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Encyclopedia > CompactFlash
CompactFlash

A 64 MB CompactFlash Type I card
Capacity: 2MB to 64GB
Developed by: SanDisk
Dimensions: 43x36x3.3mm (Type I) 43x36x5mm (Type II)
Weight: 10 grammes (typical)
Usage: High-end cameras, SSD's
A 32 MB High Speed CompactFlash Type I card
A 32 MB High Speed CompactFlash Type I card

CompactFlash (CF) was originally developed as a type of data storage device used in portable electronic devices. For storage, CompactFlash typically uses flash memory in a standardized enclosure. This form was first specified and produced by SanDisk in 1994. The physical format is now used for a variety of devices. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 194 KB) Please see the file description page for further information. ... SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), formerly SunDisk, is an American multinational corporation which designs and markets flash memory card products. ... Dimension (from Latin measured out) is, in essence, the number of degrees of freedom available for movement in a space. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter), symbol mm is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... For other uses, see Weight (disambiguation). ... BIC pen cap, about 1 gram. ... A flash SSD in standard 2. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 194 KB) Please see the file description page for further information. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 194 KB) Please see the file description page for further information. ... Many different consumer electronic devices can store data. ... A USB flash drive. ... SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), formerly SunDisk, is an American multinational corporation which designs and markets flash memory card products. ...

Contents

Description

There are two main subdivisions of CF cards, Type I (3.3 mm thick) and the thicker Type II (CF2) cards (5 mm thick). The CF Type II slot is used by Microdrives and some other devices. There are four main speeds of cards including the original CF, CF High Speed (using CF+/CF2.0), a faster CF 3.0 standard and a yet faster CF 4.0 standard that is being adopted as of 2007. The thickness of the CF card type is dictated by the preceding PCMCIA card type standard. IBM 1 GB Microdrive The Microdrive is a brand name for a miniature, 1-inch hard disk designed to fit in a Compact Flash (CF) Type II slot. ...


CF was among the first flash memory standards to compete with the earlier and larger PC card Type I memory cards, and was originally built around Intel's NOR-based flash memory, though it switched over to NAND. CF is among the oldest and most successful formats, and has held on to a niche in the professional camera market especially well. It has benefited from having both a good cost to memory size ratio relative to other formats for much of its life, and generally having larger capacities available than smaller formats. The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an industry trade association that creates standards for notebook computer peripheral devices. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... A USB flash drive. ... A USB flash drive. ...


CF cards can be used directly in PC Card slot with a plug adapter, used as an IDE hard drive with a passive adapter, and with a reader, to any number of common ports like USB or FireWire. As it has a bigger size relative to the smaller cards that came later, many other formats can be used directly in a CF card slot with an adapter (including SD/MMC, Memory Stick Duo, xD-Picture Card in a Type I slot, and SmartMedia in a Type II slot, as of 2005) (some multi-card readers use CF for I/O as well). A USB Series “A” plug, the most common USB plug Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a serial bus standard to interface devices. ... The 6-pin and 4-pin FireWire Connectors The alternative ethernet-style cabling used by 1394c FireWire is Apple Inc. ... A USB device for reading various kinds of flash memories, with an SD card plugged in Secure Digital (SD) is a flash (non-volatile) memory card format developed by Matsushita, SanDisk and Toshiba for use in portable devices, including digital cameras, handheld computers, PDAs and GPS units. ... A 32 MB Multimedia Card Multimedia Card A 128 MB RS-MMC card and an adapter The Multimedia Card (MMC) is a flash memory memory card standard. ... xD-Picture Card (front) xD-Picture Card (back) The xD-Picture Card is a type of flash memory memory card, used mainly in digital cameras. ... A 128MB SmartMedia flash memory card. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Flash memory, regardless of format, supports only a limited number of erase/write cycles before a particular "sector" can no longer be written. Memory specifications generally allow 10,000[1] to 1,000,000 write cycles. Typically the controller in a CompactFlash attempts to prevent premature wearout of a sector by mapping the writes to various other sectors in the card - a process referred to as wear levelling. Wear levelling (also written -levelling) is a technique for prolonging the service life of some kinds of eraseable computer storage media, e. ...


Technical details

Loading a CF card into the Canon Powershot A95
Loading a CF card into the Canon Powershot A95

NOR-based flash has lower density than newer NAND-based systems, and CompactFlash is therefore the largest of the three memory card formats that came out in the early 1990s, the other two being Miniature Card (MiniCard) and SmartMedia (SSDFC). However, CF did switch to NAND type memory later on. The IBM Microdrive format, which used CF Type II, was not solid state memory. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1600x1067, 320 KB) Loading a CF card into Canon Powershot A95 File links The following pages link to this file: CompactFlash ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1600x1067, 320 KB) Loading a CF card into Canon Powershot A95 File links The following pages link to this file: CompactFlash ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Miniature Card or MiniCard is a flash memory storage card standard first promoted by Intel Corp. ... A 128MB SmartMedia flash memory card. ... IBM redirects here. ... IBM 1 GB Microdrive The Microdrive is a brand name for a miniature, 1-inch hard disk designed to fit in a Compact Flash (CF) Type II slot. ...


CompactFlash defines a physical interface which is smaller than, but electrically identical to, the ATA interface. That is, it appears to the host device as if it were a hard disk of some defined size and has a tiny IDE controller onboard the CF device itself. ATA cables: 40 wire ribbon cable top, 80 wire ribbon cable bottom Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) is a standard interface for connecting storage devices such as hard disks and CD-ROM drives inside personal computers. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... ATA cables: 40 wire ribbon cable top, 80 wire ribbon cable bottom Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) is a standard interface for connecting storage devices such as hard disks and CD-ROM drives inside personal computers. ...


CF cards are much more compact than the even earlier PC card (PCMCIA) Type I memory cards, except for its thickness which matches PC Card Type I and Type II thicknesses respectively. CF has managed to be the most successful of the early memory card formats, outliving both Miniature Card, SmartMedia, and PC Card Type I in mainstream popularity. SmartMedia did offer heavy competition to CF in smaller devices, and was more popular than CF at its peak in terms of market penetration, but SmartMedia would cede this area to newer card types (during the period of roughly 2002-2005). The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an industry trade association that creates standards for notebook computer peripheral devices. ... Miniature Card or MiniCard is a flash memory storage card standard first promoted by Intel Corp. ... A 128MB SmartMedia flash memory card. ...


The memory card formats that came out in the late 1990s to the early 2000s (SD/MMC, various Memory Stick formats, xD-Picture Card, etc.) offered stiff competition. The new formats were significantly smaller than CF, in some cases by an even greater fraction than CF had been smaller than PC Card. These new formats would dominate the memory card market for PDAs, cell phones, and consumer cameras (especially subcompact models). A USB device for reading various kinds of flash memories, with an SD card plugged in Secure Digital (SD) is a flash (non-volatile) memory card format developed by Matsushita, SanDisk and Toshiba for use in portable devices, including digital cameras, handheld computers, PDAs and GPS units. ... A 32 MB Multi Media Card Multi Media Card A 128 MB RS-MMC card and an adapter The Multi Media Card (MMC) is a flash memory memory card standard. ... A 2GB Sony High Speed Memory Stick PRO Duo with MagicGate support. ... xD-Picture Card (front) xD-Picture Card (back) The xD-Picture Card is a type of flash memory memory card, used mainly in digital cameras. ... User with PDA Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are handheld computers that were originally designed as personal organizers, but became much more versatile over the years. ... Several mobile phones A mobile telephone or cellular telephone (commonly mobile phone or cell phone) is a long-range, portable electronic device used for mobile communication. ...


However, a CF interface continues to be offered on many devices, and remains the main standard for professional cameras, as well as a number of consumer models as of 2005. Key features remain having a relatively low cost per megabyte, offering a greater capacity than smaller cards, the ability for the CF II to use MicroDrive, and the availability of adaptors which allow many other smaller card formats to be used in a CF slot. And CF cards can also be used in PC Card slots with very inexpensive plug adapters.


CF (and other formats) have not managed to totally replace PC Card Type I and II Memory cards in a number of industrial applications.


Flash memory devices are non-volatile and solid state, and thus are more robust than disk drives, and consume around 5% of the power required by small disk drives, and yet still have good transfer speeds (up to 40 MB/s write and 40 MB/s read for the SanDisk Extreme IV) . Card speed is often specified in times ratings, i.e. 8x, 20x, 133x..., (the same system as used for CD-ROM's) where the number in front of 'x' when multiplied by 150kB/s gives the speed of the card (for example, 20x = 3.0MB/s). They operate at 3.3 volts or 5 volts, and can be swapped from system to system. CF cards with flash memory are able to cope with extremely rapid changes in temperature. Industrial versions of flash memory cards can operate at a range of -45 to +85 °C. Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) is a computer memory chip which will not lose its information when the power is lost. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Solid state drive. ... Josephson junction array chip developed by NIST as a standard volt. ... The degree Celsius (symbol: °C) is an SI derived unit of temperature. ...


CF devices are used in handheld and laptop computers (which may or may not take larger form-factor cards), digital cameras, and a wide variety of other devices, including portable audio recorders and desktop computers. User with PDA Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are handheld computers that were originally designed as personal organizers, but became much more versatile over the years. ... An ultraportable IBM X31 with 12 screen on an IBM T43 Thin & Light laptop with a 14 screen QWERTY keyboard on 2007 Sony Vaio laptop A laptop computer, or simply laptop (also notebook computer or notebook), is a small mobile computer, which usually weighs 2-18 pounds (1-6 kilograms... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Capacities and compatibility

As of 2007, CompactFlash cards are generally available in capacities from about 512 MB to about 64 GB, with perhaps the most popular choices in Europe and North America being between 512 MB and 8 GB. Lower capacity cards, below 512 MB, are becoming rare in stores as higher capacity cards are readily available at the same price. The largest CompactFlash cards commonly available currently are the 16 GB models from various manufacturers — SanDisk launched its 16 GB Extreme III card at the 2006 Photokina trade fair. Samsung has launched a 64 GB CF card. These cards, indeed, almost all cards over 2 GB, require the host camera to support the FAT32 file system, if the camera is using a FAT file system. These largest cards, however, are not the fastest. 2007 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... ReBoot character, see Megabyte (ReBoot). ... A gigabyte (derived from the SI prefix giga-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to 1000³ bytes or 1024³ bytes (1000³ = one billion). ... SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), formerly SunDisk, is an American multinational corporation which designs and markets flash memory card products. ... Photokina is a trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries. ... File Allocation Table (FAT) is a partially patented file system developed by Microsoft for MS-DOS and was the primary file system for consumer versions of Microsoft Windows up to and including Windows Me. ... File Allocation Table (FAT) is a partially patented file system developed by Microsoft for MS-DOS and was the primary file system for consumer versions of Microsoft Windows up to and including Windows Me. ...


There are different levels of compatibility amongst FAT32-compatible cameras. While any camera that claims to be FAT32-capable is expected to read and write to a FAT32-formatted card without problems, some cameras are tripped up by cards larger than 2 GB that are completely unformatted, while others may take longer time to apply a FAT32 format. For example, the FAT32-compatible Canon EOS-1Ds will format any unformatted card with FAT16, even ones larger than 2 GB. The EOS-1Ds is a full-frame digital SLR camera body formerly made by Canon, released in the spring of 2003. ...


Indeed, there is a FAT32 bottleneck because of the manner in which many digital cameras update the file system as they write photos to the card. Writing to a FAT32-formatted card generally takes a little longer than writing to a FAT16-formatted card with similar performance capabilities. For instance, the Canon EOS 10D will write the same photo to a FAT16-formatted 2 GB CompactFlash card somewhat faster than to a same speed 4 GB FAT32-formatted CompactFlash card, although the memory chips in both cards have the same write speed specification.[2] File Allocation Table (FAT) is a partially patented file system developed by Microsoft for MS-DOS and was the primary file system for consumer versions of Microsoft Windows up to and including Windows Me. ...


The cards themselves can of course be formatted with any type of filesystem such as JFS and can be divided into partitions as long as the host device can read them. CompactFlash cards are often used instead of hard drives in embedded systems, Dumb terminals and various small form-factor PC's that are built for low noise output or power consumption. CompactFlash cards are often more readily available and smaller than purpose-built Solid state drives and can be used to obtain faster seek times than hard drives, however this is only true for CompactFlash cards supporting Direct memory access For the HP-UX filesystem, see VERITAS File System. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Data terminal. ... A flash SSD in standard 2. ... Seek time is one of the several delays associated with reading or writing data on a computers disk drive. ... Direct memory access (DMA) is a feature of modern computers that allows certain hardware subsystems within the computer to access system memory for reading and/or writing independently of the central processing unit. ...


CF+ specification

When CompactFlash was first being standardized, even full-sized hard disks were rarely larger than 4 GB in size, and so the limitations of the ATA standard were considered acceptable. Since then hard disks have had to make many modifications to the ATA system to handle ever-growing media, and today even flash memory cards have been able to pass the 4 GB limit. However, CF cards since the original Revision 1.0 have been able to support capacities up to 137 GB.


The CF+ standard, revision 2.0, added an increase in speed to 16 MB/s data-transfer, according to the CompactFlash Association (CFA).


The newer CF 3.0 standard supports up to a 66 MB/s data transfer rate, along with a number of other features. The even newer CF 4.0 standard supports IDE Ultra DMA 133 for a maximum data transfer rate of 133 MB/s.


Type I and Type II

The only difference between the two types is that the Type II devices are 5mm thick while Type I devices are 3.3mm thick.[3] The vast majority of all Type II devices are Microdrives and other miniature hard drives. Flash based Type II devices are rare but a few examples do exist. [4][5] Even the largest capacity cards commonly available are Type I cards and most card readers will read both formats with the exception of some early CF based cameras where the slot is too small and some of the poorer quality USB card readers with the same problem.


Microdrives

IBM 1 GB Microdrive
IBM 1 GB Microdrive
Main article: Microdrive

Microdrives are tiny hard disks—about 25 mm (1") wide—packaged with a CompactFlash Type II form factor and interface. They were developed and released in 1999 by IBM in a 170 megabyte capacity. The division was then sold to Hitachi in December 2002 along with the Microdrive trademark. There are now other brands that sell Microdrives (such as Seagate, Sony, etc), and, over the years, these have become available in increasingly larger capacities (up to 8 GB as of August 2007). Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x1200, 287 KB) Please see the file description page for further information. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x1200, 287 KB) Please see the file description page for further information. ... IBM 1 GB Microdrive The Microdrive is a brand name for a miniature, 1-inch hard disk designed to fit in a Compact Flash (CF) Type II slot. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... IBM redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Hitachi Works be merged into this article or section. ...


While these drives fit into any CF II slot, they take more power on average (500 mA maximum) than flash memory (100 mA maximum) and so may not work in some low-power devices (for example, NEC HPCs). Being a mechanical device they are more sensitive to physical shock and temperature changes than flash memory. NEC Corporation (Jp. ...


The popular iPod mini and the Rio Carbon is a device which uses a compact Microdrive to store music. The iPod mini is a smaller version of Apple Inc. ... Rio Carbon 5GB model The Rio Carbon is a line of digital audio players formerly produced by the now defunct Rio. ...


Compared to other portable storage

Strengths

CompactFlash cards are considered the main form of flash storage for almost all major Professional Photographic needs. All major camera brands such as Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus and Sony use this form of flash storage in almost all their 'Pro Cameras'. In comparison to to other card formats, it (CompactFlash) has remained to longest and most consistent performer, (in terms of industry standards). CF cards are also considered far more rugged and durable to many "in the field" photographic shocks, impacts and accidents. CompactFlash cards are capable of withstanding more physical damage in comparison to other more flimsier designs. That is why most professional photographers and photojournalists prefer to use it. Look up canon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Fuji is: Mount Fuji, a mountain in Japan Fuji River, a river in Japan Fuji Speedway, a major race track at the base of Mt Fuji Mt. ... It has been suggested that Speedlight be merged into this article or section. ... This article refers to a mountain in Greece. ... Sony Corporation ) is a Japanese multinational corporation and one of the worlds largest media conglomerates with revenue of $66. ... Assault landing One of the first waves at Omaha Beach as photographed by Robert F. Sargent. ...


Weaknesses

CompactFlash lacks the mechanical write protection switch that some other devices have, as seen in a comparison of memory cards. CompactFlash does not have any built in DRM or cryptographic features like on some USB flash drives and other formats such as Secure Digital. Such features are rarely used on other cards, however, and are therefore mostly superfluous. This table provides summary of comparison of various flash memory cards, as of 2007. ... Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and other copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ... A USB flash drive USB flash drives are NAND-type flash memory data storage devices integrated with a USB (universal serial bus) interface. ... 16Mb SD Card Secure Digital, or SD, is a flash memory data storage device based on Toshibas earlier Multi Media Cards (MMC). ...


CompactFlash has a disadvantage in its physical design. The pins for electrical contact are long and thin, and not located on the card itself. An improperly inserted card or poorly designed card slot can lead to easily bent and damaged pins, which are nearly impossible to straighten (without paying a professional) and can effectively destroy the device in which the card is being inserted, leading to high repair/replacement costs. However, it should be pointed out, that this is sort of 'incident' has an extremely low level of occurence, most especially since it is virtually impossible to force a CF card into its slot the wrong way (upside down) or at an angle.


Other devices conforming to the CF standard

The CompactFlash format is also used for a variety of Input/Output and interface devices. Since it is electrically identical to the PC card, many PC cards have CF counterparts. Some examples include: The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an industry trade association that creates standards for notebook computer peripheral devices. ...

Ethernet is a large, diverse family of frame-based computer networking technologies that operates at many speeds for local area networks (LANs). ... Bluetooth logo This article is about the electronic protocol named after Harald Bluetooth Gormson. ... A modem (from modulate and demodulate) is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. ... Official Wi-Fi logo Wi-Fi is a wireless technology brand owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance intended to improve the interoperability of wireless local area network products based on the IEEE 802. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ... A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is a computer peripheral for reading barcodes printed on various surfaces. ... An EPC RFID tag used for Wal-Mart Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. ... Marcus Boltonas (Mark Boltan) Marcus Boltonas Brief history The magnetic stripe which is often reffered to as the Bolton is derived from the Marcus Boltonas from the Jurassic period. ... Super Video Graphics Array, almost always abbreviated to Super VGA or just SVGA is a broad term that covers a wide range of computer display standards. ... A male DE-9 connector used for a serial port on a PC style computer. ... Note: USB may also mean upper sideband in radio. ... Flash memory is a form of EEPROM that allows multiple memory locations to be erased or written in one programming operation. ... The iPod mini is a smaller version of Apple Inc. ...

CompactFlash card manufacturers

Look up canon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... Lexar is an American manufacturer of various digital media and software based in Fremont, CA. Media manufactured by them include SD cards, Memory Sticks, keydrives, and CompactFlash cards. ... Samsung Group is one of the largest South Korean business groupings. ... SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), formerly SunDisk, is an American multinational corporation which designs and markets flash memory card products. ... Toshiba Corporations headquarters (Center) in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo Toshiba Corporation sales by division for year ending March 31, 2005 Toshiba Corporation ) (TYO: 6502 ) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. ...

Counterfeiting

There is extensive marketplace competition for sales of all brands of flash memory. As a result counterfeiting is quite widespread. Under their own brand, or while imitating another, unscrupulous flash memory card manufacturers may sell low-capacity cards formatted to indicate a higher capacity, or else use types of memory which are not intended for extensive rewriting. [6][7] A counterfeit is an imitation that is made with the intent to deceptively represent its content or origins. ...


See also

This table provides summary of comparison of various flash memory cards, as of 2007. ... IBM 1 GB Microdrive The Microdrive is a brand name for a miniature, 1-inch hard disk designed to fit in a Compact Flash (CF) Type II slot. ... The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an industry trade association that creates standards for notebook computer peripheral devices. ... Random access memory (usually known by its acronym, RAM) is a type of data storage used in computers. ...

References

  1. ^ http://www.atmel.com/dyn/resources/prod_documents/2503S.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-6453-6837
  3. ^ http://www.compactflash.org/faqs/faq.htm#What_is
  4. ^ http://www.dpreview.com/news/9911/99112302delkin224.asp
  5. ^ http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news/articles/story_934.html
  6. ^ http://reviews.ebay.ie/FAKE-SanDisk-Extreme-Compact-Flash-Cards-Exposed_W0QQugidZ10000000001456526
  7. ^ http://www.pictureline.com/newsletter/article.php?id=401

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