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Compact Flash IDE RAID

Posted on 2006-11-25
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Last Modified: 2008-03-23
I couldn't help but wonder if a 150X CF card is good enough for a hard drive.  Since a CF card is perhaps a whole lot more reliable than a hard disk drive, it wouldn't be too worrysome for me to have a striped CF RAID, right?

Ultimately, wouldn't it be worthwhile to stripe 4 or more 4GB 150X CF cards on a CF to IDE adapter?  Since there's virtually no seek time, why not get 22MB/s × 4?  88MB/s for a hard drive isn't bad, and with no seek time, no spin-up time, far fewer memory loss occurences, why not use a 16GB CF RAID setup as a main hard drive?
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Question by:radomirthegreat
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by:radomirthegreat
ID: 18013293
Using everyone's evidently beloved Neweg, I'll give you this extreme example of something along the lines of my question:

Compact Flash 4GB 150X card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820183020

Compact Flash to IDE adapter:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822998002

IDE to SATA adapter:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822998008

Power splitters & 4-pin to floppy power adapters:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812119008
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812101106

24-port SATA RAID controller card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816151004

So, with this, 96GB of space is achieved, and the controller even throws in 256MB of 333MHz cache.  With the cards' supposed bandwidth of 22MB/s each, this is 528MB/s of data transfer to the main drive, and that excludes the quarter of a gigabyte of cache.

Can this be done?
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pgm554 earned 50 total points
ID: 18014871
Bear in mind that flash memory has a static number of times that it can be written to and when you exceed this life ,it's good by data.


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by:radomirthegreat
ID: 18017292
So, no swap file?

That flash memory thing is a bit freaky.  How very true is this, and must I worry?
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by:pgm554
ID: 18020384
Here is a review from New Egg site:

Seems to be a speed issue:

Pros: Easy install; useful function; compact; works as advertised

Cons: very poor performance. With a super fast 150x CF card I am only able to get 3500KB/sec transfer rate. Card should be encapsulated to prevent shorting components on case. Minimal docs.

Other Thoughts: This is a great idea but I'd like to see much better performance. Also, it should have come with slot mounts since it does have holes in the board for slot mounting the card.


It's 3.5 MB/sec as opposed to 22 MB.
So there goes your speed theory.
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by:radomirthegreat
ID: 18025317
That's a shame.  Well, it doesn't have to be that CF card; there are so many others.  Are there other cards that have had good transfer rates?
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by:radomirthegreat
ID: 18220666
Hello again.  I am interested in having a solid state hard drive like a striped set of CF cards or so.  Would the CF cards really not work after some writes?  I tried to find more about this, but I couldn't find anything.
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by:pgm554
ID: 18221549
Yep,after about 1 million writes,things start to go south.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory
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by:pgm554
ID: 18221560
Hmmm...That can be as low as 10,000 writes cycles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wear_levelling
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by:radomirthegreat
ID: 18226441
Hey, thanks a whole lot.  That's really helpful.
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Expert Comment

by:aomega
ID: 21190501
You can get 300x compact flash these days, about 45mb/s transfers.  
Ebay for example sells them for about $130 for 8Gb version
http://search.ebay.ca/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=300x+compact+flash&category0=
There's also the new
The Delkin Compact Flash PRO 305x 16 GB for about $400.
If you raid 0 these, you might just get 80/mbs transfer rates which are great.

However, with the cost of raiding both of them and buying controlers, etc. time, etc.  You're better off buying a 16Gb Mtron which works around 80-100mb transfer rates.  Cost is about $400
http://www.dvnation.com/

The Mtron SSD even does better performance then the WD Raptors.
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