Roundup: CompactFlash Cards For Professionals

PNY Optima Pro Ultra High Speed 266X (8 GB)

Though PNY has three different SD card series, it sells only one CompactFlash product family. We believe that this is generally sufficient today, as the CompactFlash market has turned at least into a semi-professional space, which is dominated by embedded PC solutions and photographers.

The Optima Pro UDMA is rated at 266X, or 40 MB/s, and features 2, 4, and 8 GB capacities. We received an 8 GB model for our review, but it was difficult to sort out the portfolio at first. While the European PNY Web site lists only Optima non-Pro cards rated at average 66X speeds, the US Web site includes the Optima Pro 266X. It'd seem that PNY doesn’t believe there is sufficient demand in the European market.

Our test sample reached a maximum read throughput of 41.3 MB/s, and write speeds of up to 35.1 MB/s, which is almost in line with the specifications. However, the minimum throughput performance of 35.5 MB/s for reads and only 21.4 MB/s worst-case for writes may not be sufficient for true enthusiasts or professionals.

The card makes up for its throughput deficiencies with excellent I/O performance, which is three to four times faster than what we got from Lexar, Silicon Power, or Transcend. If you want a CF card to install an operating system on for a low-power, ultra-compact industrial system, then this product is actually a good choice. If only the PNY US Web site listed all of the technical specs, as is the case on the European site. Due to the omissions, we cannot provide temperature ranges or reliability information.

Check prices for PNY's Optima Pro Ultra High Speed 266X 8 GB