Which CF card reader/writer to buy??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by blakespot, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. blakespot Administrator

    blakespot

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    #1
    I need a CompactFlash card reader/writer that will work with both Mac and PC. Either FireWire or USB 2.0. Can anyone point me to one?

    Thanks.



    blakespot
     
  2. Mertzen macrumors 6502

    Mertzen

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    #2
  3. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

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    #3
    I will definitely be paying attention to this thread... I am interested in a firewire card... I notice that when I download pictures with USB that my system comes to a crawl.. Even though the camera usb is connected to the back of my G5 and my keyboard and mouse are connected to my Apple 17 inch LCD.... I am hoping that switching to firewire will speed things up. Also I predict that newer CF media might be able to go faster than USB 1.x speed.
     
  4. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

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    #4
    My computer slows to a crawl when i import via PCMCIA, too. I think there is a bug with OS X and CF (or all flash media?) that does this...
     
  5. Mertzen macrumors 6502

    Mertzen

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    #5
    Even the most recent cards don't go over 8-10MB/s .. even though their manufacturers claim the good old 40x, 52x, .. there isn't much they can do about the true speed ..

    If you buy 1GB cards and over make sure they have " Write Allocation" .. that makes them a tad faster ..

    But honestly go for a cheap USB2 one since FW ones are more expensive and useless ..
     
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #6
    I had been using a SimpleTech ($20) USB 1.1 compatible 6-in-1 reader that works quite well since the USB storage compatibility drivers are built into the hardware.

    However, I noticed a performance improvement when I started using the card reader on my Epson CX6400 all-in-one using USB 2.0 and a further improvement with a SanDisk Ultra II card.

    Although I think a FireWire compatible reader is a great thing, they aren't versatile and are unnecessarily expensive.
     
  7. blakespot thread starter Administrator

    blakespot

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    #7
    Looking at the link there is no mention of Mac compatibility. Does this device definitely work with an OS X Mac? Thanks.



    blakespot
     
  8. mcmav37 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    FW vs USB2

    My understanding has always been that FW is much faster than than USB 1 (FW being around 400 Mbps), but isn't USB 2 slightly faster, supposedly 480 Mbps? So it seems that USB 2 is the best bet.

    I have had a FW CF drive since my iBook didn't have USB 2, but with my new iMac, I'm planning on getting a USB 2 drive so I don't have to use a FW port (or buy a FW hub as I already have a USB 2 hub).

    All that being said, I know that card technology does limit the actual transfer speeds. So, with a USB 1 drive, I think that would be the limiting factor with most, if no all, cards, but if you have FW or USB 2, then the card technology would be the limiting factor. For information on that, visit www.robgalbraith.com for lots of info about different card performances with high quality digital cameras as well as pc data transfers.
     
  9. jalagl macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

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    #9
    I just got the cheapest 8-in-1 reader I could find - I got it at Sam's Club for like $15. It is a generic brand, but so far has worked very, very good. It is even USB2 compliant, so the transfer times are pretty good.

    My advice - just get the least expensive you can find. The technology for these things is so common these days that there won't be much difference. Just make sure it is USB2, for the added speed.
     
  10. Mertzen macrumors 6502

    Mertzen

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    #10
    I think all of them are compliant with the mass storage device thing anyway .. i got a cheap one which is basically the same one as LaCie sells minus the logo ..
     
  11. blakespot thread starter Administrator

    blakespot

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    #11
    FireWire 400's spec indicates transfers at a max of 400 Mbps. USB 2.0's spec indicates transfers at a max of 480 Mbps. That said, in real world scenarios, FireWire 400 consistently yields faster overall transfers than USB 2.0. Datarate aside, FireWire 400 also carries more power enabling it to do a much better job at powering devices on its own (or, say, charging iPods - an iPod charging via USB 2.0 charges far slower than one via FireWire).

    Clearly FireWire 400 is the superior technology. Despite all this, you are likely to find USB 2.0 on many more boxes than FireWire.


    blakespot
     
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #12
    There is also the fact that FireWire devices do not require a computer--they can talk to one another on their own. Of course, with a card reader, that's not much help. ;)
     
  13. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #13
    All true, however this is also limited by the media you hook up to the USB2.0 reader/device. Although USB2.0 can support the 480, the reason it is slower is because the media that is supported by it does not come anywhere near that speed yet.

    I just purchased a 1Gb Lexar 80x w/WA (12mb/sec) and it is notibly faster than the old CF cards, however not much better than my Sandisk 512 Ultra II (9mb/sec) or Lexar 512 w/WA 40x (6-7mb/sec ??).

    As far as purchasing a good reader, I have heard some issues with purchasing a branded reader (read: Lexar or Sandisk) for use with the other brand cards. ie, a Sandisk reader could potentially have problems reading a Lexar card, and verse visa.
    I was using the "jumpshot" cable that came with my Lexar 40x (512mb), and it was working fine until I got my newer Lexar 80x (1Gb). The newer card does not have the "USB Enabled" logo on it. Talked with online Lexar support, which by the way really blows, and they said that the jumpshots only can support up to 512mb and that coming to a 1Gb or larger card (would have loved to have order a 2 or 4 Gb card!) will need a dedicated reader instead of the USB jumpshot.

    I hope all that makes sense. If you have a brand loyal, you could purchase the reader of the same brand but otherwise I have rarely heard issues with generic readers.
     
  14. Mertzen macrumors 6502

    Mertzen

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    #14
    Makes a lot of sense .. though a lot of " brand " readers are just OEM ones with a logo printed or embossed on them ..
     
  15. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Right. I was not trying to imply that the branded readers are any better. I have heard of them functioning better with the same brand media, however I have rarely (if ever) heard of a generic malfunctioning with any brand of media.

    They are all pretty cheap right now, branded or not. Pretty much anything you get will work and will be limited by the speed of the media currently available (max @ 80x (12mb/sec) Lexar w/ WA (pro series), until Sandisk gets their Ultra III done :D)
     

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