IBM 3490E (1991 – 2004)

IBM 3490E was a tape cartridge format introduced in 1991 by IBM. It shared the same form factor as IBM 3480 and 3490 tape, consisting of a rectangular cartridge containing a single reel of ½-inch chromium dioxide tape. The take-up reel is inside the drive.

However, it employed 36 tracks (compared to the 3480 and 3490’s 18 tracks) on longer tape, and had a capacity of up to 2.4 GB using IDRC data compression (as used by the IBM 3490). To distinguish it from the 18-track tapes, IBM 3490E cartridges generally have a cream-coloured base. IBM 3490E drives can read 3480 and 3490 tapes, but they cannot write to them.

The IBM 3480 family of formats (including the 3590E) was superseded by the IBM 3590 or Magstar family, and the last IBM 3480 family drives were manufactured in 2004.

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