CompactFlash revision 3 increases data transfer rate to 66 MByte/s

Cologne - The CompactFlash standard received an upgrade in its revision 3, boosting the interface data transfer four-fold. The standard now integrates FAT32 to support the full capacity of cards over 2.2 GByte.

The newly announced CF+ and the CompactFlash Specification Revision 3.0 use Ultra DMA 33 and UltraDMA66 standard known from IDE harddrives to increase the interface data transfer rate from currently 16 MByte/s to 66 MByte/s. The DMA interface mode reduces the processor power required to manage the CompactFlash data transfers. Faster PCMCIA ATA Memory and I/O modes have also been added and can provide interface transfer rates up to 25 MByte/s, according to the standardization body CompactFlash Association (CFA).

The original and current CompactFlash Specification allows for addressing 137 GByte cards. However, currently the FAT16 file system is used for cards up to 2.2 GByte. To use the full capacity of cards over 2.2 GB capacity, the FAT32 file system is necessary, the CFA said. The new specification recommends that new products being designed systems be designed should be compatible with FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 file systems.

CompactFlash are currently offered with up to 12 GByte capacity, the mainstream has reached 512 kByte and 1 GByte products. So far there have been no product announcements supporting CF+. One of the leading manufacturers, Sandisk, was not able to comment on when CF+ products may become available.