Everything Works As Advertised

Aug 14, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:Does everything it promises.

Cons:Watch out for the 2GB/4GB switch on the side of the card.

The Bottom Line: It does exactly what it promises. What you would expect from a proven company.

I wanted to upgrade from a SanDisk Ultra II 2GB CF card to a fast 4GB CF card as I needed more space.

Not knowing any better, I first purchased a Transcend 4GB that was advertised as 80X. In that the Transcend was both faster (the SanDisk Ultra II advertises 60X) and about $100 cheaper, I ordered the Transcend 80X 4GB.

Shortly after the arrival of the Transcend, I put it to use. Much to my surprise, what took 45 minutes on the old SanDisk took 1 hour and 50 minutes on the new Transcend.

After a series of structured comparison runs, it became apparent the old SanDisk was running (on average) about 50 percent faster than the new Transcend.

I returned the Transcend and purchased a new SanDisk Ultra II 4 GB. It appears to run about 10 percent faster than the old SanDisk (although being that close together measurement error could account for most of the difference).

If you want both speed and capacity (as I do), buy the SanDisk Ultra II 4GB. It does everything it promises.

Mind you, I did have one alarming surprise. After the Transcend "experience" I was a bit nervous. When I installed the new 4GB card in my computer, I was surprised when I realized it only had 2GB capacity. Sick might be a better word. I begin to needlessly wonder: A) If someone had repackaged 2GB cards and was selling them as 4GB cards to the unsuspecting; B) If everyone making CF cards was deliberately overstating performance and capacity ...

After a little on-line research, I found there is a micro switch on the side of the card. You can have 2GB capacity with FAT (or FAT16) format - or 4GB with FAT32 format. Apparently the switch is set to 2GB FAT16 at the factory.

I understand this is a design feature to allow older digital cameras (that are only FAT or FAT16 capable) to use the card as well as allowing newer cameras to use all 4GB when FAT32 capable.

Once I found the micro switch and set it to FAT32, I had 4 GB running fast!

I think I have pretty much had it with off brand CF cards.

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