Skip to main content

Roundup: CompactFlash Cards For Professionals

Comparison Table, Test Setup, Card Reader

ManufacturerKingstonLexarLexarPNY
FamilyUltimatePlatinum IIProfessional UDMAOptima Pro Ultra High Speed
Model NumberCF/16GB-U2P-CF8GB-266W-DVDC
Capacity16 GB16 GB16 GB8 GB
Rated Performance266x80x300x266x
Flash Memory TypeSLC---
Form FactorCFCFCFCF
ManufacturerSandiskSilicon PowerTranscendTranscend
FamilyExtreme Ducati Edition300X ProfessionalExtreme SpeedUltra Speed
Model NumberSDCFX4-008G-AD1SP032GBCFC300V10TS8GCF300TS32GCF133
Capacity8 GB32 GB8 GB32 GB
Rated Performance300x300x300x133x
Flash Memory Type--SLCMLC
Form FactorCFCFCFCF

Test Setup

System Hardware
Processor(s)2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
PlatrformAsus 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 WD1200JB120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
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
Graphics SubsystemOn-Board GraphicsATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
Performance Measurementsc't h2benchw 3.6
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2003.05.10Fileserver-Benchmark, Web server-Benchmark, Workstation-Benchmark
System Software and drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
Platform DriverIntel Chipset Installation Utility 7.0.0.1025
Graphics DriverDefault Windows Graphics Driver

Card Reader: Addonics ADSACFW

Since USB 2.0 card readers aren’t fast enough to support the high throughput of the tested CompactFlash cards, we decided to use a reader device that is based on a SATA interface. USB 2.0 devices typically max out at a bit more than 30 MB/s, while this device supports SATA 1.0a at 150 MB/s. Even though fast hard drives and flash SSDs are faster than this, the bandwidth is enough to test CompactFlash cards, which reached up to 47 MB/s in our tests (for the Kingston Ultimate).

The device, an Addonics ADSACFW, comes installed into a 3.5” drive bay, but Addonics also adds standard and low profile slot covers, which means that the reader can also be installed at the rear of your PC. Of course, it can be hooked up to SATA/300 controllers, it supports hot swapping, and you can boot from CF cards as well. Hot swapping, however, requires controller support.