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SHOOTOUT: Sonnet Tech ExpressCard/34 CF Reader
versus FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 Readers
Originally posted November 20th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
HOW FAST CAN YOU TRANSFER DIGITAL PHOTOS?
Sonnet Technology has released a new ExpressCard/34 that mounts two CompactFlash cards at a time. It's called the "Pro Dual CompactFlash (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34." It's significant in that it uses uses the 2.5Gbps PCIe interface standard (instead of the USB 2.0 standard) so it doesn't run out of bandwidth when you use the fastest 300X CF cards (or the future 886X CF cards). It supports UDMA6 transfer modes up to 133MB/s.
We tested in with a fast CF card, the Lexar Professional UDMA 300X, and compared the transfer speeds to the San Disk Extreme FireWire 400/800 CF Reader and the SanDisk Extreme USB 2.0 CF Reader.
The graphs show the average of 5 cycles of the "Large" test in QuickBench where samples from 2MB to 10MB are transferred.
EXPLANATION of Graphs
Sonnet Express = Sonnet Technology Pro Dual CompactFlash (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34
SanDisk FW800 = SanDisk Extreme FireWire 400/800 CF Reader (SDDRX4-CF-901)
SanDisk USB2 = SanDisk Extreme USB 2.0 CF Reader (SDDRX3-CF-A31)
CF Card used for testing was an empty Lexar Professional UDMA 300X CF Card
Mac used for testing was a "Late 2008" MacBook Pro 2.8GHz.
For transferring photos from a CF card to your MacBook Pro, the Sonnet Pro Dual CompactFlash (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34 is certainly fast and offers the option of mounting two CF cards at the same time. As stated earlier, it uses the 2.5Gbps PCIe interface standard so it doesn't run out of bandwidth when you use the fastest 300X CF cards (or the future 886X CF cards). It supports UDMA6 transfer modes up to 133MB/s.
However, it could be argued that the Extreme FireWire 400/800 CF Reader from SanDisk transfers photos to your Mac just as fast as the Sonnet ExpresssCard yet is more versatile since it can be used with any Mac that has a FireWire 400 or 800 port. Lexar also makes a FireWire 800 CF Reader.
If you only have a USB 2.0 port on your Mac, the Extreme USB 2.0 CF Reader is the fastest USB CF reader we have tested. Note that not all USB 2.0 readers are created equal. A brand new Multi-Card USB 2.0 reader from the Sony Style Store measured only 10MB/s transfer speeds. Whatever USB CF Reader you purchase, be sure to test the transfer speed and buy from a dealer who takes returns in case you are not satisfied.
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© 2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
, the webmaster