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Thread: SSD vs. CF Card

  1. #1
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    SSD vs. CF Card

    what is going to have a faster Boot Time an SSD or a CF card. THe SSD is SATA I and the CF card would be IDE. Im going to buy one or the other i just need to know which one to get.

  2. #2
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    Perhaps a better comparison would be SSD vs CF-SATA adapter and the best CF card around (SanDisk Extreme Ducati Ed) ?

    I think its better to just go for a dedicated SSD these days. Something like the Mtron Mobi 3000 would be very fast and you dont need more than the 16 GB version for a full OS and some apps (probably less for a pure carpc though, but mtron's smallest is 16 GB). Chances are that the dedicated SSDs will handle write-wear better also since you cant rely on CF cards having the same logic to reduce write-wear.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    you can't really compare them as generic as "SSD vs. CF card"... there are fast and slow models of each kind. they serve different purposes; an SSD is designed as a HDD replacement, a CF card is designed as portable/removable media.

    SSDs and CF cards should state their minimum sustained read/write speeds on the manuafacturer's website (or the store/website that is selling them). in general, a typical SSD is around 30MB/s - 40MB/s (some are much faster, some are much slower), and in general a good CF card is around 10MB/s (again, some are faster, some are slower).

    so in general, an SSD is a much faster device. it is designed to be a direct HDD replacement and will last several years of normal use. but they are still very expensive when compared to a standard mechanical HDD. a CF card on the other hand is NOT designed as a HDD replacement, they have no wear-leveling built-in and as a result will not last very long if it's being used as a HDD replacement (unless the OS is modified/changed to reduce/eliminate writes). the upside to a CF card is that they are significantly cheaper than an SSD and are easy to replace

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    There are *very* fast CF cards out now. I got to borrow a friends Sandisk Extreme IV (8Gb) to use in my camera and just for kicks I benched it in my CF-IDE adapter and it was quite a bit faster than the 2.5" 5400rpm Samsung drive I have in the carpc. I think he said he paid about $50 for it on fleabay.

    SSD may be better for the HDD replacement, but get one of those Sandisk Extreme's and set it up with EWF and use a standard 2.5" drive for the media and you should be set for a while.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    the maximum sequential write speed of a Sandisk Extreme IV CF card is ~40MB/s. while that is very fast for a CF card, it barely matches the performance of an average SSD. a high-end SSD can maintain a sustained write speed of up to 120MB/s, which will easily run circles around even the fastest CF card.

    your comparison between CF card and 2.5" HDD seems useless, too many variables... did you ghost/copy the 5400RPM HDD's image onto the CF card to get an accurate comparison? it doesn't sound like it. if you didn't then you're comparing an old bogged down OS to a clean (newly installed) OS; in this type of scenario the 'clean' OS will almost always win regardless of the physical/transfer speed of the drive it's on.

    a typical 5400RPM HDD can maintain a max read rate of ~30MB/s - 70MB/s and a max write rate of ~25MB/s - 65MB/s. the point is; there are high and low ends of everything. if you compare a high-end CF card to a low-end HDD then the CF card might win, but a better HDD/SSD would easily beat it hands down.

    bottom line is: SSDs are better all-around. the major downside to them is the high cost per/MB. if they were more affordable, then nobody would bother going through the EWF BS to make a CF card usable as a HDD alternative

  6. #6
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    Well, this is partly what I was aiming at with my post, but I also think that good and fast SSD drives like the Mtron Mobi 3000 will cost you the same as a good Sata-CF + good CF card combo. If you want the fastest Sandisk Extreme Ducati edition CF you will pay the same per GB as if you bought the Mtron mobi.

    From a historical perspective the CF-IDE adapter was the solution to having a flash based boot to avoid a mechanical drive (for many reasons). But it seems SSDs have caught up lately even with the latest CF-SATA adapters and 40MB+ CF cards. The CF-SATA will probably have additional latencies compared to a pure SATA-SSD drive also, but this will be very dependent on how good the CF-SATA adapter is.

    So to conclude, these days you might as well spend the money on a dedicated SSD instead of the CF-adapter+CF-card if you want fast flash based booting. Simply because you would have to spend the same amount of money if you wanted them to be equal in performance. If performance isnt important you could get a cheap CF card and be happy with that.

    The main benefit of the CF way is of course that you could choose a smaller CF that just fits the OS and needed applications. If you wanted to use an Mtron Mobi 3000, the smallest they offer is already 16 GB which is "too big" for just OS and apps, but too small if you plan to pack it with some media... which again requires a secondary harddrive for that anyway. I wish they had mtron mobi 3000 drives at 8 GB or so at half the price, I would have bought one immediately.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FusionFanatic View Post
    your comparison between CF card and 2.5" HDD seems useless, too many variables... did you ghost/copy the 5400RPM HDD's image onto the CF card to get an accurate comparison? it doesn't sound like it. if you didn't then you're comparing an old bogged down OS to a clean (newly installed) OS; in this type of scenario the 'clean' OS will almost always win regardless of the physical/transfer speed of the drive it's on.
    you make a lot of assumptions don't you? I didn't provide any details on the benching, just my experience from using it. I didn't post my experience as a reason to avoid ssd's. I posted my experience because that's what it was, my experience and maybe someone looking at this subject could possible benefit from it.

    As for the "old" OS and "new" OS, if you consider 2 days an "old" OS then I guess you're right. I re-installed the carpc OS with Tinyxp 06 just a couple days before getting my hands on his flash drive. I don't even have the pc back in the car yet as I'm still tweaking.

  8. #8
    DIGItonium
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    I have a Sandisk CF 5000 (4GB) that averages 40MB/s read-write. It is plugged into a SATA-CF adapter, running in UltraDMA mode, and the system is very responsive. With an nLited XP, optimized, and EWF-enabled I can get XP to boot up in seconds from cold start. The scrollbar doesn't even get to scroll before getting to the desktop.

    [media]http://digitonium.net/video/carpc3.wmv[/media]

  9. #9
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    Thanks incredible boot times, and how all computers should have been these days. Its amazing that we still have to wait around to get a system up and running. Its sad that you actually have to wait longer for the bios to initialize even though you are running with the same hardware setup every time. Hardware manufacturers cant seem to evolve out of the dark ages in this respect. Hopefully something will be done in this area some time soon.

    But the SanDisk CF 5000 are probably very expensive and only made for embedded (hence difficult to get hold of). Also, I thought these cards were specifically tailored for enabling write without having any serious damaging effect on the CF, so why do you use EWF? Most of todays SSDs are at least safe to use and have guaratees that it will handle tons of writes so they can be used with a swapfile-infested XP OS (I usually disable swap files anyway, although kernel will still be swapped from what I hear).

    Also, with EWF can you choose which drive should be EWF enabled? It would be cool to have all OS writes to the boot disk be EWF enabled, but another D: partition I would still be able to write whatever I want from my applications. Is this possible?

  10. #10
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    yes, you can partition the drive and choose which one to protect with EWF. it's not that hard to get a CF 5000. there are some vendors that will let you order samples in small quantities.
    EWF, HORM, MinLogon on XP.

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