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NickK
08-05-2004, 11:54 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=50519&item=3830932025&rd=1

These 4gb hitachi microdrives are being pulled out of Muvo2 Mp3 players and have been selling on ebay for about 150-180 dollars (alternatively you can buy a new player and remove drive yourself for 200, and put whatever old compactflash card you have in the mp3 player to use).

Is microdrive performance comparable to the lower speed 1gb compactflash cards around this price point? Is this 4gb drive cheap enough now to make it desireable enough to outweigh its increased use of power over compactflash?

Feel free to move to memory, but I thought the unconventional means of obtaining the drive made it suitable enough for general discussion.

D70FAN
08-05-2004, 04:09 PM
This is a good discussion point, but it's not just the price point and power drain that present risk.

Most pros don't use Microdrives due to speed, power consumption, reliability questions, and to some degree, the theory of distributed liability.

The idea behind distributed liability is similar to "don't put all of your eggs in one basket". It is the reason that I carry 3 or 4 - 256MB memory cards instead of 2-512's or 1-1GB card. If I loose one card worth of pictures (for any reason) I haven't lost all of my shots from a trip or vacation. I get about 50-90 shots on a 256MB card, so worse case I will loose 90 pictures out of 360, assuming I use all of the cards (and I do...frequently).

On the question of reliability: Several people on this board have had Microdrives fail in the past. Whether this problem continues is hard to say, since very few people still use Microdrives in their cameras, because of power consumption AND a little (healthy) paranoia. Kind-of a chicken-and-egg situation.

We would all love it if Microdrives were as reliable, low powered, and fast, as CF, but accidently drop that Microdrive and it may all be over. Drop that CF card and it's not a problem (most water drops excluded).

That's it in a nutshell.

Jake Conner
08-11-2004, 06:16 PM
I've heard of fewer problems with the new Hitachi microdrives than with the old IBM ones... maybe Hitachi got something right that IBM never quite figured out. And I've used the hell out of my supposedly unreliable first generation 340MB IBM, and I've never had a problem. Put in my dad's 256MB Shikaflash card, and I get a write error maybe every 75 shots. And the power difference is 10 shots per set of batteries AT THE MOST. Don't get me wrong, I still think brand-name solid-state CF is the way to go if you can afford it, but at $180 for four gigs, I'd go with the microdrive. If it works, great, if it fails, darn, and if it fails full of pictures you can get it recovered (unlike with CF, once a chip is fried it's fried). Yeah, you'll spend some money getting it recovered, but the total will still be under $500, and I'll bet that while you're using your microdrive the price of a 4 gig CF will drop by about that much.

Jake

PS: I'm talking about recovering from a hardware problem, I know you can use PhotoRescue on software problems with either media.

Rhys
08-12-2004, 04:33 AM
at $180 for four gigs, I'd go with the microdrive. If it works, great, if it fails, darn, and if it fails full of pictures you can get it recovered (unlike with CF, once a chip is fried it's fried). Yeah, you'll spend some money getting it recovered, but the total will still be under $500

From the horses mouth...

When data is recovered from a defunct disk unit, the actual disk is removed from the drive and placed into an identical but functioning drive. This allows the data to be accessed normally. The drives must be identical and is why second-hand disk drives sell so well - mostly it's data-recovery companies that buy them.

D70FAN
08-12-2004, 11:47 AM
I've heard of fewer problems with the new Hitachi microdrives than with the old IBM ones... maybe Hitachi got something right that IBM never quite figured out. And I've used the hell out of my supposedly unreliable first generation 340MB IBM, and I've never had a problem. Put in my dad's 256MB Shikaflash card, and I get a write error maybe every 75 shots. And the power difference is 10 shots per set of batteries AT THE MOST. Don't get me wrong, I still think brand-name solid-state CF is the way to go if you can afford it, but at $180 for four gigs, I'd go with the microdrive. If it works, great, if it fails, darn, and if it fails full of pictures you can get it recovered (unlike with CF, once a chip is fried it's fried). Yeah, you'll spend some money getting it recovered, but the total will still be under $500, and I'll bet that while you're using your microdrive the price of a 4 gig CF will drop by about that much.

Jake

PS: I'm talking about recovering from a hardware problem, I know you can use PhotoRescue on software problems with either media.

As I have stated before, I'm a believer in "distributed risk". Having 4 Megs in my camera would mean almost 900 pictures at risk at any given time, and that's using RAW+JPG=6MB per frame. With most cameras you are talking at least 2000 pictures.

It may sound good for vacation trips where you can easily shoot 900 (or even 2000) pictures in a week (or in my case a few days), but what happens if you get to 800 and the drive fails? Add $500 to the cost of that vacation, assuming its not a head-crash.

With 256MB CF cards I get about 50 shots (90 in fine JPEG). At $20 (after rebate) per 256MB card, I can get 1GB for about $80 and have it distributed in 4 cards. There is still risk, but now it is distributed. I have had one (name brand) CF card fail, so I take nothing for granted.

If I loose 50 pictures chances are they are pictures taken in the last hour, so in many cases I can go back and retake them. If I have 900 (or even 400) and I'm on the plane home...

That's my nickles worth (2 cents with inflation).

JohnBrowning
08-13-2004, 10:35 PM
So what CF cards do you recommend?

Nick
08-14-2004, 07:52 AM
Sandisk Extreme/Ultra II, either a few of the 256MB cards, or a number of 512's.