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SimpleTech Announces 8GB Compact Flash Card

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the priced-just-for-nasa dept.

Data Storage 279

alterego writes "Digital Photography Review is reporting that SimpleTech has announced 2, 4, 5 and 8GB Type II Compact Flash Cards utilizing its patented IC Tower stacking technology. This comes just a month after Hitachi announced its 4GB HD in under an inch, and less than one year after Lexar announced the first 4 GB CF card, marking a huge leap in drive density. And at only $5,999 it is sure "to meet budget and performance requirements.""

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fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248362)

is it?

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248436)

so what do i win? how about this 8g card?

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248540)

we'll see next time... around 10:20 i guess

wan fuck? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248369)

eb..eye ball
u
phil ..............!?
yup
do u want fucking?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248380)

FIRST POST!

reliability? (5, Interesting)

plinius (714075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248381)

They're rushing these products to market so fast with new semiconductor technologies, I'm beginning to wonder about reliability. This is storage after all, not a processor: if these data is lost you can't just reboot and start over.

Re:reliability? - an after thought (5, Insightful)

pohzer (561713) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248519)

True.

SanDisk brought us SanDisk Ultra, rated at 60x speed. Then they reminded us that if we really want it to keep it's memory at low temperatures (such as outdoor photography in winter) then we really need to buy SanDisk Extreme (same speed, higher temperature tolerance).

Seems to me these hardware manufacturers are taking a clue from the software industry. The "implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose" is intended to protect consumers against such crap. But then, if you can shrink-wrap the product with all sorts of disclaimers of warranties (even implied warranties) then hey, why not? Cheating is cheating, and everybody is doing it, so it must be ok.

Re:reliability? - an after thought (-1, Troll)

davidhan (539718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248619)

So 8GB in your shirt pocket, even if you are European and wear really tight shirts. Ever take a dump and go to flush, only to have something fall out of your shirt pocket and into the bowl? Imagine dropping a real nasty log, I'm talking after having lunch at Taco Bell nasty, and then reaching over to flush, and your $6,000 8GB card containing all your company's data falls out of your shirt pocket and into that mess.

Re:reliability? - an after thought (1, Insightful)

GerbilSocks (713781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248698)

If that's the case, I think you got a bigger problem.

Re:reliability? (4, Interesting)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248739)

I'm always concerned with the reliability of these cards. I think their ability to keep their state wanes over time, although I don't know what that time period is. With the Type II cards, battery life is also an issue, as they suck much more juice than the Type I. The article says that they have a 5 GB Type I card, which would bring my Nex IIe up to the storage capacity of a Mini iPod, if I could afford either :). I'll just have to wait a year or two for these cards to be in the hundreds instead of thousands.

Only $5,999? (5, Funny)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248384)

Just in time for V-Day! I'm stocking up and getting every member of my harem one.

Being a /. member, of course, this will be yet another costless Valentine's Day for me.

And to all the naysayers... (5, Funny)

carl67lp (465321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248392)

...who said it couldn't be done for less than $10,000! Ha!

It's at just the right price point for those who might be on the fence with CF cards. Although you can, of course, get an extra 11GB for only $50 more...

Re:And to all the naysayers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248473)

> ...who said it couldn't be done for less than $10,000! Ha!

the question should be:
who said it couldn't be done for less than $6,000?

can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248394)

seriously.. what does it take to yank my hard drive, insert one of these, and drop that weight/power consumption/fragility of my drive?
(yes, I know it takes six grand)

what would the access times be like? comparable to a 42000 rpm drive? 5400? 10,000 sata?

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (5, Informative)

MoronGames (632186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248419)

The access times, I think, are much faster than hard drives, but the transfer rates are somewhat lower. If I remember correctly.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Interesting)

myc (105406) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248579)

given the smaller form factor of flash cards, why not just RAID a bunch of smaller cards together? According to pricewatch. a 1GB flashcard is about $160.00 US. 160*8 = 1280, which is a little below 5 times the cost of the 8 gb card, and also gives you increased bandwidth. For a portable device that doesn't need oodles of space for multimedia files, you wouldn't even need this much disk space. the only thing that is worrisome is the limited flash cycles.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (1, Funny)

donmiguel42 (586995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248431)

what would the access times be like? comparable to a 42000 rpm drive?
Pretty sure it'd be slower than that.

trouble with CF is that... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248444)

after a certain number of writes (many fewer than hard disks) it dies.

what about life span of these things? (4, Informative)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248474)

If I remember right(somebody correct me if I am wrong) flash cards have some max rewrite cycle. Even if its high, it still won't beat my 2.1 GB seagate from yesteryear in lifespan.

Re:what about life span of these things? (4, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248585)

My 2.1G drives had stiction problems and ended up in the trash.

Flash is still on the order of 100,000 writes, but good software will write evenly and manage bad blocks. The big problem is still the 10^2 cost difference. Notebook drives are around $0.33/MB.

Re:what about life span of these things? (2, Interesting)

glpierce (731733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248746)

External hard drives (FireWire/USB 2.0) are about $1/GB. They're realatively small and not particularly heavy - at larger sizes/prices (over 256MB/$60), I'd say they still have flash beat hands-down. For the price of a 512MB flash drive, you can have a 120GB hard drive. Yes, it's big and bulky in comparison, but unless you've got money to burn (which I'm assuming is not generally the case on /.), they're probably a better choice.

Re:what about life span of these things? (1)

neko9 (743554) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248873)

bad luck. my 850MB IDE Seagate Medalist and 1GB SCSI Seagate Hawk is still very much alive and working on this box 24h a day. so flash cards definetely still won't beat HDD in lifespan.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (5, Interesting)

RainbowSix (105550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248479)

Using a flash card would be worse than a disk. Sure it has access times an order of magnitude faster than a hard disk (200ns according to the first google hit for "compact flash access time") but bandwidth sucks at less than 20MB/s while cheap desktop drives are getting between 30-60 sustained (tom's hardware review of Seagate Baracudda 7200.7)

Furthermore since flash has limited flash cycles that is much less than that of a hard drive, your /tmp directory will have you buying a new card in no time.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248601)

> Furthermore since flash has limited flash cycles that is much less than that of
> a hard drive, your /tmp directory will have you buying a new card in no time.

Or using a small (say 1g, perhaps even 50meg) drive for your temp data. Or ensure that you only append, not delete/overwrite and only recycle that physical area of memory when it's all been written to.

Flash memory is normally very slow, though - to write, anyway.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248710)

Using a flash card would be worse than a disk. Sure it has access times an order of magnitude faster than a hard disk (200ns according to the first google hit for "compact flash access time") but bandwidth sucks at less than 20MB/s while cheap desktop drives are getting between 30-60 sustained (tom's hardware review of Seagate Baracudda 7200.7)

But for most operations on a normal desktop system, access time is 99% of total transfer time. Most disk transfers are of the order 4-16kb - less than 1 millisec while transferring. Whereas disk average access time struggles to reach 4 millisec. Excluding, of course, things like streaming video.

Furthermore since flash has limited flash cycles that is much less than that of a hard drive, your /tmp directory will have you buying a new card in no time.

Much more relevant. You would have to do without a swap partition (buy morE dram). I think some flas drives are clever wnough to map out bad blocks invisibly, so /tmp shouldn't kill you too soon.

But for $6k, how many complete disk based system can you drop/lose?

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Insightful)

MyHair (589485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248826)

Furthermore since flash has limited flash cycles that is much less than that of a hard drive, your /tmp directory will have you buying a new card in no time.

I read somewhere that at least some flash disk devices will remap writes to evenly 'wear' the flash chip even if the writes are supposedly 'physically' in the same location. But I don't know how well that mechanism scales to 8GB or how it affects speed. I also don't know how long such a wear-managed device would last under a typical workstation or server load, but at least /tmp wouldn't burn a hole through the chip in 20 minutes.

On the other hand, for a filesystem with few updates and many reads (some web servers and a few databases--think LDAP), this device could be neat for a low-latency but faster-than-network throughput network server. But I'll wait until the price drops a few thousand.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248886)

Put loads of RAM in, make /tmp a RAM disk. Oh, and turn off swap.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248563)

Let's see 180GB for $100 or 8GB for $6,000. Tough choice there.

Can I replace my Bootable CD (4, Interesting)

Bishop923 (109840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248690)

Better question would be if this could be adapted to work like a bootable CD. Imagine having a Knoppix-like distro on one of these things, You could upgrade packages piecemeal without having to burn a new CD, you could store data back to the card and it would fit in your wallet. It has 12x the storage of a CD, 3-4x the transfer rate, and faster access times by several orders of magnitude.

What are we waiting for again?

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (4, Informative)

mst76 (629405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248756)

seriously.. what does it take to yank my hard drive, insert one of these, and drop that weight/power consumption/fragility of my drive?
About 20 bucks [pcengines.ch] .
what would the access times be like? comparable to a 42000 rpm drive? 5400? 10,000 sata?
I would guess that access time is much faster than hard disks, but throughput is much lower. Current CF cards operate in PIO mode, with a max of 8MB/s. The new specification allows up to 16MB/s (still PIO I think). But the speed of current flash chips are still way below that.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (1)

mst76 (629405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248787)

Forgot to link [compactflash.org] to the new specification.

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (3, Informative)

tribulation2004 (751416) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248758)

We've tried this here at work for use in our embedded devices. The performance hit is awful, throughput is about 10% of 5400rpm IDE using an IDE-to-CF adapter (http://adis.ca/store/cfdisk.php). Using PIO3 (no DMA I'm afraid), hdparm -t reports speeds up to 4MB/s vs ~40MB/s for 7200RPM IDE. CF sectors also have the limitation of "wearing out" after about 10000 writes or so, so this is not a good solution for read-write partitions, although it will work great for read-only, or very infrequently written-to data (think binaries, libraries, config, etc). CF is optimized to do wear-levelling so that sectors are written to evenly (in theory, once the card begins to fail, it is failing across the board, not just a few sectors).

Re:can I replace my laptop hard drive now? (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248814)

Well, the idea could be interesting.

With low-power digital ink and efficient CPU, the last place to look will be the HDD.

The prices _range_ from $89.99 to $5,999, and will likely drop fast, just like other gadgets.

Given you don't want to use flash memory for frequent writes, it think it could be used for those files that rarely get overwritten. Might cost $100 to put a copy of the OS and a few other files on what is essentially a second, low-power drive.

My dream of course: having a silent laptop that can be used anywhere (screen views in broad daylight), won't heat up too much (see Man burns penis with laptop [theregister.co.uk] ), and has a couple days of autonomy on either a normal battery or with fuel-cell power.

I think there's a market for that, and as the components get cheaper, it's only a matter of time.

Hey, a geek can dream, can't (s/)he?

You do NOT want to do that (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248918)

Write speed is horribly slow compared to spinning discs, and there's a limited write life.

Sure, 500,000 writes seems like a lot, but not if that's your swap drive. The thing will be dying in 6 months.

WHAT??!?! (5, Interesting)

uprightcitizen (671176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248405)

Sweet Jesus, almost $6K for a memory card?

Honestly, who the hell needs this?

Even professional photographers couldn't possibly have a use for this instead of two 4GB disks.

But hey, I guess this means that mass solid state storage for hard drives really isn't far off, at least for PDAs.

Re:WHAT??!?! (4, Insightful)

dubdays (410710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248500)

The one good thing that can/will/may come out of this is simply the new advances in non-volatile memory technology, even if there isn't a sustainable immediate need for an 8GB CF card. I mean, seriously, how cool would it be to have an 80GB solid-state HD in a few years???

Re:WHAT??!?! (1)

Marxist Commentary (461279) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248590)

Probably no true advances, due to the patented technology. This will allow the company who invented this to reap profits, with no incentive to improve. Don't expect larger leaps forward until the patent expires.

Re:WHAT??!?! (2, Informative)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248820)

Speaking of patents...

The 'stacking' description immediately made me think of 'prior art'. I recall articles back in the '80's on how to double the RAM in Apples and other microcomputers by stacking more DIP RAM IC's atop the existing ones and running wires for the additional address lines.

So then I skimmed through the patent referenced... to be honest, I didn't study it in detail, but I'm left confused. I didn't see anything in to that had much to do with stacking memory IC's. In fact, I honestly don't see *what* they have patented.

It's probably just another overly broad patent with the purpose of scaring up some license payments.

Re:WHAT??!?! (2, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248620)

I mean, seriously, how cool would it be to have an 80GB solid-state HD in a few years???

That would be pretty cool (and silent!), I'll admit. But by then I'll have a hard time justifying it when I can get an 800GB+ platter-based HD for the same price.

they could have 80 next week if they needed it. (3, Insightful)

*weasel (174362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248906)

the achievement here is in getting 8GB into a standard-form-factor compact flash slot, and keeping power consumption down to a reasonable amount for portable storage.

They could easily bind 10 of these CF cards together and have roughly the same form factor as the sleekest slimline notebook drives. It'd really just be a matter of addressing if they wanted to release an 80GB solid-state drive.

The first problem though, is the transfer rate bottleneck. CF has access times an order of magnitude lower than even the fastest disk drives (0.000256s vs 0.006s), but its transfer rate is ~25% of current consumer magnetic disk drives. (20MB/s vs 80MB/s)

likely they could work out the transfer rate problem (and in under a year if there was a market), but then we're left with the other major problem. The relatively low write lifespan of flash memory. (between 100k and 1m writes/block)

A system swap file would likely burn through that much faster than the consumer market would tolerate.

The bottom line though, is that it's patented technology. Even if they released an 80 GB drive in a couple years, it wouldn't be priced for the consumer market. Not until a competing technology moves in.

You and I will likely still be waiting for a solid state storage alternative for the next 5 years. Sad but true.

Re:WHAT??!?! (1)

SpamDaiquiri (751269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248763)

Honestly, who the hell needs this? If the flash cycle issue can be solved some day, this would make a nice alternative to local hard drives in server blades. Imagine the density one could achieve.

Re:WHAT??!?! (2, Insightful)

ZHaDoom (65485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248793)

It may be $6000 now but in four years you'll be able to get it on ebay for $5

Digital Camera/Camcorder dilemna (5, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248414)

With this, and digital cameras like Canon's new S1 IS [powershot.com] with digital image stabilization and DV-quality movie capture, I'm not sure why anyone would need a camcorder anymore. Err... rather, cameras and camcorders are going to be on-in-the-same very soon...

"dv quality", maybe, but .... (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248614)

A word of caution: I have not seen / used the Canon, but I've seen the output of Panasonic's $900 SD based little video camera, and what *that* one claims is DV quality looked awfully blocky / pixelated to me even at its lowest (least) compression.

A neat thing, but nowhere as smooth as the video from my low-end digital8 Sony camcorder.(The lens was disappointing, too, but, that's more understandable given the size; this Canon has what seems to be a much better lens, just going by specs ...)

(I too would like an all-flash, decent-capacity video camera -- ones like the Canon you point out are probably the best way to go for now, despite the shape which makes the user think of snapshots, not extended video sessions ...ah well. I wish the toy-like ones weren't such crap, but then, they wouldn't be toys, and wouldn't cost $199 from Gateway :) )

timothy

Re:Digital Camera/Camcorder dilemna (2, Insightful)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248675)

If it really is DV-quality, then you're going to need about 20GB of storage for an hour of footage. An hour of footage is $4 of DV tape. Call me when 20GB of CF is $4, or hell, call me when 20GB of CF plus a camera is less than a decent cheap DV camera plus a tape.

Re:Digital Camera/Camcorder dilemna (4, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248802)

Err... rather, cameras and camcorders are going to be on-in-the-same very soon...

At the consumer level, that may well be true. Most people with point and shoot consumer digital cameras never print their photos, and those that do don't often print anything much bigger than a 4x6 or a 5x7. So, having the extra resolution of a still camera doesn't really do much good for them anyway. The resolution of a video camera would handle their still images just fine.

However, an 8GB $6,000 CF card is not a product for somebody buying a $299 consumer camera :) Honestly, I can't figure out who it's aimed at. I'm a professional photographer, and I'm a pretty heavy shooter, and I'll generally only fill up about 2.5 1GB cards at a wedding. I'm not worried about having to change cards, as with a 6MP camera I'll get about 400 shots to a card, and there's plenty of dead time there to swap. Portrait and magazine photographers certainly don't need this. Actually, most serious magazine/fashion photographers shoot tethered, anyway. Sports photographers need speed (which this card has, but so do the SanDisk Ultra/Extreme II cards), and there's plenty of time at football game to swap out cards every 600 shots (assuming you're using a 4MP 1D or D2H. That might change when the 8MP Canon 1D mark II comes out this April...). Really, I would specifically NOT buy a card this big, simply because I'd be afraid of putting all my eggs in one basket. If I had somebody's wedding spread across three cards, and one of them was damaged/destroyed/lost/whatever, that would be horrible, but at least I'd still have the other two (yes, I backup with a portable harddrive at every opportunity). But if I had it all on one 8GB card and it died...ouch.

Maybe an 8GB card will be practical when DSLRs all have 20MP (which probably never will happen...) but in the meantime, it's expensive overkill.

* My shots/card figures assumed JPEG capture, not RAW. For RAW, cut my numbers in half.

Re:Digital Camera/Camcorder dilemna (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248911)

let's see now, 6K for an 8Gig flash card or $20 for a three pack of Mini DV tapes at walmart, personally i would rather see cameras implement photo storage and motion jpeg onto tapes, Save a ton of money and as long as there was a decent recovery record (hell, simple triplicate writing would do) you could archive every picture you ever took, combine that with a small flashcard mounted in the tape to store thumbnails and indexing information and it wouldn't be too much of a pain to get the pics off the camera...Camera software loads up the thumbnails and the user selects what to copy over to the computer, then the software grabs the pics off the tape in the order they were written, it would be noticeable slower access times to get one or two pics but grabbing the whole set of vacation pics would be easy, probably be comparable to slower cameras today and be able to store alot more pics at super high resolution (i would think thousands seeing as a 40 minute file from my DV video camera was ~500 megs that would be a lot of High quality JPEG or PNG images)

Replace Hard drives (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248422)

They're still a "little" expensive, but when you least expect they're be affordable. And 8GB is a lot of space. My root partition is 4 GB and my home partition is a lot bigger :-D but lot's of stuff could be saved on DVDs...
Main point is, quiet computers are the new trend, and quiter than this is impossible. So, when do you think this will replace hard drives?

One day... (4, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248443)

In the future, compact flash cards will be so large and so expensive that only the richest people in the world will have one. $5,000 - 8GB compact flash card $80 - 160GB Western Digital 7200RPM at Best Buy (wait for a sale) Unless there's a $4900 mail in rebate on the compact flash card, then no way.

The Quote is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248530)

...but I predict that within 100 years, computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them.

But nice call, nonetheless.

Re:One day... (1)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248678)

The thing is though, that a whole lot more devices can conceivably contain compact flash cards, than can contain hard disks. I'm sure there are more hard disks than flash cards sold so far, so HD technology is currently well ahead of flash on it's S curve, but flash cards are only going to get bigger (and smaller ;) and cheaper and faster. Given the number of devices that will get sold, there will be no shortage of cash to invest in accelerating that trend.

It's entirely possible that compact flash or similar technology will pass out HD in terms of price per GB performance, since a HD has moving parts, and is therefore subject to mechanical limits that don't affect flash. Admittedly it still has some way to go, but here's hoping!

Re:One day... [a litle OT] (0)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248838)

I realize all that. Personally, I use compact flash/usb keychain drives fairly frequently. In the long term, there are certainly advantages. It also reminds me of a story I heard yesterday. A co-worker has a lot of repetitive stress injuries to his hands. He bought a $3000 laser-guided mouse pointer a few years back, when they were brand new. It was awful. Didn't work well, was expensive, bulky, etc. He returned it for a full refund (30 day trial period). Now, they sell far superior versions of those for about $100.

It needs to be said... (3, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248447)

That's a whole lot of porn on one card! Worth every penny.

Re:It needs to be said... (2, Funny)

Joel Carr (693662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248569)

If that's the sort of stuff you're after, you'd be better off using some of that $5,999 to get yourself the real thing!

---

8gig CF cards!?!?!! (-1, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248458)

All I can say is *drool*

Seriously, this is huge! Must suck to be Apple right now though, considering they just released the mini iPods which are based on tech that is already looking rather inferior. Who knows, maybe Apple will release a "mini iPod mini" they could call it the mini-squared (damn no superscript)....
Regardless, my Digital Rebel [canoneos.com] is about to interface with bliss!

Re:8gig CF cards!?!?!! (1)

davidhan (539718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248542)

mini-squared? how about "iPod micro?" Apple isn't going 'doh!' over these just yet. By the time sales of the iPod mini start dropping off, those 8gb cards will be cheap enough for Apple to use them.

Re:8gig CF cards!?!?!! (1)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248749)

Given the overpriced iPod is selling successfully, why not just plug one of these babies into it? Then all the kids who have no concept of value can spend even more of their parents' money. I'm still using a portable casette player which cost $7. Works fine.

Re:8gig CF cards!?!?!! (3, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248775)

Must suck to be Apple right now though, considering they just released the mini iPods which are based on tech that is already looking rather inferior.

Have you compared the prices? The mini-iPod is aomething like $199, this is $5,999. Disk is likely to beat silicon in $/mByte for a very long time. Where CF beats disk is access time. And streaming players don't need good access time: once they are on track, they have better performance than CF.

In a dedicated device, this kind of capacity is going to be cheaper in disk. This wins where you need interchangeability (nobody had a good CF format hard disk drive, as far as I know), or ruggedness, or low power, or ultra-low noise. Specialist markets all.

Re:8gig CF cards!?!?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248823)

> nobody had a good CF format hard disk drive, as far as I know

What about the IBM/Hitachi Microdrive?

Re:8gig CF cards!?!?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248855)

Yeah. Only $10.000 a piece!
All songs from iTunes downloadable for free.

You know... (4, Insightful)

MoeMoe (659154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248497)

You know the computers you work with are pretty damn old when you see a Flash Card that's larger than your hard drive (can't make this stuff up people, Maxtor 6.2 GB HDD)...

How long until we see the obligatory "Yea, but how much pr0n can it fit" posts?

Re:You know... (1, Funny)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248515)

Yea, but how much pr0n can it fit?

Re:You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248555)

3 minutes, 22 seconds... That's gotta be some kinda record...

Re:You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248575)

Ummm actually, it was 2 minutes if you look at the post times where the subject is...

Re:You know... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248752)

3 minutes and 22 seconds of porn? What if I used MPEG-2?

Re:You know... (0)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248571)

A beowulf ... Natalie ...

Not enough.

Budget and performance requirements? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248499)

Of insane people?

4GB Hitachi for around $200 in mp3 players (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248516)

here is a post on fatwallet about removing it, to use in other devices. since it retails for around $500 this can be a good deal.

post [fatwallet.com]

Finally, a flash card big enough... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248522)

...to cache a couple of pages of Slashdot's HTML.

When will it all be solid state? (5, Insightful)

OriginalSpaceMan (695146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248553)

I'm waiting for the day that my PC doesn't have a hard drive, CDROM drive, or anything else mechanical in it. If 8GB can be put on a CF card, being about 1" x 1" x .25", when is more development going to be put into replacing my 60GB hard drive with something the same size (3.5 inch standard HDD size) that uses eprom or something similar? I don't care about smaller and smaller and smaller sizes of hardware, I care about not having to deal with the motoro of my hard drive dying in 4 or less years.

Only uses for this - (5, Insightful)

i-Chaos (179440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248554)

The only uses for an 8GB flash card that I can think of is digital video shoots. I'm guessing that read/write time will be about the same as current CF cards, so it's not going to be steller (not enough on an 8GB media), so you'll want to stream to it slowly. I mean, a photographer wouldn't have a reason to tote around 8GB worth of pictures, because he can always get to a terminal where he can sync pictures over an internet account. I mean, for $6000, I think he has no choice...

And in regards to using this for video, why would you? There are DVD-based DV Cams out there that will write to 4.7GB discs that cost $1.5 each, so why bother spending 6 grand on something that can be done for $3? Plus, DVDs can be read almost anywhere these days, whereas you need to carry a special reader for CF.

What I really want to see is an 8GB thumbdrive for CHEAP!

Re:Only uses for this - (1)

iamthemoog (410374) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248671)

I'm guessing that read/write time will be about the same as current CF cards, so it's not going to be steller...

As long as it's quicker than sreaming to hard disk over firewire from a dv camera, I'd be happy. This is the slowest part of the video process for me - waiting for the footage to stream off the tape in real time...

Does anyone know if that's the case?

Re:Only uses for this - (1)

Mosasaurus_Maximus (648830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248757)

With the mini drives you have the battery drain, mechanical noise (that quiet "whirr" you hear on home movies) and stability (if the camera gets hit hard you'll likely smash the drive, making the camera worthless). I'm curious, though... I wouldn't want one 8G card, I'd want perhaps four 2G cards RAIDed togethere. Bandwidth problems sovled, and the price of 4 2Gs is noticably less than one 8G.

Re:Only uses for this - (2, Interesting)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248865)

Canon's EOS-1Ds has 12Mpixels: if you save an uncompressed image that's about 36MB per shot. Thus an 8GB flash card would provide space for 222 photos. That's not unreasonable for an expedition to the Khumbu or somewhere equally remote, where there might not be the possibility of transferring images to a computer. Of course, I'd still rather have 8 1GB cards (stored separately around my bags) just to minimise losses in case one got stolen.

Hard drives makers should take note... (5, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248573)

Seems to me that Seagate, WD, Maxtor et al should be paying close attention (and perhaps they are).

With Flash getting more and more mainstream, and with the now high volumes being made available, hard drives are becoming less and less necessary for commodity products such as desktops and notebooks. The latter especially will make the switch from HDs to Flash, to lighten up the power and physical load.

If Flash sees overall performance and shelf-life improvements rivaling HDs (more so than what it does already), HDs may well be relegated to a place in history/tech museums... right next to the analog cameras.

Re:Hard drives makers should take note... (2, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248754)

With Flash getting more and more mainstream, and with the now high volumes being made available, hard drives are becoming less and less necessary for commodity products such as desktops and notebooks. The latter especially will make the switch from HDs to Flash, to lighten up the power and physical load.

I get the impression that Hard Drive manufacturers are heading towards making their drives smaller, lighter and with less power drain (for portable devices, eg. new iPod) than they will making them have a greater capacity.

A tiny compact flash sized HD with very low power drain and good price point would be excellent. Something like the IBM Microdrive - but one that won't drain your PDA batteries after 30 minutes.

Although bear in mind I know as much about Hard Drive technology as I do Russian Line Dancing.

$6000 (3, Funny)

dcordeiro (703625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248581)

with $6000 you buy:
- 20 x 160GB harddrives
- a bunch of 80GB notebook hardrives

4GB of data:
- 1 DVD
- 6 CDs

So why would someone wants (not even asking about *needs*) this!!!
The $$$ per GB is $1250... reality check anyone ?

Oh, I see, I can put one of this on my digital camera that I bought for $500, and could take 1 million photografs.. that's cool.

or does it have a Ferrari logo, and makes the sound of filling gas when plugged to your ferrari notebook ?

Yeeesh, take a chill pill people! (5, Insightful)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248587)

The first remarks i hear is "why would anyone buy a $5999 8GB memory card... ...when they could buy 2 4GB cards, 4 2GB cards, ad nauseam ...who could possibly use that much space ...That could store a lot of PORN and DVDs (mayhaps porn DVDs....im guilty here :P)"

But I digress, lets consider other technologies that we all thought we could never afford, and consequently never use. About 10-15 years ago, wouldn't our 256MB+ RAM and 30+ GB HDs run in the thousands or even millions for that stuff then. Give it time, and it will hopefully be cheap for all ;)

Re:Yeeesh, take a chill pill people! (0, Redundant)

dcordeiro (703625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248876)

you aren't quoting the right sentences:
"why would anyone buy a $5999 8GB memory card... ...when they could buy 2 4GB cards FOR 1 FRACTION OF THE PRICE AND WITHOUT ANY OTHER BENEFICT"

It's a good thing, but not for today. A $6000 "add-on" doesn't fit with a equipment that cost $1000 or less:

"Oh, I bought my new car for $1000 and spent $6000 buying a new wheel... it's so cool :P "

hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248594)

now who's up for a seriously expensive ipod? at a smaller form factor????

but seriously when will this be ready (price wise) for introduction in the portable music market.. this is what we need, very very very small things which can hold very very very large amounts of music :D
Tim

What is the failure rate like? (2, Insightful)

59Bassman (749855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248603)

HDD failure can be devastating if a company isn't properly prepared. Yeah, the backup early and often mantra needs to be followed, but at least three times in the past couple of years I've been asked to help get data off of a drive that hadn't been backed up in years and failed for one reason or another. RAID isn't a solution, as the proprietary OS on the tools won't support it. I've thought before that a CF-style drive would solve a bunch of problems, if the reliability was good. Especially if the reader can emulate a HDD from the OS's perspective.

Who's gonna buy it? (2, Insightful)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248627)

My current 3M pixel camera gets approx 160 pictures onto a 256Mb flash card; that's with minimal compression of the JPG files. Doing a bit of maths, that means approx 5000 pictures per 8Gb flash card - a bit much to be carrying around with me!

Looking at an extreme case: assume a pro photographer has a 12M pixel camera, and takes only TIFF files. That would get approx 750 pictures (I think; it's pretty late here!) on a 8Gb card. That's a hell of a lot of pictures to be carrying around with you, and a lot you're risking if the card dies or your camera gets stolen. I just can't believe that someone would need that capacity; surely they'd backup to some other, more sturdy media well before they got that quantity of pictures.

IIRC, high-quality digital video would produce data faster than these these cards can store it. DV would conceivably merit the capacity, but the media would be too slow.

Is there any other likely reasonably widespread use for these enormous flash cards? Something I've missed?

Re:Who's gonna buy it? (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248708)

Although this technology at the moment is prohibitively expensive, the real market sector for these things must be PDA's, MP3 players and when capacities get larger laptops also. Its going to be a hell of a lot easier to fill up a PDA or MP3 player with files than any digital camera.

Re:Who's gonna buy it? (1)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248889)

Only 250 pictures - remember, 3 bytes per pixel... Still a lot, but not unreasonable for a pro travel photographer on a long remote expedition.

great news all around (4, Insightful)

Monkey Overlord (746151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248642)

This great news. People should keep in mind that 1Gb cards used to cost this much, just a few years ago ... now you can get 1Gb cards for $200 bucks or less. Considering that new cameras can output huge files, extra storage is very welcome. 8Gb is a lot of JPEGS, but only about 1000 RAW files ... which is not a lot if you are a pro and shooting an event. My only complaint is probably with the write speeds ... these cards need to get faster.

embedded / military systems (4, Interesting)

Samuel Nitzberg (317670) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248655)

It could be a good item in high-cost systems with stringent weight / space / heat dissipation requirements, where there may not be many good solutions, regardless of cost.

Sam
http://www.iamsam.com

$5.99!! Sweets! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248699)

Only 6 bucks! Me wants it!!

0h.

Nevermind.

Imagine,,, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248701)

...running DVD Knoppix off these!

Boot from USB/Flashcard (5, Interesting)

MtlDty (711230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248716)

How feasible is it to make a 'boot from USB' option to a PC BIOS?

I know its not an option currently, but with all the advances in personal storage recently it would make sense for motherboard manufacturers to consider adding some kind of ASIC that allows the USB to be used as a boot device.

The next step is to move all device driver software from the operating system to a dedicated flash ROM embeded on the motherboard.

These two advancements would then enable people to carry around an entire OS on a flashcard/portable USB disk. You could simply slot in your flashcard and boot up your own OS (be it windows or linux) on any PC, at home/work/hotel. You dont need to carry a bulky laptop, all your data (and applications) can be on portable storage.

I imagine making the device driver software update a motherboard embeded flash chip is the most awkward part, but it makes much more sense to me to have the hardware drivers linked firmly to the hardware they drive (and not part of the OS as they are currently)

Just something I've been thinking about for years, but with all the recent advances recently I think its slowly becoming more possible?

Re:Boot from USB/Flashcard (2, Informative)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248800)

Boot from USB is available already- I purchased a USB flash drive a few months ago and it came with utilites to make it bootable.

Re:Boot from USB/Flashcard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248864)

How feasible is it to make a 'boot from USB' option to a PC BIOS?

Standard in modern BIOSes. Time to upgrade, grasshopper.

Re:Boot from USB/Flashcard (2, Interesting)

hymie3 (187934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248867)

I currently boot from a 64MB Lexar CF card I bought in 2000. I use it for disaster recovery and cleaning up viruses on family members computers. All of the new computers I'ved peeked into lately have a BIOS option that allows for USB booting.

Now if I could boot a PC from ~firewire~, *that* would be cool.

Re:Boot from USB/Flashcard (4, Informative)

mst76 (629405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248868)

> How feasible is it to make a 'boot from USB' option to a PC BIOS?
> I know its not an option currently, [...]

Actually, it's been in lots of PC BIOSes in for a few years now. The problem is that it is still not as reliable as floppy/hd/cdrom boot: some usb devices work, some don't. Also, there seem to be a number of different usb boot standards, usb-fdd, usb-zip, usb-cdrom, usb-hdd.

Re:Boot from USB/Flashcard (2, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248890)

What it said. You're not feigning ignorance are you? Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick [uni-karlsruhe.de] .

Memories... (1, Funny)

derphilipp (745164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248803)

With a capacity like this I can finally make photos with my digital camera of all things that are important in my life:
My computer, my really huge capacity memory...
Oh - just forget about that

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248877)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Battery Technology vs Storage Technology (2, Interesting)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248878)

We need improvements in battery technologies before these improvements in storage technologies will even help us.

CompactFlash is meant to be portable. I don't know of a portable battery on the market today that could allow a machine to fill up (or read all of) this 8GB memory card before the battery dies.

I replace/charge my batteries much more often than the memory card. How would this ever help me?

Other accessories (2, Informative)

Mazzaroth (519229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248884)

Instead of buying this kind of expenshuge flash card, I am considering Photo Memory Bank [smartdisk.com] from SmartDisk ($549 (40GB); $699 (80GB)) or a Belkin Media Reader for iPod [apple.com] (price $109) - since I already have the iPod.

However, this is still all eggs in one basket - you loose the thing, no pictures left. I guess the ultimate solution is to simply bring a portable with me for my photo expeditions and transfert my pictures on a daily basis on my computer and then either on CD-ROMS or on my web site.

Loosing pictures is not an option for me - these moments almost never come back.

Actual, factual information. (4, Informative)

Masque (20587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8248904)

The 2, 4 and 5 are type I, not type II. Here's the actual press release:

New 8 GB Card Utilizes Company's Patented IC Tower Stacking Technology

SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 9 PRNewswire-FirstCall -- SimpleTech, Inc. (Nasdaq: STEC), a designer, manufacturer and marketer of custom and open-standard memory solutions based on Flash memory and DRAM technologies, today announced the industry's highest capacity CompactFlash with an 8 GB Type II card using the Company's patented stacking technology. The Company also announced 2, 4 and 5 GB Type I cards and a significant increase to the write speed of its entire ProX line of CompactFlash cards. The products will be unveiled at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) trade show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from February 12-15, 2004. SimpleTech will exhibit in booth N-64.

"We combined the latest silicon with our patented IC Tower stacking technology and produced the highest density CompactFlash card available in the world," said Ken Roberts, director of product marketing at SimpleTech. "This card also uses a high speed controller with 10 MB/sec write speed -- the fastest on the market today."

SimpleTech's IC Tower(TM) stacking technology allows multiple NAND Flash components to be stacked together to provide increased memory and storage densities that provide enhanced capacity in its 5 mm Type II cards.

Delivering a breakthrough write speed of up to 10MB/second, SimpleTech's ProX CompactFlash cards enable images to be saved faster to the CompactFlash card and significantly reduces the wait time between digital photography shots.

ProX CompactFlash cards incorporate Xcell(TM) technology, with a new advanced controller that provides an exponential increase in throughput for writing the picture file, delivering fast, accurate recording of high-resolution images and outstanding reliability.

SimpleTech customers are offered a free trial of PhotoRescue software. Customers can download the photo recovery software onto their computer, and either insert the Flash card into a reader, or dock their camera, and view thumbnail images of their pictures. If one of the images on the card is corrupted, the rescue software allows the image to be recovered.

All SimpleTech CompactFlash cards come with a lifetime warranty backed by SimpleTech's reputation for quality and support.

Pricing and Availability

Manufacturers suggested retail pricing for ProX CompactFlash cards ranges from $89.99 to $5,999 to meet budget and performance requirements. Samples of the new ProX CompactFlash Type I cards in 2, 4 and 5 GB capacities and the 8 GB type II cards are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2004, with production anticipated during the second quarter of 2004.

Sports photographers (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8248905)

Sports photographers are the only people really for whom this is remotely useful. Toting an 8 megapixel camera which takes 8.5 frames per second [dpreview.com] they may just need the space, and they may be willing to pay not to have the card space run out at an inopportune moment. "Hey guys, could you do that touchdown again? My CF card ran out of space, I've got a new one in, now though and my magazine really wants this shot!" What I can't understand, though, is why it wouldn't be far more cost effective for the photographer to have a WiFi card in his camera and a WiFi enabled laptop or large storage device in his bag. Battery life? Is it really worth $6000 ?
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