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Delkin releases FireWire, CardBus readers  
Monday, October 13, 2003 | by Rob Galbraith

Delkin is now shipping two new CompactFlash reader products aimed at the professional digital photographer.

Delkin FireWire Reader-24

This black and semi-opaque plastic CompactFlash card reader is an example of solid industrial design. The Reader-24, which connects to a Mac or PC computer via a removable, included 6-pin FireWire 400 cable, features an easy-in, easy-out card slot, small size, grippy rubber feet and a sleek appearance.

delkin_fw_reader.jpg
Delkin FireWire Reader-24

The performance of the Reader-24, while respectable, isn't quite a match for its good looks, at least with the Power Mac G5 1.8GHz and Dell Dimension 8200 (Pentium 4 1.8GHz) computers we used to benchmark Delkin's latest card reader offering.

The Reader-24 manages an average throughput of 4010K/second when transferring about 225MB of Nikon D1X JPEG and NEF files from a Sandisk Extreme 1GB card to the Mac, and 4498K/second to the PC. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but are eclipsed by our longtime reference reader, the Microtech FireWire CameraMate. The CameraMate manages 6276K/second to the Mac, and 9542K/second to the PC, in the same test.

Like other smaller FireWire readers, it sacrifices best-of-class throughput for compactness. For us, this means that the Reader-24 is a worthy candidate for use in the field, where we're prepared to give up a little speed in exchange for a reader that fits easily in a travel kit. But on our office desktop we want speed first and foremost, and the Reader-24 doesn't quite deliver.

The table below shows performance data for a range of CompactFlash cards in the Reader-24.

Brand and Model
(Card Identifier)
Power Mac G5 1.8 GHz (Mac OS X 10.2.8)
Dell Dimension 8200 P4 1.8GHz (Windows XP Pro)
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
4114K/sec
4749K/sec
IBM Microdrive 1GB
3354K/sec
3145K/sec
Kingston Memory 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
4322K/sec
4751K/sec
Lexar Media 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
3972K/sec
4581K/sec
Lexar Media 512MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
3588K/sec
4591K/sec
Microtech 256MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF256MAA)
3019K/sec
4694K/sec
Sandisk "original" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
1853K/sec
2370K/sec
Sandisk "standard" 512MB
1473K/sec
2093K/sec
Sandisk Extreme 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0307VZ CHINA)
4010K/sec
4498K/sec
Transcend 1GB 45X
(45X on front label)
4299K/sec
4771K/sec

The  single-slot Delkin FireWire Reader-24 requires a powered 6-pin FireWire 400 port, accepts CompactFlash Type I and II-size cards and is compatible with the IBM Microdrive.  It's available direct from Delkin or from photo retailers worldwide.

Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter

delkin_cardbus32.jpgEarlier this year, Japanese firm Aska announced a CompactFlash-to-PC Card adapter with special circuitry for improved card-to-computer transfer rates in the PC Card slots of Windows laptops. Called the Speed Over CF32A, the product was released in the Japan market only. Delkin has brought this adapter to the rest of the world, under the Delkin brand name and complete with a Delkin warranty and tech support.

The Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter takes advantage of the 32-bit data transfer capabilities of any Windows-based laptop with a CardBus-compatible PC Card slot. In our testing with a Dell Inspiron 8500, the adapter does bring about a noticeable speed boost, compared to a standard 16-bit adapter (which is what all standard CF-to-PC Card adapters are).

For example, the transfer of about 225MB of Nikon D1X JPEG and NEF files from a Sandisk Extreme 1GB card jumps from an average of 1147K/second in a 16-bit adapter to 2916K/second in the Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter. Of the 10 CompactFlash cards we benchmarked, most jumped from between about 1100-1200K/second to between about 2300K-3300K/second. The odd man out was the Lexar 1GB 40X WA. For reasons we can't explain, throughput skyrocketed from 1106K/second to 5635K/second, or about a 5-fold increase.

While the Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter does allow for considerably quicker transfers than any standard 16-bit adapter, those seeking the fastest possible transfer rates, and don't mind hauling around an external card reader to get them, will still want to seek out a top-tier FireWire or USB 2.0 card reader. The exception may be users of Lexar's 1GB 40X WA card, and perhaps other Lexar models also, where the best FireWire or USB 2.0 card readers are only marginally faster.

The table below shows performance data for a range of CompactFlash cards in the Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter.

Brand and Model
(Card Identifier)
Dell Inspiron 8500 P4-M 2.6GHz (Windows XP Home)
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
3162K/sec
IBM Microdrive 1GB
3282K/sec
Kingston Memory 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
2418K/sec
Lexar Media 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
5635K/sec
Lexar Media 512MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
2951K/sec
Microtech 256MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF256MAA)
2471K/sec
Sandisk "original" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
2341K/sec
Sandisk "standard" 512MB
1758K/sec
Sandisk Extreme 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0307VZ CHINA)
2916K/sec
Transcend 1GB 45X
(45X on front label)
3063K/sec

The Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter is compatible with PC laptops with CardBus PC Card slots; it ships with drivers for Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP. Drivers for Mac Powerbooks with CardBus PC Card slots are expected in January 2004. The Delkin CardBus 32 Adapter is shipping now direct from Delkin or from photo retailers worldwide.

Note: The Card-to-Computer section of the CompactFlash Performance Database and the May 2003 CompactFlash Reader Roundup provide benchmark data for a range of CompactFlash card readers across both PC and Mac platforms.

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