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319 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 45501 3-Nov-2009 00:42

Hi all,


Wondering if anyone's replaced their laptop hdd with CF memory? My old laptop has a beautiful screen at 10.1" 1280x800, so I want to keep using it.


But the hdd is driving me nuts, it's one of those 1.8" HDD, which after years of abuse (probably due to damaged sectors) have steadily slowed down to a crawl, it's currently doing in the range of 2 to 10MB/s.


Hence the idea of using a CF-> IDE converter and a CF card.


However I come across some sites saying things like you need to make sure CF card is bootable, and I just don't see it in CF card's specification, plus unsure about whether the converter will impact on the speed..


Anyone's done it? What components did you buy? and how was the performance?


(I'm pretty sure anything will beat 2-10MB/s, but just in case..)

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2260 posts

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  # 269517 3-Nov-2009 08:45
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Hi,


You can do this :) the adapters are quite cheap off ebay just make sure it supports 266x+, but for the CF cards, make sure you get a speedy one. 133x should do it, but 266x would be an advantage.

Just bear in mind that with CF cards, you can only read/write to them so many times. what did you want to use the laptop for? you can put winXP embedded on it and limit the read/write cycles so it lasts longer.

performance will be a bit faster than a 2.5" 5400rpm HDD but not quite as fast as a 7200rpm 2.5" at least in my specced car PC.

I got all my info on how to set it up at mp3car.com, do a search for CF to IDE/SATA adapter and it'll bring up the guide :) feel free to add me too, my username is Skybarge on it, sometimes I'm on there




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 



319 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 269523 3-Nov-2009 09:14

Hey thanks vinnieg, I'm only using it as a netbook type of thing, just browsing and stuff.

The EWF thing from winxp embedded looks very good, I'll look into it! Sounds like it'd be real upgrade, as even my 486 back in the days had better I/O figures than this hdd right now :)

thanks for pointing the way :)

 
 
 
 


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  # 269524 3-Nov-2009 09:22
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That's the one, EWF :) yeah you can use your standard serial key from windows and get some of the WinXPe files put in, to make it work properly

Hope it goes well eh, should be a nice little browsing machine with the upgrade




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

Go Hawks!
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Ultimate Geek

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  # 269526 3-Nov-2009 09:26
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I've done a similar thing in a desktop computer, as I wanted to keep the noise right down. Installed linux on the CF card and then configured everything to use a ram disk as scratch space - worked really well for the application I was using it for.

I found that *reading* the CF Card was really fast, but writing to the CF card took absolutely forever.

I quick scan of pricespy shows some cards coming up as 350x - they may be worth a look.

Bootable CF cards - I didn't even read that when I was playing, just partitioned the CF Card and set the appropriate partition as bootable as per normal.

The only caveat I'd have for you is with the power - mine had a floppy disk power type connected that needed power for the thing to work, plus the version I had would not have fit inside a laptop...



319 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 269528 3-Nov-2009 09:44

wazzageek: I've done a similar thing in a desktop computer, as I wanted to keep the noise right down. Installed linux on the CF card and then configured everything to use a ram disk as scratch space - worked really well for the application I was using it for.

I found that *reading* the CF Card was really fast, but writing to the CF card took absolutely forever.

I quick scan of pricespy shows some cards coming up as 350x - they may be worth a look.

Bootable CF cards - I didn't even read that when I was playing, just partitioned the CF Card and set the appropriate partition as bootable as per normal.

The only caveat I'd have for you is with the power - mine had a floppy disk power type connected that needed power for the thing to work, plus the version I had would not have fit inside a laptop...



Thanks for the heads up, I wondered if that's the case when I saw this one with LED and everything think I better avoid it then..


I had some read and apparently SLC handles write better than MLC, time to do some memory card spec searching!

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 269530 3-Nov-2009 09:50
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I think that's exactly the one I had ... A very quick google showed up this:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10886

Disclaimer: This was the first link off google ... no idea how good this is (although I believe that website may have been discussed recently on the NZLUG mailing list)

Aside from the obvious price issues, have you thought about an SSD at all? May be less painful in the long run.



319 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 269538 3-Nov-2009 10:15

I actually found one looking pretty similar on trademe :)

SSD is already pretty expensive, 1.8" SSD I can only imagine with a smaller market will be extra expensive :p

Also the benefits of SSD doesn't appear to be that much better, seek time is of same magnitude, throughput may be better, but unlikely to justify the extra 3-400 bucks...

The laptop I'm going to put this on, is a japan import Vaio VGN-T90PS which is really quite old :P


 
 
 
 


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  # 269558 3-Nov-2009 11:30
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oh yeah, i didn't even think of that :S is it a ZIF based HDD?

If so you'll need something like this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Compact-Flash-CF-to-Toshiba-ZIF-CE-1-8-Adapter-for-iPod_W0QQitemZ250499058014QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a52e8495e#ht_3007wt_937

If it is ZIF, another option is maybe a new 20gb - 40gb 1.8" ZIF HDD? off Ebay as well




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 



319 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 269763 3-Nov-2009 20:45

vinnieg: oh yeah, i didn't even think of that :S is it a ZIF based HDD?

If so you'll need something like this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Compact-Flash-CF-to-Toshiba-ZIF-CE-1-8-Adapter-for-iPod_W0QQitemZ250499058014QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a52e8495e#ht_3007wt_937

If it is ZIF, another option is maybe a new 20gb - 40gb 1.8" ZIF HDD? off Ebay as well


Good point! After hitting random japanese websites, I've managed to find couple of photos before I take the thing apart..

Looks like it's IDE, 1.8" HDD usually comes in 4200rpm flavour, and the speed is really quite shocking. The cf's access seek time is totally attractive. On my other 15" laptop I have a 7200rpm 2.5" SATA drive it's a Hitachi TravelStar 7k200, it feels quite snappy, which is what motivated me to do this to achieve the low seek time :)

I think I'm pretty much all set now, just need to find the CF card now :D 300x 8GB should be sufficient..

Go Hawks!
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  # 269765 3-Nov-2009 20:49
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Nice ... don't forget to update us when it's done :-)



319 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 269769 3-Nov-2009 21:02

Definitely! Now the procrastination's over, time for studies :PPPPP

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Wannabe Geek


  # 273854 17-Nov-2009 13:31
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Hello All!

I am new on here and this topic caught my attention as I am currently attempting something similar.

I have recently acquired an HP t5700 thin client (running XPe) that I am using as an internet appliance/ media centre next to my TV.
My plan is to replace the 256mb internal flash with a compact flash of 4 to 8gb, I have the required 2.5 IDE cable, the CF to IDE adaptor, now all I need is the CF card itself...thats where the confusion starts.
I have tried to do my own research but I'm hearing conflicting opinions about using SLC or MLC type, certain brands that are bootable and that ID themselves as a fixed disk etc.
I narrowed it down to a Transcend 8gb 133x with a data transfer rate of 21.5, apparently these are ok to boot from and ID as a fixed disk, but have recently found out they are a multi level cell and may not be what I want.
So I'm sort of back to sqaure one.
What are your opinions?

Thanks.

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 273861 17-Nov-2009 13:45
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From what I understand, the difference between SLC + MLC is the technology used to create the chips themselves - SLC stores one bit per cell and MLC stores two (or more) bits per cell. (There's a write up about the differences in Decembers Issue of APC Magazine, also check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_cell)

The technology used to make MLC means that writes are slower than SLC, which will probably be the biggest concern. Of course, SLC technology is faster, which also means generally more expensive.

However, the statement that the unit ID's as a fixed disk should mean that you will be able to get up and running with it looking just like a hard drive to your unit.

Note that I have had issues with some CF cards in the past not being very reliable for data storage - I tend to purchase a brand name that I recognise and trust (Sandisk generally) - this is my personal experience mind you.

Cheers




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