QIC drives, a widely used standard, have been in use on UNIX servers and in the PC sector since the mid-1980s. The storage capacity was limited and was only increased to up to 50 GB with Multichannel Linear Recording( MLR) developed by Tandberg Data.
QIC (Quarter Inch Cartridge) distinguishes between two cartridge sizes: The 5.25" cartridge and the mini 3.5" inch cartridge. For both cartridge sizes, the width of the magnetic tape is 0.25", i.e. 6.35 mm, and the length is also identical at 93.57 meters. There are several recording methods and over 40 different cartridges for QIC, which is reflected in the available storage capacities of between 15 megabytes( MB) and 50 gigabytes (GB). In addition, there are various sub-genera that differ in tape length and cartridge shape: QIC-MiniCartridge, QIC-Wide, QIC-XL, QIC-Extra and Travan, which probably has the widest distribution among QIC streamers.
QIC streamers use either longitudinal or helical scan data recording. Travan tape drives use the linear recording method, the longitudinal track method, which also allows simultaneous recording of multiple channels, known as multichannel linear recording.
For longitudinal recording, up to 144 tracks are available on the 5.25" tapes. Recording is performed in both directions, with a read head behind each write head that reads the recorded data immediately after recording and compares it with the original data stored in the buffer. If the recording contains errors, the entire data block is recorded again
QIC variants include:
QIC-40, a mini-cartridge storage system with 40 MB storage capacity of uncompressed data,
QIC-80, a mini cartridge storage system with a storage capacity between 80 MB and 500 MB,
QIC-3010, a mini cartridge storage system with a storage capacity between 340 MB and 1.1 GB,
QIC-3020, a mini cartridge storage system with a storage capacity between 680 MB and 2.2 GB, and
In the QIC-Wide version, the width of the magnetic tape is 8 mm and the length is 122 m, which increases the storage capacity by about 70%.