Roundup: CompactFlash Cards For Professionals

Transcend Extreme Speed 300X (8 GB), Ultra Speed 133X (32 GB)

Transcend Extreme Speed 8 GB

Transcend has five different speed grades of consumer CompactFlash cards, and it offers two additional models for industrial applications. We received a 300X Extreme Speed 8 GB card and an Ultra Speed 133X 32 GB card. The Extreme Speed card is rated at 35-45 MB/s, which is very close to what we measured: read performance reaches 44.2 MB/s and we got 39.2 MB/s maximum write throughput. Minimum values drop below the stated 35 MB/s, but the average results are always above that. In addition, we found that this device delivers better I/O performance than any of the other CF cards.

Clearly, this card is perfectly suitable for the smallest form factor system solutions, and it is only possible thanks to SLC flash memory. It’s not the fastest for reads, but the write and I/O performance are nice.

Transcend Ultra Speed 32 GB

The Ultra Speed card is a 133X model, which equals 20 MB/s. However, our 32 GB sample was faster than this: 40-44 MB/s read throughput is an excellent result, and the measured 30-34.5 MB/s for write speed are still much faster than expected. This device is based on MLC flash memory, which is even written on the product box—a good thing, as few vendors communicate so clearly.

A side effect of the use of MLC flash memory is poor I/O performance, which you will find in the benchmark section. This card wasn’t designed to process lots of random requests per second, but to write at speeds above average and read at excellent speeds.

Check prices for Transcend's Extreme Speed 266X 4 GB