy two major benefits: First, there is no speed degradation. As data are written to the first drive, it is written to the mirror drive. Second, DupliDisk works with any PC operating system.
-- Craig Crossman, Knight-Ridder
by Arco Computer Products, Inc.
1-800-458-1666 or 1-954-925-2688
$225-$250, depending on configuration
The Dish on DishPlayer
DishPlayer is a satellite TV version of a "hard disk recorder," a new class of device that lets you use a computer like a VCR, and then some. Priced at $199 until the end of September, it costs $300 less than the least expensive models from its rivals, but it can't match the range of tricks they perform.
Still, it's a compelling product, basically three products in one: a receiver for the Dish Network satellite TV service, complete with 18-inch satellite dish for mounting on the roof; a WebTV terminal for viewing World Wide Web pages and conducting electronic-mail correspondence through a TV; and a hard disk recorder.
The DishPlayer comes with a 8.6-gigabyte disk, enough for about nine hours of recording in low-quality mode.
-- Mike Langberg, San Jose Mercury
by DishNetwork and WebTV Networks
$199 until Sept. 30
DishNetwork and WebTV monthly charges are extra