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Lexar 300x Professional UDMA CompactFlash Card

Lexar Professional UDMA FireWire 800 Reader and Professional Dual-Slot USB Reader
Lexar's new CompactFlash cards offer minimum sustained write speeds of 45MB/sec

When it comes to memory cards used in high-end D-SLR cameras, speed is king. SanDisk and Lexar typically battle it out for the speed crown in the professional sector, but today Lexar has just kicked things up a notch.

The previous speed king was SanDisk's Extreme IV CompactFlash series which offer up to 40MB/sec sequential read and write speeds thanks to Enhanced Super-Parallel Processing or “ESP.” Lexar has now struck back with its 300x Professional UDMA CompactFlash cards which offer minimum sustained write speeds of 45MB/sec. According to Lexar, the new cards offer a 125% performance increase over its previous 133x Professional CompactFlash offerings.

"Our new Professional UDMA 300x speed-rated cards dramatically improve the photographer's workflow by reducing the time needed to download images after a shoot. Working in conjunction with one of our new UDMA-enabled CompactFlash card readers, a photographer instantly benefits by having more time to capture, manage, and share his or her images," said John Omvik, Director of Professional Product Marketing for Lexar.

The 300x Professional UDMA CompactFlash Cards will be available in capacities of 2GB, 4GB and 8GB starting in April. At that time, Lexar will also introduce a new Professional UDMA FireWire 800 Reader ($79.99) and Professional Dual-Slot USB Reader ($49.99) to take full advantage of the Professional UDMA 300x CompactFlash cards.

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By Alphafox78 on 2/20/2007 4:17:16 PM , Rating: 3
Can anyone say readyboost?!

RE: Vista
By Master Kenobi on 2/20/2007 4:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
My thoughts exactly.

RE: Vista
By rudyv1 on 2/20/2007 4:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
I thought only USB 2.0 devices could be used for Windows Vista ReadyBoost feature?

Would these compact flash cards now be the fastest possible medium to use with ReadyBoost?

RE: Vista
By Alphafox78 on 2/20/2007 4:29:10 PM , Rating: 1
... get a usb reader ...

RE: Vista
By PAPutzback on 2/20/2007 4:50:48 PM , Rating: 4
Supported Form Factors and Busses
ReadyBoost supports USB flash drives, Secure Digital cards, CompactFlash cards, Memory Stick over PCI, and PCIe and SSA busses, which effectively includes most internal card readers in mobile PCs. ReadyBoost does not support cards attached to external USB readers or devices attached to a USB 1.0 and USB 1.1 bus.

RE: Vista
By giantpandaman2 on 2/20/2007 4:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see the big deal about ReadyBoost. Vista is a 64bit operating system, so you can just buy 8 GB of RAM if you really want to. Not to mention it's helluva lot faster just to buy more RAM. And, considering the prices of high speed flash it's not a whole lot more expensive.

RE: Vista
By Martin Blank on 2/20/2007 8:35:13 PM , Rating: 3
Your motherboard has to support running that much RAM, and 2GB modules are still pretty expensive; installing 8GB of DDR2 as 4x2GB is going to set you back around a thousand dollars, give or take a hundred or so. Using this will probably be less expensive.

RE: Vista
By mindless1 on 2/22/2007 2:41:24 AM , Rating: 2
Less expensive but substantially slower. Did anyone forget about the overhead of continual USB access?

If your PC didn't already have 4GB of memory, you'd be far better off going that route instead of trying to add some flash card. On the other hand, this card paired with an UDMA capable CF-IDE adapter should be great for embedded systems or some users' notebook, HDD-replacement needs. Did I write "everyone"? No, there's bound to be people who try to put everything and the kitchen 'sink, plus 200GB of pr)n and DVD rips on their notebook, obviously those less common needs will require uncommonly high amounts of storage. The average user on the other hand, ends up using less space on their laptop than XP's system restore did.

RE: Vista
By kextyn on 2/20/2007 4:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
I will never understand why people like the idea of readyboost. USB is SLOW compared to RAM or HDD. USB 2.0 maxes out around 50-60MB/sec and this is the minimum speed on some hard drives. With a partition optimized for virtual memory usage on a fast drive (Raptor) you could easily sustain 80MB/sec.

RE: Vista
By Flunk on 2/20/2007 4:44:52 PM , Rating: 3
The idea is to have persistant storage that doesn't come off of the hard drive to store information that would otherwise be shuffled into virtual memory. This frees up the hard drive to be accessed by other processes at the same time as the flash drive. Also flash memory does have much lower seek times than hard disks so for large numbers of small files it would be faster.

I'm not too sure how useful this technology is either but I do understand the reasoning behind it.

RE: Vista
By masher2 on 2/20/2007 5:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
> "USB is SLOW compared to RAM or HDD..."

RAM isn't part of the picture, ReadyBoost uses a USB device in place of your HDD. And while HDDs do have higher sustained transfer rates, flash cards have negligible access time. For large numbers of small i/o read requests, flash is much faster.

RE: Vista
By kextyn on 2/20/2007 6:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
RAM IS part of the picture. Instead of using a USB flash drive you can add RAM and use a RAM drive instead. Any way you look at it it's better to have more/faster RAM or more HDD space. USB should not be used for things that RAM is designed for.

RE: Vista
By Motley on 2/20/2007 6:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
kextyn, please go and google ReadyBoost, because it's apparent you have no idea what it is, or what it does.

RE: Vista
By giantpandaman2 on 2/20/2007 7:14:47 PM , Rating: 2

RAM is part of the picture because Vista caches whatever it can.

Perhaps ya'll should look at the real world effects of upgrades rather than just read tech papers.

RE: Vista
By IcY18 on 2/20/2007 8:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
No RAM has nothing to do with ReadyBoost, maybe you should do some reading before actually running your mouth. ReadyBboost is for the sole purpose of turning your computer on faster. RAM is volatile, and for a refresher it means that every time you turn your computer off all information stored in RAM will be lost. So thats why using flash memory can be used as its obviously not volatile and is much faster when loading up the OS vs. a hard drive.

The other feature you might be confused with is SuperFetch, in this case duh, more ram is always better than flash memory, but for Readyboost ram has nothing to do with it

RE: Vista
By giantpandaman2 on 2/20/2007 8:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you might try to understand that I was talking about how the upgrades affected performance rather than how specifically the different technologies worked. And, please, you're going to blow a load of money to increase boot time by a few seconds? Vista already boots quite fast. I guess people really do like to waste money.

RE: Vista
By InsaneScientist on 2/21/2007 2:41:05 AM , Rating: 3
Oy vey....

ReadyBoost works in conjunction with SuperFetch.

SuperFetch is designed to cache programs (and whatever else) in memory before they're needed, thus compensating for the fact that, as you said, RAM is volatile.

ReadyBoost simply gives Vista another place to stash that cached data. Since flash memory has such low access times, reading data off of a flash drive can be better than reading it off the Hard Drive.

So, while it is true that RAM has nothing to do with how ReadyBoost works, obviously it's much faster for SuperFetch to cache to your system memory and only then to the flash drive, so having more RAM in your system dramatically reduces the need for ReadyBoost.

More RAM will always have far more effect on your system's performance than ReadyBoost could hope to attain. The only reason that ReadyBoost makes sense is that most people already have a flash drive kicking around.
If you're going to actually spend money, though, it's far better to put your money into more RAM. Even if you can't get as much RAM as you could flash memory for the same price, the sheer speed differential more than makes up for it.

RE: Vista
By mindless1 on 2/22/2007 2:46:28 AM , Rating: 2
The only reason Readyboost makes sense is that MS thinks people are too stupid to upgrade their system memory, plugging in a USB memory drive is a stop-gap measure for the typical budget PCs that sell in highest volumes - but with less memory to meet those low price points.

RE: Vista
By mindless1 on 2/22/2007 2:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
You would do well to think a bit, about how it's only faster relative to small accesses to a HDD, things that can be entirely offset with ample memory and a typical filecache.

YOu will have a faster system WITHOUT ReadyBoost, if you have ample memory and the system is tweaked to prevent all these nonsensical pseudo-features from slowing things down. Vista like it's predecessors is designed to run on slower systems and assumes problems, to the detriment of a system that (would've) worked well.

RE: Vista
By crazydrummer4562 on 2/20/2007 9:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
These cards are probably going to cost a lot more than just getting a new stick of RAM.

RE: Vista
By mindless1 on 2/22/2007 2:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
Can anyone say that if you want best memory subsystem performance you'd be foolish to use Vista?

It's slower for a reason and that reason is the bloat.
Just say no to bloated OS, it's not going to get any better with future OS otherwise, it will just cost you more to keep doing the same things you always had.

Target Market
By vgermax on 2/20/2007 7:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
Curious nobody actually commented on the target market for these cards and readers...

RE: Target Market
By DSLRNomad on 2/21/2007 10:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
This is superb news for us photographers!

Shooting a lot of images in RAW format, the card is always the bottleneck in writing to & for when transferring these large images off to post process them.
Hopefully now I may be able to capture all the shots I want rather than have to pick & choose my moments perfectly.

RE: Target Market
By vgermax on 2/21/2007 4:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
Provided you aren't using budget flash cards, the card itself is rarely the bottleneck. The camera, more often than not, is incapable of writing to memory quickly enough. The high speed readers, and cards are more intended for data transfer into the workflow.

Check out for test results for camera-to-card, and card-to-computer. The fastest cards can transfer at nearly 40 MB/s, while the fastest camera-to-card transfers are still under 10 MB/s.

These Lexar cards are shown to have approximately 4 MB/s advantage over the Sandisk Extreme IV cards.

RE: Target Market
By mindless1 on 2/22/2007 2:51:01 AM , Rating: 2
If the fastest camera transfers are under 10MB/s and these cards show a 4MB/s advantage, is that not an extremely good result still? If it is true, then obviously it does matter, the card itself is in fact a bottleneck, even if not always the primary bottleneck. In the end all we care about is, is it actually faster in use, and does that difference justify the price difference. Or to look at it another way, if you buy a big enough card you may find it still useful with the NEXT camera you buy, and some are now capable of far faster speeds than the older models and non-CF2.0 flash cards Rob G. tested in the past.

You really can't cite aged benchmarks, flash chips evolve quite rapidly and after 6 months you might as well pretend a benchmark didn't exist.

RE: Target Market
By vgermax on 2/22/2007 12:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
mindless1, you must really look at the site, and properly read the posting. The cameras tested are the current Nikon, and Canon SLRs, and the computers are also current models (Mac Pro 3.0 w/OS X 10.4.8 or Windows Vista). With respect to the cards tested, Rob G has results for the Sandisk Extreme IV as well as the just announced Lexar subject cards.

If you consider the Extreme IV transfers at 38 MB/s (in a very specific reader/computer setup), then having the Lexar cards come in at 42 MB/s is not "an extremely good result" if consideration is made that the Extreme IV has been on market, and represented a 50% improvement over fastest cards prior, whereas the Lexar represents a more modest 10% improvement.

Again, with a half decent card, the camera to date has always been the bottleneck. Even with the recently announced EOS 1D Mk III improving the write speed by 30% to CF, and 100% to SD as compared to the , the card is not the bottleneck. The 1D Mk III would represent write speeds of approximately 12 MB/s to CF, and 20 MB/s to SD, which are both well below the transfer rates of a decent card-to-computer. To think that a $300 P&S would have faster camera-to-card transfer rates than a $4000 current SLR is naive to put it politely. Given the improvement rate of camera-to-card performance over the past 3 generations of SLRs, it is nearly as naive to think the NEXT camera you buy would possibly take advantage of a 42 MB/s flash card.

Target market
By medavid16 on 2/20/2007 9:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
It is interesting huH?

I am a techie, testing out ReadyBoost/Superfetch way back when RTM leaked, as well as a D-SLR fanatic... currently only able to afford the Canon Rebel XTi, 200m macro lens

anyway, this is awesome on both ends. In terms of D-SLR, I don't foresee anyone really using this unless they are a true professional. the UMDA feature makes a huge difference... Imagine the possibilities. Shoot sets of photos at the wedding, print it (not likely) or burn it, AT the wedding. I think having something this fast will make something like that possible, and with 8 gigs, don't need to delete anything.

Readyboost? Keep in mind, readyboost does NOT increase performance that much more after 2gigs, so 8 gigs? It's way overkill... especially if your system already has 2gigs to begin with. I recommend a 4GB CF card that's uber fast over this, for readyboost. But if you have the money, why not? =)

RE: Target market
By ADDAvenger on 2/21/2007 12:14:41 AM , Rating: 2
Readyboost only supports 4GB of memory, you can use an 8GB, but it'll only recognize 4GB. Also the people that can afford this can afford real RAM upgrades, what people around here can't get inside their thick skulls (not necessarily you, but those ranting under the Vista thread) is that readyboost is aimed at people too poor or cheap to buy real memory.

RE: Target market
By dever on 2/21/2007 2:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I don't foresee anyone really using this unless they are a true professional
Actually, the issue for me is not the writing to the card from the camera, but from the card to the computer. If I have a 4GB card and a card that reads 20MB/sec, that's about 3.5 minutes if all is performing at peek speed. That seems like forever when you're missing out on the festivities because you have to go offload your pics.

By PAPutzback on 2/20/2007 4:41:40 PM , Rating: 3
I just picked up a 2 gig SD flash card today to use for readyboost. My laptop comes with an SD reader built in so I am hoping the card has the required speed. It is rated 150x. I prefered to go the SD route so I would not have a USB key sticking out the side of the laptop. Plus my laptop has a 1 gig limit on ram so I had no other option to increase memory capacity. Hopefully this will give my battery a boost also if it can do some caching on the card and not the hard drive.

Readyboost and Laptops.
By Mitch101 on 2/21/2007 2:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think Readyboost makes the most sense for laptops which are usually ram limited and hard drive limited in a lot of cases. Some laptop hard drives are 4200rpm.

For whatever reason they dont have a gig of ram or faster hard drive its a nice touch that you can plug in a USB key device and get a little boost.

Desktops might see more of a benefit when we start seeing faster USB devices. The performance is there its just that existing devices are still a little slow to get a boost. Lets see what next years USB devices can do. Then the desktop might get a good boost from this.

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