CompactFlash Comparison Data

28 Мар 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

multiple vendors of CompactFlash?

All of our CompactFlash meets the standards set forth by the CompactFlash Association. This means that they are 100% compatible with any device that supports the CompactFlash Association Standards. Sandisk invented the CompactFlash. They and Microtech supply much of the CompactFlash to OEMs. All are quality products.

Most CompactFlash are manufactured using similar technology and materials. The major difference between the chips are:


1) the ATA controller software

2) the silicon chip manufacturer

3) marketing.

The Hitachi C-4 controller is the faster controller (10 MB/s burst vs 4-6 MB/s burst for the Viking), so the read/write speed is faster. This is an advantage in applications such as digital photography. where the speed to capture an image can be critical, or in PDA applications with intensive read/write operations such as database searching, data transfers, etc. The faster controllers cost the manufacturers more, and this is reflected in the price of the chip.

Not all CompactFlash using the Hitachi C-4 controllers have the same speed. SimpleTech uses Hitachi C-4 controllers, but their speed is only 80 — 90 % that of the Microtech CFs. The reason? They buy the silicon from another manufacturer and put the Hitachi controllers on them.

Since SimpleTech started using the Hitachi controllers, most of the compatability issues with their CompactFlash has been eliminated. Early on, d-store test marketed SimpleTech CompactFlash and found an unacceptably high incompatability rate with many digital devices. At the time SimpleTech was using Lexar controllers. Now, with the Hitachi controllers, we find SimpleTech CompactFlash (with the exception of a few configurations which we do not market) to be suitable for our customers. Regardless of the issues, you can be assured that if you buy a CompactFlash from d-store, we will stand behind the product.

All CF chips are manufactured with the same number of memory cells. But as with most memory chips, not all the cells are functional. The ATA software manages the memory: identifying defective cells and skipping over them during normal operation. The most amazing thing is that this is managed on a cell-by-cell basis as opposed to a sector basis with conventional ATA hard drives. So, the memory utilization for CompactFlash is more efficient. The controller software also occupies some of the total memory and precludes it from being available for other applications. The difference in reported size between the manufacturers is mostly marketing. We’ve tested several of the 30 MB and 32 MB CF in our Psion 5 and on DOS. In all cases, the reported available memory was between 31 MB and 32 MB. You could not tell from the available memory reported which chip was which. The Microtech, SimpleTech, and Sandisk 32 MB chips are nominally 32 MB before the controller is installed: the average chip will report 32 MB, but some could be more or less.

There is an enormous amount of misinformation on the Internet regarding the published specifications of these and other CompactFlash. This is partly because the specifications change as manufacturing techniques change. Also the ATA controllers used by the manufacturers have changed over time. The manufacturers are always looking to improve their product price/performance ratio. This is a rapidly evolving technology. What was true yesterday may not be true today. We try to publish the manufacturers certified specifications on our website. But sometimes, the manufacturer will change their specs without notifying the public. Part of the problem is also that the manufacturers publish specifications that are measured using different procedures. So, it is like trying to compare apples and oranges.

We recently ran some benchmark tests comparing the performance of the Viking 32 MB CompactFlash and the Microtech/Hitachi 30 MB CompactFlash in a Psion Series 5.

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