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CompactFlash Performance Database updated  
Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | by Rob Galbraith

The first round of additions to the CompactFlash Performance Database slated for this week are now live.

First, we've completed testing of a production-level EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon's high resolution digital SLR that's poised to ship in volume this month. Over 50 CompactFlash and SD cards have been benchmarked in this camera, including Lexar's 80X 1GB and 2GB second edition (production cards, not engineering samples), SanDisk's Extreme III 1GB and 2GB (also production cards, not engineering samples), SanDisk's Ultra II 4GB (a production card using multi level cell memory) and SanDisk's Extreme III 1GB SD (an engineering sample). This camera produces enormous files for a digital SLR; fortunately, Canon has designed the EOS-1Ds Mark II to have the fastest write interface of any camera we've tested to date, enabling it to make good use of the speedier CompactFlash cards that are now or soon to be available.

Second, we've added the newest cards from Lexar and SanDisk listed above to the Canon EOS 20D section of the database too; this includes data from the retesting of a full production unit of the multi level cell (MLC) version of the SanDisk Ultra II 4GB. Shortly after we published the results from the first test, SanDisk made additional changes to the card, ones that improved the performance significantly. Because the card hadn't yet hit store shelves, the first production 4GB Ultra II (MLC) we had from SanDisk was swapped for what is now the real production version. We're not sure what SanDisk tweaked at the last minute, but the changes boosted its performance significantly in both this camera and in card-to-computer transfer throughput.

Third, we've also added the newest cards from Lexar and SanDisk, plus the real 4GB Ultra II (MLC), to the card-to-computer section. SanDisk's Extreme III cards are especially fast at nearly 13MB/second, even in our benchmark reader, which doesn't support the more-efficient transfer modes of Extreme III that would allow for even quicker throughput still (yes, we're on the hunt for a new benchmark reader now!). Lexar's 80X second edition cards are the first from Lexar to exceed 9.5MB/second in our testing, which is slower than SanDisk's best but still quick. And the real 4GB Ultra II (MLC) card's performance is in line with its Ultra II binary-type brethren, as its throughput is approaching 11MB/second.

More to come in the days ahead, stay tuned...

Note: the SanDisk Ultra II 4GB (MLC) card in the database is not yet shipping as of this writing. But, there is a SanDisk Ultra II 4GB card now available, one that utilizes binary-type memory similar to the current, non-MLC Ultra II line. Because the binary-type Ultra II 4GB is expected to be on the market only for perhaps a month before being replaced by the MLC version, we've opted to not include the binary-type 4GB Ultra II in the database. We've also queried SanDisk about how a prospective purchaser might differentiate between binary-type and MLC Ultra II CompactFlash and SD cards as the company makes the transition to MLC, and will endeavor to include that information in the CompactFlash Performance Database when we have it.

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