Saturday, January 27, 2007

Your Card Reader Makes a Difference

Most of us upload images from our memory cards to a computer via a USB card reader. However, the speed of that upload is greatly affected not only by the card speed, but also by the reader!

First, USB 2.0 comes in different "flavors." USB 2.0 "full-speed" is the same as the old USB 1.1 standard, 12 megabits per second. USB 2.0 "high-speed" is theoretically much faster, at 480 megabits per second. In actual practice, there's some overhead so that speed is never actually reached.

Most people buy a card reader labeled USB 2.0 and a fast card--never realizing that there's big differences in USB 2.0 card readers.

I did some timings myself today and was surprised. I used two different Sandisk card readers, the Sandisk 8 in 1 card USB 2.0 card reader and the Sandisk Extreme USB 2.0 card reader.


The Sandisk 8 in 1 USB 2.0 card reader and Extreme USB 2.0 reader. Both are "high-speed."





















Both readers are supposed to be USB 2.0 high speed. To test, I moved files from a couple of compact flash cards to my Dell Inspiron notebook via the USB 2.0 port on the computer. The results were...well, stunning.

Test One: 236 megabytes from Sandisk Ultra II 256MB card
Sandisk 8 in 1: 1 minute, 49 seconds
Sandisk Extreme: 24 seconds

Test Two: 1.48 gigabytes from a Kingston Elite Pro 50x 2GB card
Sandisk 8 in 1: 11 minutes, 52 seconds
Sandisk Extreme: 3 minutes, 58 seconds

In other words, although both card readers are USB 2.0 High Speed, one card reader is about 4 times faster than the other.

So, if you've ever wondered if your card reader is slowing you down, now you know. Your card reader makes a difference.

11 Comments:

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At 6:18 AM, Blogger Gugs said...

very interesting. I suspected something like without being sure. I will now go and buy a better reader...

btw, a bit off topic, what do you do do have the comments displayed under the posts in blogspot ?

 
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