Seagate 4.0 GB CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive - First Impressions


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yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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Cons digger.
#1
Managed to get hold of a Seagate 4GB Photo Hard Drive and did a mini-experiment as follows:

Objective:
Test the speed of this card against a popular brand of simliar price.

Equipement:
1.6Ghz Centrino Laptop on Win XP Pro
USB2.0 Hi SPeed All-in-one reader from Agilent Technologies.
4GB Photo Harddisk (~$200)
1GB Sandisk Ultra II (~$190)

Test rules:
Copy a folder of 107 files (all jpegs) worth 268MB.
Timer start at the same time mouse button is released.
Timer stopped when the 'copying' folder disappears.
System restarted before commencement of each test.

Here are the results.
2GB Sandisk Ultra II
Write: 1min 54sec
Read: 1min 02sec

4gb Seagate PhotoHarddisk
Write: 2 min 10 sec
Read: 1 min 14sec

Difference:
Write: 14 Seconds
Read: 12 Seconds

Conclusion:
There didn't seem to be a very big difference in transfer speeds. I would say the photo harddisk is quite fast :D Comparing the cost of $/GB I think the seagate Photo harddisk is a good value-for-money storage supplement to the normal CF cards.

Other comments, it takes the Photo Hard Drive <1sec to start up in a sleeping.
When the review(playback) button is pressed when the camera goes to standby, there is a little noticeable delay (<1sec) before photo pops up on display.
However, when camera is pre-focussed, and camera is allowed to go into standby and shutter button is depressed fully, the image is captured immediately with no noticeable lag compared with solid state CFs.

If review is pressed while camera isn't in standby, image pops up immediately. Browsing images on camera did not show any lag with images popping up almost instantly. IMO, slightly faster than the Ultra II but there's no way I could time something in milliseconds to show this.

Thanks for reading.


*Disclaimer:
- I'm not affiliated with Seagate nor Sandisk.
- This is an unofficial test and was not intended to be a benchmark.
- If you have any unrelated comments about the test (eg: the colour of the products looks ugly, it weighs 20g more than my other CF, it isn't water proof, it doesn't make coffee etc.. I would appreciate if you post it in kopitiam
- Thanks
 

maxim

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Sep 5, 2003
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#3
what camera did you use for this test ??
 

yanyewkay

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2004
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Cons digger.
#4
maxim said:
what camera did you use for this test ??
Nikon D70. If i have the chance to use a 20D or 1D2, with the dial i can scroll faster and tell the difference..
Shooting done in jpeg Large Fine
 

lightning

Senior Member
Sep 2, 2004
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Punggol
victor.shutterbug.sg
#5
Humm... interesting result. I had a 8gb photodrive from seagate as well, but I do feel that it is slightly slower when I want to review. Especially when I shoot in RAW mode. with a 6.3mp camera(EOS 10D).

Anyone done any test on it. Another cons is that I feel that the Photodrive do get warm after some usage, especially I shoot in continous mode of 9 frames for 4 - 5 times at one go, with 10 sec pause for data to transfer from buffer to card.
 

Wai

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Jan 17, 2002
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#7
price vs performance is one thing...

but reliability is another....which is the reason why i will never get microdrive or photo hard drive

battery life will be another concern for portable devices too.
 

espn

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Dec 20, 2002
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Planet Nikon
#8
Try this test.

Drop the sandisk/lexar/segate from about 2m higher. Let me know the results :D
 

AMD1600

New Member
Jun 8, 2004
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#9
well batt life is kinda ok to me on a 4Gb photodrive .. I've taken 1063 shots at the AA show... ard 40 of them using RAW many others using continoues shooting Large fine jpeg format.. some more i'm using 3rd party "DIGITAL" brand batt on my 20D still on going... it drops 1 bar...I don't know how many shots it can take before it totally drains off my batts...In conclusion, I'm happy with the performace with it
 

Newman

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Mar 2, 2003
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TBC
#10
Microdrives will never be as fast as solid state memory cards. Further I think the test would be more realistic if you copy 2GB of files instead. Then the difference would be more significant. Microdrives will give you a perceived higher value but reliability would be an even greater value.
 

Newman

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Mar 2, 2003
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TBC
#11
espn said:
Try this test.

Drop the sandisk/lexar/segate from about 2m higher. Let me know the results :D
The seagate one would bounce back into your hands.:bsmilie:
 

burmesterhifi

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Nov 16, 2005
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#12
people people, pls dun be so ignorant. A microdrive will not spoil if you drop it 2 metre. Even if you drop your normal hard disk, it may not necessarily dies also.

All disks are design and rated to accept at least a few "Gs" of force. If the disk is not spinning, it can take a lot of abuse, but when it is spinning then it is different thing.

When does the microdrive spins? Answer: When the camera is operating.

Thats means for your microdrive to drop and spoil means you have to drop your camera. When you do drop your camera, do you think the $200 microdrive is significant compared to your $3000 "L" lens and your $2500 Canon 20D for example???

My buddy used to work for Seagate. His job? Knock hard disk and test them again and again.



Further reading on the Seagate drives; from www.seagate.com:

Reliability under high-vibration conditions. People often strap an MP3 player onto their hip or arm during running or other
physical activities. The resulting motion can introduce harmonic frequencies into the drive, which may cause the read heads to go off
track. This can result in the music skipping or even stopping completely, depending on the amount of buffer space in the system.
ST1 drives differ from other HDDs because they were designed to account for the harmonic distortion caused by high-vibration
movements. The drive incorporates Seagate RunOn technology, which enables the drive to detect when these unwanted harmonic
frequencies occur and automatically compensate by keeping the read heads on track. Consequently, the RunOn technology can
increase the reliability&#8212;and customer satisfaction&#8212;of an OEM&#8217;s handheld consumer electronics device.
Protection against shocks from mishandling. When many HDD-based devices are dropped, the read/write heads remain over the
media. These hard drops create a shock that can cause the heads to slap against the media so that pieces of the head are scattered
in the drive and a microscopic dent is left in the media.

Knowing that drops happen, Seagate built the ST1 Series with G-Force Protection, which protects the drive against shock by moving the
heads off the media when the device is powered off. Thus, during a drop, no parts make contact with each other inside the drive. G-Force
Protection makes any handheld device using ST1 drives more robust and more reliable as well.



espn said:
Try this test.

Drop the sandisk/lexar/segate from about 2m higher. Let me know the results :D
 

blimmer

New Member
Apr 1, 2005
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#13
burmesterhifi said:
people people, pls dun be so ignorant. A microdrive will not spoil if you drop it 2 metre. Even if you drop your normal hard disk, it may not necessarily dies also.

All disks are design and rated to accept at least a few "Gs" of force. If the disk is not spinning, it can take a lot of abuse, but when it is spinning then it is different thing.

When does the microdrive spins? Answer: When the camera is operating.

Thats means for your microdrive to drop and spoil means you have to drop your camera. When you do drop your camera, do you think the $200 microdrive is significant compared to your $3000 "L" lens and your $2500 Canon 20D for example???

My buddy used to work for Seagate. His job? Knock hard disk and test them again and again.



Further reading on the Seagate drives; from www.seagate.com:

Reliability under high-vibration conditions. People often strap an MP3 player onto their hip or arm during running or other
physical activities. The resulting motion can introduce harmonic frequencies into the drive, which may cause the read heads to go off
track. This can result in the music skipping or even stopping completely, depending on the amount of buffer space in the system.
ST1 drives differ from other HDDs because they were designed to account for the harmonic distortion caused by high-vibration
movements. The drive incorporates Seagate RunOn technology, which enables the drive to detect when these unwanted harmonic
frequencies occur and automatically compensate by keeping the read heads on track. Consequently, the RunOn technology can
increase the reliability&#8212;and customer satisfaction&#8212;of an OEM&#8217;s handheld consumer electronics device.
Protection against shocks from mishandling. When many HDD-based devices are dropped, the read/write heads remain over the
media. These hard drops create a shock that can cause the heads to slap against the media so that pieces of the head are scattered
in the drive and a microscopic dent is left in the media.

Knowing that drops happen, Seagate built the ST1 Series with G-Force Protection, which protects the drive against shock by moving the
heads off the media when the device is powered off. Thus, during a drop, no parts make contact with each other inside the drive. G-Force
Protection makes any handheld device using ST1 drives more robust and more reliable as well.
sounds like an interesting job ;)
i've dropped a microdrive from shoulder height 1.5m or thereof and it still works
dropping is fine but dont try dropping it and kicking it around. never tried it yet but the chance will come when i get a new microdrive at the pc show
 

maxim

Deregistered
Sep 5, 2003
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#14
hi guys

Just to add my 2cents

Did a test with the photodrive, dropped 6 times from McDonald table height
on to concrete floor. each time with a different angle, I really wanted it to fail :))

some flat on, some 90deg, some side edge

but each time it survived and came back asking for more........

Some time ago, in ST report, there is a thin diamond coat on the surface
of the disk to prevent head damage.
This new diamond coat technology is an invention by singapore scientist
( forgot his name ) Man-made diamond
 

Voyage

New Member
Jun 9, 2005
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#15
Hi a Q here, for my Kingston it has 1 to 1 exchange if anything is spoil, is seagate microdrive has this 1 to 1 exchange, life time warranty?

Thanks.
 

lightning

Senior Member
Sep 2, 2004
4,640
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Punggol
victor.shutterbug.sg
#16
Wow, sounds like the Microdrive are indistructable, well I think both CF 1 and Microdrive do have their own pros and cons, and droping the card and causing it to spoil is quite unusual. I hvae drop my 3.5" HD a few time and it survived! So my guess is if the microdrive drop in a non running state, it should survive.

At this moment, the price of microdrive is so much cheaper then solidstate. And the performance is not much of a diff, I guess I will stick with it.

Went out to shoot with the microdrive whole day, shooting RAW all the way, and after the whole day, my camera still say that there are 999 photos left to take! Total pics taken that day is about 700 - 800 pics.

Cheers
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
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Singapore
www.instagram.com
#17
Knowing that drops happen, Seagate built the ST1 Series with G-Force Protection, which protects the drive against shock by moving the heads off the media when the device is powered off. Thus, during a drop, no parts make contact with each other inside the drive.

The G-Force Protection doesn't help when the drive is dropped while powered though. But then again the camera will probably take the first hit and insulate the drive ;p
 

maxim

Deregistered
Sep 5, 2003
598
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0
#18
The photodrive thats designed for CF format has protective case
Those that are ripped out from MP3 doesnt have such a case since the
MP3 player is THE CASE..........

When drive is not in use, the head is parked.
There is then no chance of head hitting the platter.


8G force is a LOT OF FORCE..........

Most cameras will not stand 8G force :)

interesting to read about the 1 to 1 exchange,,,,
acid test is WHEN you show up for the exchange :D
 

alucard

New Member
Jan 11, 2005
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West
#19
Interesting YewKay, seems like the microdrive is a good option considering the price per storage.

The more important test results would be in-camera write and read times. Since, the microdrives require more time powering up than solidstate devices, and accessing physical memory locations, the write and read times there would vary significantly. I would say, good enough for regular shoots, but tough to match at higher fps. Also, the reliability of microdrives is less compared to solidstate devices, and no I am not talking about subjecting the drive to physical pain. ;p The microdrives have moving mechanical parts, which are bound to fail over time due to wear and tear. But, the solidstate devices have no such problems (the dealers confidently give lifetime warranty ;) ), and in the longer run serve you better.
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
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Singapore
www.instagram.com
#20
maxim said:
interesting to read about the 1 to 1 exchange,,,,
acid test is WHEN you show up for the exchange :D
That's what I like abt Convergent which brings in Lexar and Kingston products :) No fuss abt after-sales service :)
 

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