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Old Feb 4, 2003, 3:50 PM   #1
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Default Microdrive "Downside" questions

I have been recearching what type of memory to get. I am leaning heavily toward a 1GB Microdrive. It is my understanding that they are more suseptable to damge do to the layered disks and moving parts. I also thought I read somewhere that noise can be an issue due to the spinning of the disks. One other downside I have heard regarding the Microdirves is that they consume more power than a CF card.

Is this noise an issue to be concerned with ?
Is the extra power consumption significant ?
Should I also look into having a CF card in addition or in lue of the Microdrive ?

BTW, I have a Canon G2

Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 5:13 PM   #2
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Microdrives do not make much, if any, noise.
Power consumption is a factor but the the G2 has a pretty hefty battery so I don't think it will bother you much.
Never have all your eggs in one basket (or memory device)!

Microdrives -are- tiny hard drives and as such they are prone to mechanical failure and damage from excessive shock forces. They also do not work well (if at all) above 10,000 feet in altitude.

Bear in mind that there are lots of 512MB flash cards for sale on eBay these days for just $149-175. Ridata, Dane Electric and Samsung are all good 3rd-party brands of CF cards.

-Steve
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 10:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Bear in mind that there are lots of 512MB flash cards for sale on eBay these days for just $149-175.
It used to be that the microdrive was about 25% or so of two card each of half the size , e.g., when I bought my 1G microdrive for $220, 512M CF cards were going for a bit under $500 each. I figured that much difference was well worth any risk. Not had any problems, but the price diffence has come down so I'm not sure I'd do the same today.

I would be watching for Gig microdrives to drop to something like $100. If they don't come down like that, and solid state memory keeps dropping, there won't be any more microdrives being made.

IMHO, the problems with microdrives has been overstated, but they are more fragile than solid state. If there is enough of a price advantage - buy one. If not, don't. The balance point is very much a personal choice.[/quote]
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 11:13 PM   #4
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Default Thank you

Thanks for your advice.
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 6:31 AM   #5
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Another thing to consider is the microdrives have a significantly faster access time than CF cards at the ~$140 range... The faster CF (ie <x24 or so) cards that can approach the microdrives writing speed still cost several times more:
http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7082

For their higher power consumption, the microdrives still hold the speed champ over all existing flashes. The newer ones just make them all the more so:
http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...amp;highlight=
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 9:33 AM   #6
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For their higher power consumption, the microdrives still hold the speed champ over all existing flashes
NHL

I hate to correct a man who knows a lot more than me, but I don't believe you can make that claim. Maybe you mean to put the same qualification you had above (about in the ~$140 range?) Then it's a statement I would believe.

In theory, the microdrive is faster than CF. I fully agree with that (having written flash drivers, I understand this all to well.) But on Rob Goldbraith's CF test page:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/media/co...dex.html<br />

The microdrive is only the fastest on 3 of the cameras that he tested. And he tested 11 cameras from 4 companies and it was only faster in the:
Fuji FinePix S2 Pro, Kodak DCS 520, Kodak DCS 760

I wish he'd tested more "consumer" grade cameras, but he tests what he cares about... and he is a Pro after all. I don't know if this skewed his results.

There is, of course, lots of "fine print" on any of these tests. He hasn't tested those new microdrives (they aren't out yet.) I don't know if the microdrive has gotten faster over time (without increasing its capacity.) Or if newer firmware revs in the camera would make the microdrive faster. This last one also applies to CF... I seem to remember reading somewhere that SanDisk/Lexar/big-name-here was working with camera makers to improve their write performance in future firmware upgrades. It would only work on their newest cards, though.

Unless I'm shown something to refute Rob's testing all we can say is that (only listing positives here.):
1) They are cheaper for the same capacity in a fast card
2) microdrives don't have a finite number of rights
3) They write at the same speed as they read
4) They are usually faster than everything else around the same price.

And the cheaper clame is getting harder with Sandisk droping their prices on the 512MB Ultra card so much. $200 bucks? Wow.

Maybe its the engineer in me, but I prefer "usually faster for the same price." to "hold the speed champ over all existing flashes."

As to the higher power consumption.... I read on a different CF test page (it was about startup time, not write times) that the microdrive draws about .6V for the length of the write more than a CF card (this is from memory, I can't find the link now.) The person said that that accounted for about 10% of the power consumption of the card (total.) That makes the "draws more power" clame to be true, but almost insignificant. NHL, would that make sense with your heavy use of the microdrive?

Eric
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 9:48 AM   #7
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Eric Said

I wish he'd tested more "consumer" grade cameras, but he tests what he cares about... and he is a Pro after all. I don't know if this skewed his results.

I agree, i have been looking for CF Tests done in consumer cameras, namely my G2, so I know what is the best memory to get for my camera. I have been avoiding asking the question, " Whats the best memery out there?" Becuase I know it depends on the useage, environment, and camera.

But I have been trying to get an idea of what memory i should get for my G2.

I think with everyones information, I am leaning on getting a MD and a 256 or 512 CF (don't know what brand or speed yet).
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 9:51 AM   #8
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Eric

I agree with you totally with respect to cameras... But CF doesn't just go in camera. Try a microdrive in a PCMCIA slot in a laptop vs flash and you know what I mean. Until a (pro)camera implements a true IDE interface, and not all this firmware emulation stuff, then the speed of the microdrive will always be limited.
Just like running an ATA-133 hardisk on a motherboard designed for only 66/100 ops: Check the transfer speed of the DCS14n, even the microdrive won't be fast enough for this camera!

A good example of speed is to look at the s602 thread where this camera can put out a continuous stream of non-stop video data, the microdrive so far is the only device that can reliably keep up in the CF format (SM native handshake notwithstanding). Remember your flash drivers days? Moving between pages is fast, but awfully slow between blocks which a flash has to do eventually when the file is becoming large enough...

With respect to power consumption, I have observed that my microdrive last longer on my D7 than a person using a flash card and has to go back review the pictures and delete some... It all robs power from the picture taking part! With the microdrive I keep all the junk until I have the time to carefully examine the pictures back at my PC... :lol:
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 6:35 PM   #9
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NHL
Very good point. I've never tried putting either a CF or MicroDrive into a PCMCIA port. I could see how a MicroDrive would be faster there.

I do find it interesting that one of the limiting factors for writing to flash is the physical layout of the memory banks in the card. I'm sure different flash cards have different banks sizes, so a picture is written faster when the write pattern matches how the flash works. Makes me think that cameras could benefit from a "write block size" setting to vary how they fragement the picture before writing it. I bet that would help write performance.

So your experience is that a MicroDrive takes less power than "reasonable" (my word) LCD use for browsing. I could see that.

I found the link testing wakeup time of different flash cards (and a microdrive.) Its:
http://www.vinland.com/Compact_Flash_Speed.html

To correct my comment about power consumption from before, the MicroDrive (in his tests) drew 0.08A more than a CF card when starting up. So it didn't list how much more power is used during writes.

I still have nightmares about my flash driver writing days. My software, at one point, was "self-lobotomizing". A memory corruption error caused it to erase 1/2 the banks of the flash card where the program resided! My manager loved that description when I put it into my status report.
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 7:03 PM   #10
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Eric

A complete power profile of the 1G/512M microdrive is on page 21: http://www.hgst.com/hdd/micro/appl_guide_v110.pdf

The microdrive does consume considerably more current in short bursts during R/W, but most of the time @ idle its comparable to some flash. Notice the 170M/340M are actually faster @ powering up while drawing more current! ops:
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