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CompactFlash spec gets a speed boost
(Monday, January 10, 2005 - 13:04 EST)

The CompactFlash Association (CFA) has announced that it has released a new version of its specifications for CompactFlash cards that gives the format a hefty boost in theoretical speeds.

Version 3.0 of the CompactFlash spec offers support for a data transfer rate of 66MB/second using Ultra DMA 33 / Ultra DMA 66 modes, just over four times the current 16MB/second limit of the CompactFlash 2.1 spec. The new spec also offers support for ATA and I/O modes with speeds up to 25MB/second.

It should be noted that the speed increase will take some time to be felt; the fastest CompactFlash memory cards we're aware of are still some way below the current theoretical maximum transfer speed of CompactFlash 2.1 spec when reading, and write speeds are generally about 50% below read speeds.

Still, as the speed of flash memory continues to increase, the 2.1 spec would eventually have become a bottleneck - and hence the announcement is definitely still significant. The 3.0 spec should also offer an improvement in power consumption, given that DMA interface modes allow the CF card to communicate directly with a device's memory, power-hungry processors.

At the current time, no information on the new 3.0 spec is available on the CompactFlash Association's website. Likewise, when we spoke to staff on the CompactFlash Association's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show, they were not familiar with the new specification.

Original Source Press Release:

CompactFlash Association Announces Availability of Revision 3.0 of the CF+ & CompactFlash Specification

Revision 3.0 Increases CF Interface Data Transfer Rate to 66MB/sec.

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 7, 2005--The CompactFlash Association (CFA) announces the approval and availability of the CF+(TM) & CompactFlash® Specification Revision 3.0. Revision 3.0 increases the CompactFlash interface data transfer rate from 16MB/sec to 66MB/sec, while maintaining forward and backward compatibility with old and new host systems.

Mr. Shigeto Kanda of Canon and the CFA chairman of the board said: "The development of the CompactFlash 66MB/sec interface means that the CompactFlash interface will not restrict the sustained data transfer rate of CompactFlash cards in the near future. Having the fastest interface data rate of any flash cards is a significant step for CompactFlash. Data write performance of digital SLR cameras as well as other high-performance cameras will not be limited by the flash card interface."

DMA interface mode is also included and reduces the processor power required to manage the CompactFlash data transfers. Ultra DMA 33 and UltraDMA66 interface modes will increase the CompactFlash interface data transfer rate to 66MB/sec. Both of these DMA interface modes are well defined and tested by their usage on IDE hard disk drives.

Faster PCMCIA ATA Memory and I/O modes have also been added and can provide interface transfer rates up to 25MB/sec.

CompactFlash card slots are in over 325 digital cameras, over 150 handheld/palm-size PCs and over 410 other electronic platforms including heart monitors, defibrillators, printers, MP3 players, voice recorders, embedded computers, etc. than any other small form factor card.

CompactFlash cards are currently available up to 8GB and provide the best storage solution for the new multi-mega-pixel cameras, Pocket PCs and other devices.

The CF+ and CompactFlash Standard ensures that today's and tomorrow's digital cameras will be compatible with faster and even higher capacity CF cards, as they become available.

In addition to CompactFlash data storage cards, there are CF cards that provide I/O capability. VGA, Ethernet, modem, serial, parallel, digital phone, GSM, Bluetooth, Ethernet wireless Wand & laser barcode scanners, finger print scanners, TV and GPS CF+ cards are all available.

The CF Specification Revision 3.0 is available to download free from the CFA web site at http://www.compactflash.org

The CFA (logo), CF (logo) and CF+ are trademarks of the CFA and are licensed royalty free to its members.

The CFA is a licensee of the CompactFlash® trademark and in turn will license it royalty-free to its members.

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