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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Data Storage - CompactFlash
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1996-2001

Version 1.14  Revised: 5/8/2001

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CompactFlash cards are used for data storage in PDAs, H/PCs , Palm PCs and Digital Cameras. Essentially, they are ATA flash PC Cards in a smaller package (approximately 1 3/8" x 1 5/8" x 1/8"). As a matter of fact, with an adapter (provided with the purchase of Sandisk CompactFlash Cards) you can use these cards in a Type II PC Card Slot. These cards use the standard PC format (FAT File System) even in digital cameras so that you can transfer and use the data easily on other systems. Currently these cards are supported by Handheld PCs, Palm-size PCs and Pocket PCs. The CompactFlash Association has adopted CompactFlash type II for larger devices and the CompactFlash CF+ for peripherals. Special drivers for peripherals will be required.  An example of using CompactFlash slots for peripherals is the new Palm-size PC.  It uses a 5mm thick card to support paging, modems, Ethernet, etc.  Existing CompactFlash slots will not accept the new CompactFlash type II cards or CompactFlash CF+ peripherals.  The CompactFlash CF+ cards that Socket and Pretec have announced are all of Type I thickness.  They will work with existing CompactFlash PC Card adapters so that you can use these devices in both your Handheld PC, Palm-size PC and Pocket PC.

Quickly Find CompactFlash Storage cards at!

Compatible CompactFlash Storage Cards

Manufacturer Notes In Association with
Butterfly Group    
Kingston   32 MB Card, 64 MB Card
Lexar Faster CompactFlash Cards - 4x (600k/s) and 8x (1,200k/s) 64MB 8X USB Card
Pretec Uses Hitachi Controller  
Sandisk Original designer of the CompactFlash standard 32 MB Card, 96 MB Card, 128 MB Card, 256 MB Card, 384 MB Card
Simple Technology   32 MB Card, (2) 32 MB Cards, 64 MB Card, 128 MB Card
Viking   CF128M 128 MB Card

Sample Pretec CompactFlash CF+ Devices


IBM Microdrive

IBM microdrive

Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted

The IBM MicroDrive is 170, 340, 512, or 1,000 MB CompactFlash CF+ type II hard disk. It is the smallest hard disk, weighing less than an AA battery (20 grams) and will be able to be used in digital cameras as well as handheld or "companion" PCs.  It spins at 4500 rpm, seeks at 15ms, and uses Enhanced Adaptive Battery Life Extender 2.0 power management to extend battery life.  It uses 3.3 volts at 500 mA (170, 340 MB) or 250 mA (512 MB, 1000 MB)  to operate which is more than most current handheld devices can provide. Currently Canon, IBM, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi, Ltd., and Minolta Co., Ltd, are evaluating using the MicroDrive in future devices.  

Halo Data Microdrive

Halo Data offers the first and smallest hard drive in their MicroDrive. It is a Type I CompactFlash hard disk with 250 MB of data storage.  With power consumption of 250 mA in write and 50 mA for standby it uses less power than the IBM MicroDrive listed above.  The current price is anticipated to he $299.  It also appears rugged with the ability to withstand a 200 G shock while operating and 1000 G shock while not operating. Look for the Halo Data MicroDrive in the near future.

Additional Links

CompactFlash Ethernet Cards
CompactFlash Modem Cards

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