SanDisk ImageMate USB 3 vs Lexar Firewire 400 Reader

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I recently purchased the new SanDisk Imagemate to upgrade from my old dedicated Lexar Professional Firewire 400 CF reader.

The thought was to move away from the FW400 ports that are no longer supported on my iMac and into some new USB 3 technology. Now I know the iMac only has USB 2 ports, but I was sure that the new SanDisk card reader would stand me in good stead for future computer upgrades.

I have 2 types of card that I currently shoot with: (8GB Lexar Pro UDMA 300x speed and a slower 8GB SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s), but before I cast the old Firewire reader into the rapidly growing box of tech that’s going/gone obsolete (including Zip drives, that’s right kids I said Zip drives!), I thought I’d run a quick data transfer experiment to see how much difference the move to the new reader makes.

Disclaimer: This speed test details only my observations of the data times being written to and downloaded from the CF cards on my computer and results may vary on other machines.

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I created a 8GB folder with a mixture of RAW files and Movies and set about testing the read and write capabilities of each reader and card combination.

Here’s how they played out.

Card Reader: SanDisk ImageMate USB 3

CF Card : Lexar Pro 8GB UDMA 300x speed

Write to card:

1 GB – 45 secs

4 GB – 3min 1 sec

8 GB – 6 min

Read from card

1 GB – 28 secs

4 GB – 1 min 52 sec

8 GB – 3 min 43 sec

———————————————-

Card Reader: SanDisk ImageMate USB 3

CF Card : SanDisk Extreme III – 30MB/s

Write to card:

1 GB – 57 secs

4 GB – 3min 49 sec

8 GB – 7min 31 sec

Read from card

1 GB – 35 secs

4 GB – 2 min 17 sec

8 GB – 4 min 34 sec

———————————————-

Card Reader: Lexar Professional Firewire 400

CF Card : Lexar Pro 8GB UDMA 300x speed

Write to card:

1 GB – 2 min 13 secs

4 GB – 8 min 50 sec

8 GB – 17 min 43 sec

Read from card

1 GB – 1 min 51 secs

4 GB – 7 min 16 sec

8 GB – 14 min 27 sec

———————————————-

Card Reader: Lexar Professional Firewire 400

CF Card : SanDisk Extreme III – 30MB/s

Write to card:

1 GB – 1 min 45 secs

4 GB – 7 min 01 sec

8 GB – 14 min 02 sec

Read from card

1 GB – 1 min 32 secs

4 GB – 6 min 8 sec

8 GB – 12 min 14 sec

As expected the SanDisk USB 3 (new tech) is considerably quicker, saving me a reasonable 90 secs on a 1GB download, but almost a staggering 9 minutes on a full 8GB card. Wow. I hadn’t realised that I could save that much time.

Poor old Lexar reader. What is interesting is that on the Lexar Card Reader the SanDisk CF card appeared to out-perform the allegedly quicker Lexar CF card. Not that it matters now anyway.

All this speed testing is now making me think about upgrading my CF cards. Maybe to the new Pro standard 600x speed, but on the very near horizon the major card manufacturers are launching 1000x speed cards. Should be unbelievably fast and I would imagine they have a price tag to match.

I’d love to hear of your experiences and observations. Catch up soon.

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