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Lexar to ship 8GB 133X CompactFlash in August  
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

lexar_8gb_133x.jpg
Think Big: Lexar Professional 133X 8GB CompactFlash card

Lexar today has announced an addition to its line of CompactFlash cards aimed at working photographers: joining the 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities in the company's Professional 133X range is an 8GB model.

We've had an early unit of the Lexar Professional 133X 8GB CompactFlash card in-house for several days, and while it's speed-rated the same as its lower capacity siblings - which means it's capable of a minimum sustained write speed of 20MB/second on a device from Testmetrix - the real-world performance is noticeably different.

In our testing, the new 133X card delivers a mix of the best card-to-computer transfer rates we've ever seen from Lexar CompactFlash but write speed that trails competing 8GB cards in the current crop of Canon and Nikon digital SLRs.

Card-to-Computer Transfer Speed

Let's take a quick look at the most impressive performance characteristic of the 133X 8GB: the speed at which pictures can be moved to a computer. The table below contains a sampling of some of the quicker USB 2.0 readers available today and the throughput we measured transfering about 450MB of Canon EOS-1D Mark II N JPEG and CR2 files from the card to a desktop PC. As you can see, the 8GB 133X is speedier than both the 4GB 133X and 2GB 133X. This level of speed boost, while not dramatic, is always welcome when copying gigabytes of photos from a card or stack of cards.

Card (identifier)/card reader Lexar Pro CF (model RW025) USB 2.0 to custom-built PC (Windows XP SP2) Smartdisk Dazzle Thunderbolt CF USB 2.0 to custom-built PC (Windows XP SP2) Transcend Portable Multi-Card TS-RD13 USB 2.0 to custom-built PC (Windows XP SP2)
Lexar Pro Series 133X Write Acceleration 2GB
(Edge stamp: 39652GBAB5205CDC3)
14.195MB/sec 14.062MB/sec 14.115MB/sec
Lexar Pro Series 133X Write Acceleration 4GB
(Edge stamp: 39654GBAB5205CDC3)
14.204MB/sec 13.923MB/sec 13.897MB/sec
Lexar Pro Series 133X Write Acceleration 8GB 16.323MB/sec 16.538MB/sec 16.478MB/sec

Digital SLR Write Speed

By comparison, the in-camera write speed of Lexar's 8GB 133X is eclipsed by two of the three 8GB CompactFlash cards we have on hand from other card makers. This is true with several digital SLR cameras, including the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and Nikon D200, as the table below shows.

Card (identifier)/card reader Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II - RAW .CR2 write speed Nikon D200 - uncompressed RAW .NEF write speed
Delkin Devices PRO 8GB
(Label: CFX08GPAQ1-DAAA000 1741495)
3.384MB/sec 3.663MB/sec
Lexar Pro Series 133X Write Acceleration 8GB 6.406MB/sec 6.444MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata Pro 150X 8GB
(Edge stamp: X610120171E301 8A108GE1101000)
6.775MB/sec 7.646MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme III 8GB 7.195MB/sec 8.590MB/sec

The Lexar Professional 133X 8GB CompactFlash card is the first product for pros to emerge from Lexar since they officially became part of Micron earlier this month. The migration of Lexar manufacturing to Micron has not yet begun, however: "Lexar still leverages its own flash memory and manufacturing sources," says Lexar representative Scott Signore. Going forward, he says, "Micron flash will be phased in to the appropriate Lexar products."

The Lexar Professional 133X 8GB CompactFlash card will ship in August 2006 at a manufacturer's suggested list price of US$424.99 in the U.S. It will be bundled with Lexar's Image Rescue 2 card management and photo recovery software, as well as a copy of Corel Paint Shop Pro 9.

Earlier this year, Lexar unveiled an 8GB CompactFlash card with a 90X speed rating. That card ultimately didn't ship, and is superceded by the 133X model announced today. Also earlier this year, the company announced that shipment of ActiveMemory CompactFlash cards was about to commence, but that rollout has been shelved for the moment. Says Signore: "...[W]e continue to develop the technology, and are waiting for the right product line and market time to introduce it."

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