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Old Jun 12, 2005, 12:38 AM   #1
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I have heard ALL kinds of stories.........I purchased a 4 gig Hitachi Microdrive but have had many say they can be unreliable and delicate...



Well whats true?
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Old Jun 12, 2005, 1:51 AM   #2
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It's a small hard disk drive - so try not to drop it or bang it about.

It's a lot more delicate than CF, but apart from that there's nothing much to worry about.
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Old Jun 12, 2005, 6:11 AM   #3
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The reason folks picked microdrives is that their cost/MB used to be lower than flash, but nowaday with the price competition between Lexar and Sandisk this advantage is greatly disminished especially in the lower densities.

There's always this issue of solid-state vs rotating media, but I'm one of thoses microdrives owners (some removed from the 'Creative' players), and a few even older 1G still and haven't had any problem yet...
Also check their reliability figures: https://www.hitachigst.com/portal/si...7bca4bac4f0a0/
... they are quite rugged @ 200G in operating shock :idea:
(and some 2000G outside the camera!)


When you shoot RAW in the studio theses devices are a godsend - just shoot away and don't worry about ever running out of 'film' - you're also less likely to drop them since they tend to stay inside the camera longer than the smaller CF cards :-)
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Old Jun 12, 2005, 12:32 PM   #4
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you guys rock with info!!!
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 9:02 AM   #5
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A couple more points to consider, however. The microdrive draws power from the battery, so expect shorter battery life--although the 20D battery lasts a long long time, even with IS lenses in use all the time.

Another consideration is life expectancy. A high speed spinning platter and motor are going to have a limited life. Rough handling when ON and/or harsh operating conditions will shorten that life. Of course, advancing technology may get you first anyway. Anyone still using a 40MB CF card? Or even a 340MB microdrive.

Still another worry about disk drives. Hitachi was the manufacturer of the legendary IBM Deskstar 75 hard drive. Known in IT circles as the Deathstar, this drive had such a high failure rate, it drove IBM out of the drive business (actually it was IBM's attempt to cover up the excessive failure rate that did them in).

More? I am an IT consultant. I have seen so many laptop hard drives fail, it is almost frightening. As pricing creates pressure to cut costs, QC invariable suffers. It is cheaper to just send out replacements for failed drives than it is to control the quality up front. That's fine for the drive manufacturer, but what about you? Are you going to be OK with that prompt shipment of a replacement microdrive, when the failure cost you 4GB of non-repeatable shots?

Bottom line for me is thatI feel more comfortable witha solid state CF card over a complex, delicate, miniature hard drive. But that's me.
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 9:09 AM   #6
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... Flash are quite complex devices too :idea:

They are mapped as virtual devices with a wear leveling algorithm on top - Check the other thread on Lexar
or section 7 here: http://www.semicon.toshiba.co.jp/eng...ionguide_e.pdf
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 1:53 PM   #7
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NHL wrote:
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... Flash are quite complex devices too :idea:

They are mapped as virtual devices with a wear leveling algorithm on top - Check the other thread on Lexar
or section 7 here: http://www.semicon.toshiba.co.jp/eng...ionguide_e.pdf
CFA claims:
"CompactFlash cards have an operating shock rating of 2,000 Gs, which is equivalent to a 10-foot drop. With typical usage, a CompactFlash card can be used for more than 100 years with no loss or deterioration of data."

Even if these claims are exaggerated by a factor of five, they still define the standard for a rugged and durable storage device. If cost per GB is the overriding consideration for your storage medium, then microdrive still has the advantage.

I've never dropped a CF card. Of course, if I had microdrives, I would have dropped one out on the driveway by now. I'll stick with flash...just in case.
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 4:35 PM   #8
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Can NASA's researchers with the same access to the CFA data knew something we don't?

"IBM designed the Microdrive for reliability, high-performance and huge capacity -- features that are essential to meet NASA's rigorous standards for critical missions" - http://www.dpreview.com/news/0105/01...microdrive.asp

... I wonder how many iPod Minis get dropped each day as well :idea:
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 5:26 PM   #9
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NHL wrote:
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Can NASA's researchers with the same access to the CFA data knew something we don't?

"IBM designed the Microdrive for reliability, high-performance and huge capacity -- features that are essential to meet NASA's rigorous standards for critical missions" - http://www.dpreview.com/news/0105/01...microdrive.asp

... I wonder how many iPod Minis get dropped each day as well :idea:
I don't know how many ipods get dropped.I'll bet they drive Best Buy crazy collecting on their extended warranties!

That IBM article is from 2001, and the microdrives were used before there were 1GB CF cards available, and they were just for digital cameras being carried along--not exactly mission-critical equipment. And IBM also designed the Deskstar 75.

I do know about budgets, and NASA has the same as anyone else. If they can save $500 on a device that only has to last ten days, they certainly will do so. But at that, I don't think I'd use NASA as an example of reliability fanaticism. Or have you forgotten Apollo1, Apollo 13, Challenger, and Columbia?

Anyway, NHL, I don't think you're going to give up until you win, so I'm going to spare the group and say here I agree! Microdrive is the best. It is faster than CF. More reliable than CF. Less susceptible to shock than CF. I've heard microdrives even improveCanon autofocus. When future archeologists dig us up, they'll find bones, hula hoops, and microdrives, and only the microdrives will be in working order.

[Private message to 1Texan: From one Texan to another...stick with CF! Go Cowboys!]
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Old Jun 15, 2005, 5:07 AM   #10
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wburychka

Check my post - nowhere did I said the microdrives were the best (or even better) :blah:
1texan already bought the drive - You are scaring him!

The two formats can co-exist quite peacefully and suit to each person needs/requirements. I own as many flash cards as the next guy here, but I also happen to have microdrives when the application requires - I don't shoot other products down just because I don't like it (Sigma vs Canon is another example)

My point was just to 'enlight' people that flash, even though a 'solid-state' device comes with flaws, that some people are not aware of (see section 6 & 7 of this application notes anyone hasn't): http://www.semicon.toshiba.co.jp/eng...ionguide_e.pdf
1. Flash do wear out through use (its inherents in the design)
2. and why they all require wear-leveling algorithm in them to extend their life
3. Some blocks of flash are held in reserve just for the above (1) & (2)... (format a flash card -> you never get a full amount)
4. Format a 1G microdrive for example -> everyone will get a full 1G and not 9xx something!
5. Check the Lexar post


I don't doubt your experience with Deathstar either, but this thing weight a ton as compare to a microdrive - Isn't it true that the inertia is much less on a tiny disk or a liliputian (and feather weight) reading arm? In another word things can be designed 'correctly' for portable applications - Your 'Deathstar' for example can never run on batteries whereas a microdrive will do just fine...

The two formats do co-exit and nothing 'we' say can prevent that - just check the market for MP3 products: they are practically given away the flash based players while the HD ones are selling like hot cakes, and at a premium! :-)

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