SyQuest SparQ 1GB
(a dinasour by todays standards)
You can't be serious when a 4-8 GB. USB Thumb Drive will store several times more data than the Syquest SparQ 1GB......and cost almost nothing compared to the cost of the Syquest SparQ and it's high cost/hard to find cartridges. Unless of course if you're preparing it for display in the Smithsonian. Without a driver, the OS is unaware of this devices' presence. There's a certain pleasure in getting an historic piece of gear like a SparQ running, but there's no future in it. If you get it to work, I suggest copying all the data from the cartridges onto more industry-standard media (e. g., CD-R or a USB Thumb Drive), and then retiring the SparQ to a computer museum or dark closet.
For: Windows 3.1 or higher, Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0 (an iMac version was due in Nov. 98, but did not appear due to the fact that SyQuest entered bankruptcy in Nov. '98.
The SparQ drive was a removable drive made by SyQuest Technology. The drive was available as an internal version with IDE interface, and an external version for the parallel port. The cartridge could store 1 GB of data and, as removable-disk hard drive, contained a solid hard disk platter on which the data are stored.
When the SparQ drive was launched, it was primarily noticed for its relatively low price of $199.00 (really?). Compared to the Zip drive, a 100 MB disk could cost $22 USD while a 1 GB SparQ disk could cost $39 USD.
Just a few months after the launch, people began to complain that the drives had serious quality issues, causing them to break down.
The damage to its public image and warranty obligations of Syquest were major factors behind the company's bankruptcy in Nov. '98.
After the bankruptcy, Syquest kept its rights to make and sell the drive, which it continued to sell directly to consumers via its website. The price increased compared to when the drive was launched, so it is primarily for businesses that still rely on the drive and people who want to read old SparQ disks. As of October 2008, the web site is no longer active.
The SparQ was noteworthy for a bizarre failure mode which damages SparQ disks in a way that causes them to damage subsequent SparQ drives in which they are placed. Simply put, putting a broken disk in a SparQ drive will cause the drive to break any new disks placed in that drive. These (now broken) disks can break new drives, breaking most of the drives in an office in short order.
Parallel Port Issues
The parallel port version of the SparQ is the same standard ATA mechanism as supplied with the EIDE version of the drive, with an extra Shuttletech "EPAT" adapter and, of course, and external case, cable and power supply. In general, we don’t recommend parallel port storage devices. We’ve seen many problems, such as conflicts with printers, tape backups or other parallel devices. For example, combining a SparQ Drive, Microtek E6 Scanner, and an HP Deskjet 560 printer is a combination known not to work. The easiest solution is to add a second parallel port. Most single parallel port i/o cards support only IRQs 5 and 7. (The SIIG Dual Parallel Pro card allows you to disable the second port on the card so you only need one IRQ, and gives you a choice of IRQs 3-5, 7, 9-12, and 15.)
However, if you are out of slots and/or IRQs, a high quality A/B parallel switch box should allow you to run the SparQ without problems.
IRQ problems may crop up, too. In the case of the SparQ, the Parallel port version of the drive uses IRQ 7. Thus, you may encounter a problem if another device in your system such as a sound card, modem or scanner uses the same IRQ. The solution, according to SyQuest Tech-support, is to avoid the use of IRQ 7 in these devices.
Note that some parallel port devices, such as the Iomega Ditto Max, are not compatible with ECP parallel ports. You have to go into your BIOS and set the parallel port to either bidirectional or, in some cases, EPP mode. Have you checked to see if you can manually install it from 'add hardware' in control panel? Also, make sure your parallel port is set to bi-directional or EPP or ECP.
Despite the fact that it is essentially a discontinued product from a defunct company, a SparQ was a handy addition to a PC (back in 1998) for those who need quick and convenient access to files on removable media. However, we pity the saps that pre-ordered the USB version of the SparQ, once expected to ship in November 1998. -- it is unlikely they'll see their money, or the drive they ordered, anytime soon, despite a Jan. '99 report on News.com that Inter-Manufacturing Incorporated, based in San Jose, California, is now handling the company's repair work. At least until another company buys the product line or bails SyQuest out, don't expect an unending supply of SparQ media, either.
If you're planning on using the drive in Windows XP, forget it and join the club of users who now have a costly (if bought in 1998) paper weight. What's left of the company is this:
SyQuest Technology, Inc. is at 47071 Bayside Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538; telephone 800-245-2278;
Web site [url]http://www.syquest.com[/url].
Syquest SparQ 1.0 GB Parallel Port driver
OS/Type: Windows 98 / 95
File name: pi_355_2_9x.exe
(note: the "pi" indicates for "parallel interface".)
File size: 1,426 KB. (1.39 MB.)
is the driver file needed to make it work in Windows 2000.
I was unable to find a DOS or Win3.1 driver.
is the driver file needed for use in Windows NT4.0
Fact: No drivers were ever written for Windows XP since it did not exist in 1998 (the year Syquest went out of business via bankruptcy).