13 SDHC Memory Cards Reviewed

Test Setup and Card Reader, Considerations

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System Hardware
Processors2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core), 3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
PlatformAsus NCL-DS (Socket 604), Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAMCorsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD1200JB
Mass Storage Controller(s)Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)
Compact FlashAddonics ADSACFW SATA
Secure Digital HCTranscend M5 USB
NetworkingBroadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphic-SubsystemOn-Board Graphics, ATI RageXL, 8 MB
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System Hardware
Performance Measurementsc't h2benchw 3.6
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2003.05.10Fileserver-Benchmark, Webserver-Benchmark, Workstation-Benchmark
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System Software And Drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
Platform DriverIntel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphic DriverDefault Windows Graphics Driver

Card Reader: Transcend M5

It is difficult to find card readers that are fast enough to do justice to the memory cards when it comes to delivering maximum throughput. Most card reader products max out at around 15-20 MB/s. The Transcend Multi-Card Reader M5 is one of the devices that almost reaches these 20 MB/s. Other products, such as the MicroMate that comes bundled with SanDisk Extreme III cards, are slightly slower.

Performance Considerations

It may be the case that some of the memory cards tested may be able to deliver even higher read performance, but this is something we cannot reproduce due to missing equipment. However, it does not make a lot of sense to look at read performance differences, as two thirds of the SDHC cards are capable of reaching the maximum throughput of our card reader. Much more important factors upon which to make your purchase decision include I/O performance—which is important for executing applications off an SDHC card—write performance, and speed doing simultaneous read and write operations.