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Expand Your Storage Capacity with CompactFlash Memory Cards

CompactFlash I is a type of solid-state storage device commonly used in digital cameras and other portable devices. First created by SanDisk in 1994, CompactFlash uses a Parallel ATA interface to connect with other devices. The CompactFlash format supports storage capacities all the way up to 512GB, although these particular cards hold 512MB of data.

What is a solid-state storage device?

Solid-state flash memory is a type of computer storage that reads and writes data using electronic circuits. There are no moving mechanical parts involved. The data is written in memory cells composed mostly of transistors, and it is stored in discrete blocks of information. Solid-state flash memory is considered to be more suitable for portable devices such as cameras and multimedia players than mechanical drives.

Not only are the transfer rates relatively fast, but the flash-based memory cards are also less prone to disruption or damages, so with your camera you can capture photographs of beautiful natural scenery or memorable family events without worrying about interruptions.

Flash-based memory has a limited number of times it can be written, but most CompactFlash memory cards use a process called wear leveling, which limits the wear on the memory by varying the physical location of the blocks. Some memory cards are capable of moving data around automatically to ensure that each block will wear down evenly.

What is the difference between Type I and Type II?

The Type I format includes mostly flash-based memory cards whereas Type II cards also include miniature hard drives and microdrives. There is also a slight physical difference. The Type I card is 3.3 millimeters thick whereas the Type II card is 5 millimeters thick. Most CompactFlash slots should support Type I cards, but they might not necessarily support Type II cards.

How many different versions of the CompactFlash format are available?

Six different revisions of the CompactFlash format were released between 1995 and 2010. Each revision added higher capacities, faster data transfer rates, and other quality of life features. The CompactFlash standard is officially administered and controlled by the CompactFlash Association, which is composed of a consortium of various industry stakeholders, but CompactFlash cards are manufactured by the following companies:

  • PNY
  • Lexar
  • Cisco
  • Kingston
  • SanDisk
What is the data transfer rate of the CompactFlash format?

The data transfer rate refers to the read and write speeds that the memory card is capable of performing. There are four main card speeds. The original 1.0 version has a maximum rate of 8.3 MB/s. Revision 2.0 increased that to 16.6 Mb/s. Revision 3.0 added a maximum rate of 66 MB/s. And Revision 4.0 supports a maximum data transfer rate of 133 MB/s.

Can you use a CompactFlash card without a compatible slot?

Yes, but you will need an adapter that accepts CompactFlash memory cards. This adapter should plug into a USB port or PC Card slot of your computer or supported device, allowing you to transfer your data to and from the card.

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