What is the current situation with drive-bay multi-card readers(capacity) ?


P

PC Guy

Regarding those multi-card readers (SD, Compact Flash, etc) that slide
into a 3.5" drive bay, I know that the first generation of those
couldn't read SD cards larger than 2 or 4 gb.

I'm assuming that those are all off the market by now. (?)

What gets me is that in looking at what are being sold today, nobody
prints the specs in terms of what capacity they're capable of.

I'm looking at 64 gb to 256 gb SD flash for a high-end digital camera,
and I don't want to play any more games with getting a reader that can't
read these cards.

Any ideas about this situation?

Anyone with some hard facts?
 
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A

Andrew Smallshaw

Regarding those multi-card readers (SD, Compact Flash, etc) that slide
into a 3.5" drive bay, I know that the first generation of those
couldn't read SD cards larger than 2 or 4 gb.
I'm looking at 64 gb to 256 gb SD flash for a high-end digital camera,
and I don't want to play any more games with getting a reader that can't
read these cards.

You still need to be slightly careful, especially if you are one
of those that naturally buys the cheapest thing off Amazon or
whereever for odds and ends like this. SD has been through a few
IDE-style capacity bumps through its evolution. If something
advertises itself as SD you're only really guaranteed 2GB. SDHC
should be good for 32GB and SDXC for 2TB. Those description often
appear in even basic specs even if the exact capacities are not
listed. Even if not away from the bargain basement stuff manufacturer
names and model numbers are usually listed and further details are
only a Google away.
 
P

PC Guy

Andrew said:
If something advertises itself as SD you're only really guaranteed
2GB. SDHC should be good for 32GB and SDXC for 2TB. Those
descriptions often appear in even basic specs even if the exact
capacities are not listed. Even if not away from the bargain
basement stuff manufacturer names and model numbers are usually
listed and further details are only a Google away.

So here's an example:

http://www.ultraproducts.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4558957&Sku=U12-40529

Ultra U12-40529 Aluminus 3.5" Internal Card Reader with USB and eSATA -
3 Port USB 2.0, 1 Port USB 3.0, 1 Port eSATA, 6 Slot Card Reader

I can apparently buy that for $35 at a local TigerDirect outlet store.
But can't get any real info on SD compatibility.

Ultra no longer makes this item:

http://www.ultraproducts.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8210281

ULTRA 3.5" Internal Media Card Reader & Writer - 5 Slots, SDHC / USB,
Black/Grey (U12-42951)

But TigerDirect sells it for $12. It shows this compatiblity:

MS/CF/MD/SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/XD/MICRO SD

But in the specs it shows only this:

SDHC

This looks interesting:

Sabrent CRW-FLP2 Floppy Drive w/USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader & Writer
(SDHC & Vista ready)

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4115642&CatId=630

But again lists SDHC.

SDHC is rated up to 32 gb. Beyond that is SDXC (up to 2 TB).

So I guess what I'm looking for is an internal bay-mounted card reader
that is SDXC capable - and has a USB-2 interface connection to the
motherboard.

Maybe this one?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820130013

StarTech 35FCREADBK3 USB 2.0 Supports CompactFlash type I/II,
SD/miniSD/microSD/SDHC/SDXC,
MMC/RS-MMC/HS-MMC/MMCmobile/MMCplus/MMCmicro/HC-MMC, MemoryStick, and xD
Picture card. 22-in-1 Card Reader
 
P

Paul

PC said:
So here's an example:

http://www.ultraproducts.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4558957&Sku=U12-40529

Ultra U12-40529 Aluminus 3.5" Internal Card Reader with USB and eSATA -
3 Port USB 2.0, 1 Port USB 3.0, 1 Port eSATA, 6 Slot Card Reader

I can apparently buy that for $35 at a local TigerDirect outlet store.
But can't get any real info on SD compatibility.

Ultra no longer makes this item:

http://www.ultraproducts.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8210281

ULTRA 3.5" Internal Media Card Reader & Writer - 5 Slots, SDHC / USB,
Black/Grey (U12-42951)

But TigerDirect sells it for $12. It shows this compatiblity:

MS/CF/MD/SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/XD/MICRO SD

But in the specs it shows only this:

SDHC

This looks interesting:

Sabrent CRW-FLP2 Floppy Drive w/USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader & Writer
(SDHC & Vista ready)

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4115642&CatId=630

But again lists SDHC.

SDHC is rated up to 32 gb. Beyond that is SDXC (up to 2 TB).

So I guess what I'm looking for is an internal bay-mounted card reader
that is SDXC capable - and has a USB-2 interface connection to the
motherboard.

Maybe this one?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820130013

StarTech 35FCREADBK3 USB 2.0 Supports CompactFlash type I/II,
SD/miniSD/microSD/SDHC/SDXC,
MMC/RS-MMC/HS-MMC/MMCmobile/MMCplus/MMCmicro/HC-MMC, MemoryStick, and xD
Picture card. 22-in-1 Card Reader

I can give you my selection algorithm.

You're going for SD, so SD is a must have. A 52-in-1 reader is not
an absolute necessity.

First, I hit up Wikipedia, to get the latest defined specs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_digital

I scroll down, and notice UHS-I and UHS-II. Of which, the second standard
has yet to appear.

I notice that Card Readers have USB2 and USB3 interfaces. Selecting
USB3 selects for more recent designs (always being careful to
check for transfer rate reports above 35MB/sec, as proof there
is an actual USB3 chip present).

I go to Newegg and enter "card reader" as a search term, which
brings back hundreds of hits. Then, I type in "USB3" as a search
term, then "UHS" as a search term.

Then, look for something with proper specs.

I can get something for $7.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820208939

Even if the computer has only USB2 ports on it, you can still
use the USB3 adapter. Of the nine pins on the USB3, only four
pins touch when plugged into a USB2 port. The device "throttles"
to the max rate that the USB2 packets can transfer the data
(around 35MB/sec or so).

The reviews for that $7 one, covered up to 128GB. The person
who tested 128GB, noted it was formatted exFAT as received.
And he installed the exFAT patch into WinXP (I did that too).

As for speed, someone tested with something relatively fast,
and got 77MB/sec. That offers indirect proof it really
uses a USB3 chip.

Several reviewer note the adapter gets warm, which is... not good.
Maybe it's got a processor inside the chip or something, as otherwise
50 to 100 mW should handle the high speed I/O.

So my selection algorithm is:

1) Go with the fastest specs on either end of the adapter.
USB3 and UHS.
2) Use the customer reviews to vet the device. The sample
device for $7 does 128GB and 77MB/sec. Stuff without
reviews, then you'd visit the manufacturer site. And
many of those manufacturers offer nothing for specs.

So let's try an "expensive one" at $21. I picked this
because it had 70 reviews, so we can get some specs.
Kingston FCR-HS3.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA52Z1JK1606

For the Kingston, we know it's using an internal processor,
because you can get a firmware update for it.

http://www.kingston.com/us/support/...oduct=fcr-hs3&filename=FCR-HS3_Firmware_v0131

The Kingston also comes with a datasheet, which is why I
selected it. (I would have selected Startech brand, if
there was one, because they sometimes report the actual
chip used in a product, making it easier to track down
real specifications.)

http://www.kingston.com/datasheets/fcr-hs3_us.pdf

They give no capacity information.

Secure Digital
- SD
- SDHC
- SDHC UHS-I
- SDXC
- SDXC UHS-I

So then I have to go back to the Newegg reviews for proof.

"75MB/sec

randomly drop from the file explorer...
try a new cable, and everything started working

not UDMA7 (for CF)
"

The general flavor from the other reviews, is these
new adapters can have significant differences between
read and write. Perhaps more of a difference than
can be accounted for in the flash chips themselves.

I have a Transcend USB2 adapter for SD, and given the
constraints of USB2, haven't been disappointed. But
only tested with a 32GB SD, formatted FAT32 and not
exFAT.

And when there are only a small pool of products
of this type, there might not be that many underlying
USB3 chips used in the designs. If there was a
wider selection of chips, there would be hundreds of
these things. The selection terms only uncovered
26 products.

Paul
 
J

John Weiss

PC said:
I'm looking at 64 gb to 256 gb SD flash for a high-end digital camera,
and I don't want to play any more games with getting a reader that
can't read these cards.

Any ideas about this situation?

Anyone with some hard facts?

Just look for "SDHC" (32 GB) and "SDXC" (to 2 TB) in the specs.

Big difference may be the ability to read the exFAT file format on the
SDXC cards.

While you're at it, make sure it's USB3, not USB2...

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-sdhc-and-vs-sdxc/
 
T

ting

Regarding those multi-card readers (SD, Compact Flash, etc)

All you really care about these days is SD, micro SD, and Compact Flash. And as long as you have a micro SD to SD converter, you don't even need that one.

Just make sure you get a USB3 version, with good reviews, and you'll be all set.
 
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L

Loren Pechtel

Regarding those multi-card readers (SD, Compact Flash, etc) that slide
into a 3.5" drive bay, I know that the first generation of those
couldn't read SD cards larger than 2 or 4 gb.

I'm assuming that those are all off the market by now. (?)

What gets me is that in looking at what are being sold today, nobody
prints the specs in terms of what capacity they're capable of.

I'm looking at 64 gb to 256 gb SD flash for a high-end digital camera,
and I don't want to play any more games with getting a reader that can't
read these cards.

Any ideas about this situation?

Anyone with some hard facts?

The only thing in this regard I have noticed is a matter of the
acceptable formats.

I have an old one that reads SD fine but won't deal with my SDHC
cards. Somewhere around here there's one that can do SD and SDHC but
not SDXC--but neither can my DSLR. Just because the cards look the
same doesn't mean the old hardware can read the new versions.
 
P

PC Guy

So I'm noticing that people here are giving generic advice about looking
for USB-3 interface - without even considering at all if my PC even has
USB-3 ports. Which it doesn't.

Most of my PC's have 2.5 to 2.8 ghz P4 CPU's on i865 motherboards with 1
or 2 gb ram - running Windows 98 with kernelEx API enhancement.

So I picked this up at a local computer parts store:

http://www.ultraproducts.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8210281

ULTRA 3.5" Internal Media Card Reader & Writer - 5 Slots, SDHC / USB,
Black/Grey (U12-42951)

Ultra says it's a discontinued product, but I picked it up locally for
$12. I plugged it into a motherboard USB port and my win-98 system
detected it and loaded the drivers - I wasn't asked to supply or locate
any files.

I plugged in a few low-capacity SD cards (2 and 4 gb) to make sure it
works, and then I plugged in an ADATA Premier Pro 64 GB SDXC card. And
yes - my win-98 system was able to see it just fine. Drive properties
says 64,592,150,528 bytes, FAT32 file system.

http://content.hwigroup.net/images/news/A-Data_SDXC_U1-001.jpg

I copied a 1.8 gb mkv movie to it from one of my SATA drives. It took
just under 3 minutes, which worked out to 10.8 mb/sec. The ADATA package
says this SD card is rated for 95 mb/sec read and 45 mb/sec write. I
played the movie from the SD card (using VLC) just to make sure the copy
was ok, and it played very well.

So here we see that SDXC memory cards and card readers are fully
compatible with win-98. I'm going back to buy a few more of those
readers for all my other win-98 systems.

The wikipedia entry for SDXC says:

"SDXC adopts Microsoft's exFAT file system as a mandatory feature."

Which I think I've just proven to be bullshit, as I've discovered my
first (and so far only) SDXC card to have come from the factory
formatted as FAT32.

I've also plugged the ADATA SD card into an HP netbook running Windoze-7
and under properties it also reports the file system as FAT32.

Can anyone confirm that win-7 will report a volume that has been
formatted as exFAT as exFAT and not FAT32?

Also - I've been reading all over the net of SDXC cards being formatted
(or re-formatted) as FAT32 to solve all sorts of compatibility issues
with phones and tablets, so my guess is that to avoid these issues
some/many/most SDXC cards are sold preformatted as FAT32.

The only real issue with FAT32 is the file-size limitation of 4 gb,
which is probably only very rarely encountered in most use-case
situations.
 
P

Paul

PC said:
So I'm noticing that people here are giving generic advice about looking
for USB-3 interface - without even considering at all if my PC even has
USB-3 ports. Which it doesn't.

You're forgetting that we're selecting for the *most modern*
chips to read the SD cards.

USB3 is backward compatible with USB2. Plugging a USB3 purchase
into your USB2 system, the only consequence of that is a cap
of ~35MB/sec transfer rate. Even if you use a UHS SD capable
of 70MB/sec or higher, it will still transfer at 35MB/sec
over USB2.

You can select for USB3, knowing that the USB connector with
that plugs into the back of the computer, will also plug
into USB2, and work properly with it.

By using an externally enclosed device (USB-key-format-reader
or USB-box-type-reader), the idea is to avoid any
"motherboard header" entanglements. If you go with
internal devices, mixing a 2x10 style USB3 internal header with a
2x5 motherboard, would create an adapter hassle. If
attempting to get a "tray" solution for the reader,
more thought has to go into the connections required.

If you go with external devices, you already have nice USB2
ports sitting there, waiting for your new USB3 purchase.
The first time I purchased a USB3 product, I too was concerned
about compatibility with my USB2 ports, but I needn't have been
so worried about it. It worked.

This is one reason I use a USB-key-format-reader for the SD
card from my camera. No worries about a cabling nightmare
inside the computer. And the solution is portable when
I take camera and adapter to foreign places.

Paul
 
J

John Weiss

Paul said:
USB3 is backward compatible with USB2. Plugging a USB3 purchase
into your USB2 system, the only consequence of that is a cap
of ~35MB/sec transfer rate. Even if you use a UHS SD capable
of 70MB/sec or higher, it will still transfer at 35MB/sec
over USB2.

You can select for USB3, knowing that the USB connector with
that plugs into the back of the computer, will also plug
into USB2, and work properly with it.

By using an externally enclosed device (USB-key-format-reader
or USB-box-type-reader), the idea is to avoid any
"motherboard header" entanglements. If you go with
internal devices, mixing a 2x10 style USB3 internal header with a
2x5 motherboard, would create an adapter hassle. If
attempting to get a "tray" solution for the reader,
more thought has to go into the connections required.

PCIe USB3 cards are cheap also, and can be had with internal headers,
external ports, or a combination.
 
P

PC Guy

Paul said:
You're forgetting that we're selecting for the *most modern*
chips to read the SD cards.

Not sure what you mean by that.
USB3 is backward compatible with USB2. Plugging a USB3 purchase
into your USB2 system, the only consequence of that is a cap
of ~35MB/sec transfer rate.

I'm looking for an internal drive-bay mounted card reader that connects
directly to the USB-2 header on my motherboard.
You can select for USB3, knowing that the USB connector with
that plugs into the back of the computer, will also plug
into USB2, and work properly with it.

By using an externally enclosed device (USB-key-format-reader
or USB-box-type-reader), the idea is to avoid any "motherboard
header" entanglements.

Well, you've obviously completely mis-understood the point of my
thread. Did you notice that the subject-line says "drive-bay multi-card
reader" ?
If you go with internal devices, mixing a 2x10 style USB3 internal
header with a 2x5 motherboard, would create an adapter hassle.

Yes, which is why I was not even considering USB-3 at all, but for some
reason you and a bunch of other people immediately jumped all over that.
 
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P

PC Guy

John said:
PCIe USB3 cards are cheap also, and can be had with internal headers,
external ports, or a combination.

Again, you are assuming my motherboard has a PCIe slot - which it
doesn't.

There is only 1 USB-3 card that I've seen that plugs into an ordinary
PCI slot, and it costs $65 (which is absurd).
 
P

Paul

PC said:
Not sure what you mean by that.


I'm looking for an internal drive-bay mounted card reader that connects
directly to the USB-2 header on my motherboard.


Well, you've obviously completely mis-understood the point of my
thread. Did you notice that the subject-line says "drive-bay multi-card
reader" ?


Yes, which is why I was not even considering USB-3 at all, but for some
reason you and a bunch of other people immediately jumped all over that.

We're done,

Paul
 
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J

John Weiss

PC said:
Again, you are assuming my motherboard has a PCIe slot - which it
doesn't.

There is only 1 USB-3 card that I've seen that plugs into an ordinary
PCI slot, and it costs $65 (which is absurd).

If you want to continue to use obsolete computers, and try to fit
modern peripherals to them, then have at it. Just have the courtesy to
post the details up front, so we don't waste our time doing your
research for you, only to be told 'it won't work'...
 

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