Microdrive, Cart, Cartridges & accessories

The ZX Microdrive is a magnetic-tape data storage system launched in July 1983 by Sinclair Research for its ZX Spectrum home computer. It was proposed as a faster-loading alternative to the cassette and cheaper than a floppy disk, but it suffered from poor reliability and lower speed.

Microdrives used tiny cartridges containing a 5-metre (200 in) endless loop of magnetic tape, which held a minimum of 85 KB and performed a complete circuit in approximately eight seconds.

The Microdrive technology was later also used in the Sinclair QL and ICL One Per Desk personal computers.

The Microdrive was comparatively cheap (£49.95 at launch) and technologically innovative but also rather limited. Connecting a ZX Microdrive to a ZX Spectrum required the ZX Interface 1 unit, costing £49.95, although this could be bought packaged with a Microdrive for £79.95.

Later, in March 1985, the ZX Spectrum Expansion System was launched for £99.95. This consisted of Interface 1, a Microdrive, a blank cartridge and several cartridges containing Tasword Two (a word processor), Masterfile (a database), Quicksilva’s Games Designer and Ant Attack games, and an introductory cartridge.