Memory Cards, Part 1: CompactFlash From 8GB To 64GB


Samsung’s Plus card runs behind competition—no surprise given its emphasis on ruggedness rather than speed. However, because Samsung's offering seems to be the only card based on SLC flash memory, this is the only card able to deliver acceptable I/O performance. Most likely, this is relevant for those of you looking for a CompactFlash system drive for embedded systems, and even then, only for potential customers in Europe (we couldn't find this submission for sale in North America).

Everyone else will probably be more interested in throughput. Silicon Power leaves a mixed impression. The company's 600x 16GB card holds the speed record at 91 MB/s for sequential reads. Silicon Power fares well on writes, too, averaging 78 MB/s. However, the minimum write throughput result, important for photographers, drops far more than cards from Lexar, Transcend, or SanDisk.

SanDisk focuses on maximum sustainable write throughput. The card's 59.8 MB/s minimum write result tops our charts, and is most suitable for professional photography, where results matter more than the time it takes to copy data off the memory card. Transcend and Lexar provide more balanced results, with Lexar attracting customers through its bonus file restoration software.

In the end, price will have a significant impact on your buying decision, but we’d go with Lexar and SanDisk for professional photography and Silicon Power or Transcend for all other applications.