Review Sandisk Extreme Card Readers - Mini Review - Updated 4/9/07

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#1
Sandisk Extreme Card Readers - Mini Review

I just thought I would do a quick review of the Sandisk Extreme Card Readers, There are 2 versions of interest.

1. Firewire Extreme Reader



2. USB 2.0 Extreme Reader



Packaging Contents.

The Firewire reader come packaged with the reader body for CF I/II cards and a FW800 socket on the back, FW800 to FW400 cable, FW800 to FW800 cable, and a copy of Rescue Pro Deluxe.

The USB 2.0 reader came packaged with the reader body for CF I/II, SD, SDHC, MMC, MS Pro Duo cards and a Mini USB socket on the back, USB Mini to USB 2.0 cable, copy of Rescue Pro.

Performance.

This is the interesting bit, how the 2 perform against each other, The test was carried out using a Mac G5 Quad, with the readers connected by each of their own cables, An Extreme 3 or 4 CF or SDHC card was loaded with 136 RAW files to total 1GB of data and that data was downloaded to the MAC 3 times with each set up and the average time taken (rounded up to nearest second).


Firewire Extreme Reader with FW800 Cable

Extreme III Compact Flash

Download times

1min 13sec
1min 12sec
1min 13sec

Time taken 1min 13sec

Extreme IV Compact Flash

Download times

33sec
33sec
33sec

Time taken 33sec


Firewire Extreme Reader with FW400 Cable

Download times

1min 12sec
1min 12sec
1min 13sec

Time Taken 1min 13sec


USB 2.0 Extreme Reader with USB 2.0 Cable

Extreme III Compact Flash

Download times

1min 31sec
1min 32sec
1min 32sec

Time Taken 1min 32sec

Extreme IV Compact Flash

Download times

53sec
52sec
53sec

Time taken 53sec

Extreme III SDHC

Download times

1min 53sec
1min 53sec
1min 53sec

Time Taken 1min 53sec

Conclusion.

Not a lot in it speed wise.If you use CF cards only and have a Firewire connection spare and don't mind spending the extra money get the Firewire Extreme Reader. But if you dont mind the slightly longer download time and use SD cards or the other types get the USB 2.0 version and save some money, you wont be disappointed.

Firewire Extreme Reader approx £ 35 - 40
USB 2.0 Extreme Reader approx £ 12 - 15

Update Note

Tests now run with Extreme IV Compact Flash Cards.
 
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#2
Great review, interesting as in theory USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire 400 but not in this real world test. I suppose is could be down to the implementation from Sandisk.

Think i could live with the slightly slower speed given the cost difference
 
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#4
yeah nice review, i think the USB one looks better too ! do they both take the same cards Mark ?
Ian

The Firewire reader for CF I/II cards.

The USB 2.0 reader for CF I/II, SD, SDHC, MMC (even though not shown on the reader picture it is on my actual one), MS Pro Duo cards.


Omitted this vital bit from the review thanks for the prompt. - see below

And i think the speed tops out on the USB 2.0 one with Extreme 3 cards, meaning Extreme 4 cards show no increase in download speed, but I cant be sure as I dont have any Extreme 4 cards - Anyone want to loan me one so I can run the test ?.
But on the Firewire version with FW800 cables and interface the speed should be faster still.

Just added the last bit to the review.
 

Steep

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#9
Might be worth someone running the same test on a windows based machine. I think I'm right in saying that firewire is native to Macs and possibly performs better in that environment.
 
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#10
These results follow what I would expect from a firewire/USB2 comparison. I'd always read in the past that on paper USB2 should be just quicker then firewire, but due to its overheads actually falls just short.

Nice review though, very helpful :)
 
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#11
In my experience with USB and Firewire (used in photography PP and Backup/storage enviroment) Firewire is much faster than USB 2.0, file sizes also have a bearing on this when using much larger files sizes USB 2.0 is even slower.
 
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#16
Am in the process of returning my IV cards as all have developed problems. Sorry not going to try and explain (too damned complex) just not working. OK.
Going to use III till its sorted.
 
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#19
Just like to add, I got the USB 2 one the other day. A few points in terms of the unti.

1 - The entire bottom is rubberised, which is nice so it doesn't slide around the desk

2 - There are 2 little blue LED for both the CF and SD cards and lights up respectively when you put the card in.
 
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#27
I didn't realise there was such a huge difference between III and IV. Guess what I'e just ordered :(
I dont think they make that much diference except when you exceed your buffer size in your camera when shooting in continuous high speed mode, then it takes longer for the camera to transfer the data to the card. Most of the time I have room to spare and don't hit the limit, so most of the time it wont be an issue.:)
 

CT

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#28
I just bought the firewire version of this card reader. Used with Extreme 1V UDMA cards it absolutely blasts through the downloads! Finally - an end to download time frustrations. :banana:
 
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CT

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#30
The USB version seems to have sold out everywhere I have looked so far and I don't seem to have firewire. Is there any other gadget that downloads fast - there does not seem to be any universal description so you can compare like for like?
Lexar do a similar high speed reader - I dunno how it compares. I went for the Sandisk version because I use Sandisk CF cards.
 
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