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Thread: booting from CF card slower than HDD, disappointed. what's wrong?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb booting from CF card slower than HDD, disappointed. what's wrong?

    So recently, I've been trying to get back into the carpc project I've been working on throughout the years, but never finished.

    I got ahold of nLite, and got my install down to 330mb including drivers ... then 512mb more for hibernation.

    I have a Lexar 1GB 80x "highspeed" CF card -- yes I know it's not as fast as an extreme III or others, but it's still pretty high on the list from what I can tell. (correct me if I'm wrong!)

    Anyway, I was curious if this is normal, or if there's something wrong with my setup. I'm using a CF->IDE adapter I got off ebay or somewhere, and I'm using an 80-conductor IDE ribbon. I made the install and everything on a hard drive, then copied the partition to the CF card. It's formatted in NTFS. I have about 60mb free space.

    I have not applied HORM, EWF, or Minlogon yet. I wanted to make sure my hardware setup was capable of booting, which tested true today

    I'll try defragging, and some other options. Maybe you guys have some tips or hints to help me speed things up.

    Thanks for any help guys.

  2. #2
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Booting from solid state material is no faster than booting from a HD unfortunately. Just a hell of a lot more robust. The advantages are definately there, but the speed doesn't increase. Cost does though!

    Apply minlogon and such, and it should speed it up of course, but again it would be the same if you were to have applied that to a HD.

    Good Luck though. And to ease your sorrows, CF booting will be a great advantage in the winter and if you travel on rough roads, no need to worry about your MBR being corrupted!
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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  3. #3
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    OK, well that's some comforting news. I was always under the impression that a CF card would be exponentially faster, since it didn't have to spin up, and had almost instant seek time, etc. Then again, I am comparing to a pretty robust hdd.. Maxtor 60GB UltraATA.. (still not a raptor!)

    I live in South Carolina, so I'm not worried about freezing temps (we don't even get snow lol), but we DO have the worst roads ever!


    I do plan on putting my media on a 20gig laptop HDD in a USB2.0 enclosure.

  4. #4
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    80x CF is max rate. And the CF to IDE adapter isn't fast at all, you get about 1meg/sec x-fer rate.

    It's nice to boot off CF since and store your files on a HD.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate NeoMatrixJR's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've got a CF boot/media hdd setup. I must say though that I did this because in Iowa the winters get damn cold and I figured if I either had my hdd freeze up or I took it inside to keep it warm and forgot it, I could still boot off of CF. Only problem with that, (aside from my USB radio sucking major) is that if the last thing I was doing was playing media from the hard drive, my system gets stuck in a loop looking for the missing media. I'm considering just going to the hard drive for everything, and keeping a regular backup elsewhere of the OS partition so I can sell the CF card and get some $$ back...sucker was friggin EXPENSIVE!!!

  6. #6
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattress View Post
    I was always under the impression that a CF card would be exponentially faster, since it didn't have to spin up, and had almost instant seek time, etc.
    A common misconception, and one that is hard to persuade people otherwise until they try it for themselves. The data transfer rate of flash RAM is not great, and through a CF-IDE converter will be even worse. Running a flash disk-on-module (basically flash RAM in an IDE plug) will get you much a better transfer rate.
    Old Systems retired due to new car
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  7. #7
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    Wow, there's quite a selection of disk-on-module flash drives out there--i don't even know which one i would need lol. Is there a significant difference between these and a compact flash card?

    I'd hate to start another investment into something that has diminishing returns...

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  8. #8
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    The difference is that you need no adapter, the transfer rate is better, and the price is probably higher.

    I'm running a 512Mb turbo wide temp and getting a 17sec from cold boot. I have a slightly unusual setup in that my windows directory is unzipped from dom to a ram drive and booted from there. Windows dir is 22Mb zipped, 48Mb unzipped, so as you can see, it is cut down quite a lot to start wih.
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

  9. #9
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    I've only used CF-IDE adapters from Logicsupply and CF cards from SanDisk. Anything else seems to be problematic. EWF will help since writing will slow down the boot up process. From the specs I've seen, affordable DOMs actually have slower transfer rates than high end CF cards like the ExtremeIII or the newer ExtremeIV.

    Here's a good article for instance: http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/con...id=7-7896-8475

    With a USB reader, the new ExtremeIV achieved transfer rates up to 26.2MB/s. The SanDisk Firewire reader got almost 40MB/s in certain configurations. That article talks about a new USB reader coming out soon with support for UDMA6. Since we can boot XP over USB it may be best to just forget about CF-IDE adapters in the future.

  10. #10
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    IMHO, if you are only concerned about boot times, then get a full sized HD (7200 or more) and a mobo that has a configurable BIOS to disable everything. Then you will get the same results and have more storage.

    Downside being destructive nature of movable parts in a car environment, and higher power consumption.

    Advantages being very cheap (200Gb for like $40-$50) and boot times just as quick as the more robust CF solution.

    Even if you have to replace three 200Gb hard drives, it would still cost less than an 8Gb solid state drive.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

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