After completing the above benchmarks we realized that they mean absolutely nothing in the real world, so we tried our best to time some real world tasks that many of you do with flash media.
Video File Transfer: With more and more televisions and camcorders using CF media we wanted to measure the time it would take to move an AVI file from our desktop to the media card. For this test we used a 748mb AVI movie and timed how long it took to write to the drive. The Kingston Elite Pro finished the task in 104 seconds, while the Kingston standard card finished in 243 seconds. This was by no means close as the Elite Pro Compact Flash card finished 139 seconds before the standard card was able to finish.
JPEG Write: Using our Canon PowerShot S60 camera we set our camera to take large 2592×1944 pictures in superfine mode, which resulted in 2.45mb image files. Most users take large JPEG images, so if you take a bunch of pictures these results are to be seen on a daily basis. We took a series of photos on a fixed target with our camera mounted in the tripod and found that the Kingston Elite Pro card recorded the image around 0.21 seconds faster than that of the standard Kingston Compact Flash card.
RAW Image Write: The Canon PowerShot S60 also lets us take images in RAW mode giving us approximately 4.6mb file sizes. For those who don’t know about RAW, it’s a lossless format that lets you manipulate various properties of your image — a kind of virtual reshoot. Botch the white balance? Just change it in the RAW file, and it’s just like you took the photo again. You can also adjust the saturation, sharpness, contrast, tone curve, and more in RAW mode. In raw mode we observed almost a full second faster record speeds with the Elite Pro averaging 0.73 seconds faster write times.
By working on this review we found that compact flash is definitely not all created the same and what started out as a simple review turned out to have some exciting results. One of the things causing the changes in performance that we saw is the use of differing memory controllers. The “high-speed” flash media devices, such as Kingston’s Elite Pro series have memory controllers that offer optimal performance for that specific media type. As you saw in the benchmarks, the implementation of a fast memory controller can double the performance of the flash media in certain areas. As with everything else, there are name brands and generics, but in this case as with all others you pay for what you get. You may end up paying a slight premium for Kingston Flash Memory, but Kingston is one of the select few brands to offer a lifetime warranty on their Compact Flash line. For those of you who buy compact flash media often you might recall that last year Kingston only offered a 5 year warranty, so for Kingston to move to a lifetime warranty without raising the price is great for consumers. It is reassuring to see that Kingston stands behind their product by offering a longer warranty period. This is unlike others in the industry, mainly the hard drive manufactures who recently cut their warranties from 3 years to a single year on a number of drives.
Many consumers use Compact Flash media for their photography needs and a picture is worth a thousand words. When you bought 35mm film camera years ago you had to worry about the exposure rating and you paid more for going to a quicker rating (ie: 200 to 400). (Now that we are in the digital age many consumers under 18 have never owned a 35mm camera, so sorry if I lost you) Think of purchasing a high speed flash card as a “better” quality of film. When you took your 35mm camera to your best friend’s wedding you didn’t use Billy Bob’s Film right? Of course you didn’t! When you are taking pictures you don’t want to miss that one in a million shot, so you more than likely used a name brand roll like Kodak or Fuji. Basically, the take home message here is that when you purchase flash memory you shouldn’t treat it any differently than you would have with “old school” film.
Kingston Elite Pro compact flash cards allow for faster write speeds and when taking high quality images it will save time when the the image is being written to the media. Kingston’s high speed Elite Pro series will allow you to do what you want to do — take high quality images quickly and reliably.