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Anyone using a Compact Flash SSD?


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Is anyone here using a Compact Flash card as a substitute for an IDE hard drive?


Which CF cards make the best IDE SSDs?


I'm planning to buy one at some point. I'll be looking at around 32GB capacity, and will probably be using Windows 2000 or XP. I've ran Vista and 7 on slow hard drives before, depending on the random read/write speeds of the CF cards, I may choose to run NT 6.x.

Edited by MrMaguire
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The issue is AFAIK more with the impact of NTFS (if you will be using NTFS) or other journaled or semi-journaled filesystems on duration than with speed, I mean it is not like conventional IDE hard disks were all that fast.


The 32 Gb size sounds too d@mn  big for 2K or XP and too d@mn small for Vista or later.


Typical base install needed space (just as a reminder):

  • 2K 700 Mb
  • XP 1.6 Gb
  • Vista or later 16  Gb

Though I did have (and still have) a few system running on CF cards they are Linuxes of some kind or the CF card is just storage, if I were you I would consider the use of DOM's (Disk On Module) they are definitely not as cheap as a IDE to CF card adapter  + CF card combo, but surely they are IMHO better.



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  • 5 months later...

I did on previous computers, especially a Pata Win95 laptop, and experimented with W98-Me-2k-Xp.

It does bring a lot. It is not obvious, and you can waste a lot of time. Unless you really want to stick to a Pata computer, just buy a Sata mobo and put an Ssd on it. Or put a Sata host in a slot (SiI3124 is by far the best for Pci and also the cheapest; take any board brand) and connect an Ssd. More GB, cheaper, works without the worries.

So let's imagine you have no choice and really need a CF. Only one brand and model used to work properly, that was Transcend 300x and 266x in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB sizes, not 16GB. These ones were SLC: MLC is MUCH slower and survives fewer writes. Though, Transcend now counterfeits itself and sells bad MLC 300x 8GB, so avoid them.
I don't know if the 4GB are still good. You may have better chances with the 266x, which are about as fast as the 300x anyway.

Besides SLC, which would be available from Adata and others too, you need buffers working at 5V, and Transcend does this, others not often. CF standards accept 3.3V but Pata does NOT, and is talken in 5V, most CF cards slow down horribly to minimum Uata or even to Pio, and then you have lost, or corrupts data, and you have lost too. On the other hand, the Pata cable and the adapter are unimportant, and you can have two cards on one cable and adapter (worked in my laptop).

To install Xp (and I strongly believe 2k too) the card must show the fixed bit. Only some models do it, noticeably the Transcend 266x 300x, Adata and some more. But W95 doesn't need it.

Install Windows normally with the Cd, unless you make special experiments by copy-paste. The Windows install Cd checks the integrity of the installation, and this is the best test of your hardware. If the installation fails, don't waste much time with settings, driver choice and so on: it's a very probable sign that your hardware combination does not work, and if you install by copy-paste you WILL have trouble, only later, when you precious documents are on the machine. Failure to install uses to result from the 5V buffers.

If you can have several CF in your machine, you could maybe perhaps have a big SLC for files written seldom, like the applications, but NOT your documents, the OS, the paging file, the browser caches. But on an SLC, put the paging file and stay relaxed.

I already had raid/0 della muerte (2* Transcend 300x totalling 90MB/s) on a Tualatin+i815ep+Sil0680 (the best Pata on Pci chip) and it brought nothing faster than one CF.

Importantisimo: align the volume on page boundaries. Vital for speed, important for the write amplification. With Ntfs you just align the volume on MB, which Windows 95-Xp don't do but GPartEd does. With Fat32 (if you have to) it's more difficult

If your hardware or Bios limits the disk size, or accesses only through CHS, or can boot only from sector 63, or needs a hibernation file (like my laptop), expect serious trouble.

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