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Go down  Amiga SD to IDE Hot Swappable board... [Page 1 of 1]

Franko

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Back in October of last year I read a post on Amigaworld.net about an SD to IDE Reader/writer on eBay for the Amiga. As I've never liked the CF (Compact Flash) versions of these boards at less than a tenner I bought one myself to check it out...

Here are some pics I took myself of this neat little board and the results of testing it on the Amiga... Smilie





Personally I prefer to use real HD's on all my Amiga's and only bought this to check it out and compare it to a CF version I tried a few years back. While I wouldn't use one myself to replace a real HD, and only use it as a faster alternative to my Subway USB board to transfer files quicker between my Amiga's and my iMacs for stuff I want to download or upload to the net. I thought I'd give you the lowdown on the results of testing out this SD to IDE board...

Unfortunately there is no manufacturer name or ID on it so who makes it and which model it is I can't say, all you can do is look on eBay or elsewhere to see if you can find one...

I have tested it fully with 4GB, 8GB, 16GB & 32GB SD cards and it works flawlessly with them...
It is Hot Swappable to a degree but this requires quite a bit of setting up on your Amiga to make it ideal...
It would be perfect for those of you who require up to 32GB's of storage space on your Amiga's and are not a "power user" (probably best for games and casual use)...

These devices are not as fast as real HD's...
They are not as sturdy or as reliable as real HD's in terms of read/write cycles & long term data storage...
They are definitely not for those of you like myself who require hundreds of Gb's of data storage, the best speed, lots of everyday use, and require long term reliability and secure data storage...

If your just the occasional/ casual user and mainly play games & do the odd bit of gfx, music work etc... on your Amiga then these may indeed suit you just fine instead of a real HD...

For such use up to 32GB's of data storage should be more then enough and if you purchase and install two separate boards then transferring files/ data between your Amigas to PC's or Macs (or even other Amiga's) becomes a breeze (4 way IDE buffered interface required of course, eg: 4xEIDE or FastATA from Elbox for example)...

For use such casual use ie:games & such then the lack of speed compared to a real HD would be hardly noticeable I think and if you don't have a CD/DVD drive or USB board on your Amiga then these could be the ideal solution for transferring data between your Amiga & PC or Mac (or other devices)...

There are a number of way's these boards can be used...

As a straightforward replacement for an HD...
As an extra (HD) to compliment your real HD...
As a cheap and faster method of data transfer (compared to the Subway USB board) between you Amiga and PC's/ Macs or other Amiga...



Last edited by Franko on 24/1/2012, 05:24; edited 1 time in total


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2Happy A bit more detail... on 24/1/2012, 05:19

Franko

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These boards can be found for sale easily on eBay but I have heard of some people buying them only to discover they don't work with SDHC cards (ie: greater than 4GB). Like I say the eBay seller where I purchased mine from no longer sells them but I have tested mine successfully with cards up to 32GB in size...

Similar Board On eBay...
SD to IDE Board on Ebay £6.12 inc P&P...

I would say about this board though, if you plan on adapting your your Amiga case to make it easy to access the SD card for swapping/ changing then the placement of the SD card slot is not ideal (not near the edge of the board for such purposes) which is a shame. It would probably be best to find one like this... if you want to modify your Amiga for it...

The Ideal Board Layout example...
SD to IDE Board With Slot At The Edge...

I'm not recommending the above board as I simply haven't tried one but for adapting your Amiga's case to easily access the SD card then the SD card socket really must be near the edge of the board as in the example above...


Even though I used the latest "High Speed" SD cards they did not match the speeds obtainable from a normal Hard Disk using either the 4xEIDE Buffered interface board or the FastATA MKIII Board from Elbox. Not sure if it's the boards circuitry or the cards themselves that is responsible for this but I suspect it to be the boards as the SD cards used are the latest and highest speed possible...

Some Speed Results...

SD to IDE using the 4xEDIE Board = 2.1Mb/sec avg
Real HD Using the 4xEIDE Board = 2.8MB/sec avg

SD to IDE using the FastATA MKIII = 4.6Mb/sec avg
Real HD using the FastATA MKIII =5.8Mb/ sec avg

Using the 4xEDIE board you can see there is not much real difference between the SD and HD, this is simply because the 4xEIDE is ONLY a buffered interface board and does not contain circuitry to actually speed up data transfer between an HD/ SD or CF...

Using the FastATA board there is quite a difference in the speed tests. The FastATA board DOES contain the circuitry required to speed up data access as can be seen from the results but the SD is definitely slower than a real HD...


Why do I prefer SD over the CF versions... simple, reliability...

You can read all the manufactures specs you want on SD or CF cards, they don't mean a thing in reality. All that matters is real world result through actual use...

Over the years I have tried both CF & SD cards in a number of devices (cameras in particular) and have found that with lots of use CF cards fail quicker than SD ones when used a lot. I've never had a CF card that didn't develop read write errors in the first two years or fail altogether. With SD cards I would say with lots of use they last at least 4 years...

First thing is don't buy the cheaper/ unknown brands when it comes to CF or SD cards, it's a false economy and if you haven't backed up your data you will eventually lose most or all of it.

Secondly don't believe the manufacturers specs/ hype for their Read/Write cycles and product info. These are very carefully worded and carried out & based on far from "real world" tests to make their product look good. They are after all in the business of selling these things after all and they sure as hell are going to use the best & most carefully tweaked results to convince you to buy them...

For the simple proof from "real world" experience of why SD is more reliable than CF, then ask a professional photographer or visit a forum about them. You will see that SD is now the number one choice of storage media for them over CF because years of using CF & SD cards have proven SD to be the winner in terms of reliability...

In the end it all comes down to personal choice and what you actually require, to me I need very large HD's, the best speed/ buck & reliable everyday use and long term data storage so real HD's are the only way for me to go...

If you're just use the miggy for the odd game or two and casual use then the SD option should suit you just fine, just remember to back up all your data as you never know when your SD card is going to start producing errors...


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3Happy CF's and SD's on 24/1/2012, 21:04

Mech

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Franko,
Much of your info is pretty good, and you did a nice write up, but there is some points i have to disagree about. The CF's are robust. I have some i have been using for over 10 years daily that still work as well as the day i bought them.I have sold well over 400 of the transcend 2GB cards and i have only had 1 reported problem,and it from a guy who sent it back because he jammed it into a slot wrong and broke off the edge guide plastic. the card still worked when i inserted it into the card reader.
Most the people i have seen complain about CF's either buy junk cards off ebay that are fake or counterfeit,or simple are careless installing them.
I stick with name brand cards and have never had a failure.
Just for information,i estimate over 40% of the cards on ebay are fakes or counterfiets.I have bought from many sellers to test them and found many are nothing but troubles.i have a pile of junk cards here from them. You can usually contact major companies like sandisk and transcend and kingston with cf card numbers and they can verify if they are real.anyway,i digress.
Its not uncommon for chinese companies to label a 4GB card 16Gb or so and shoot the firmware to it that makes it look real until you try and fill it or reformat it.

The beauty of Compact flash is it has a true straight thru Parallel IDE interface. It is not multiplexed like a SD card and needs no extra chips on the adapters. Having no translation will usually make the CF card faster than the typical SD(assuming your controller is not the bottleneck-and you are using a quality fast CF card).On the stock 1200 ide its bound to not make much difference.You can also get Fast CF's where most SD's top out around class 10 or 14.

Another thing is its much easier to keep up with the bigger cf,and there is room to label them well.

At the end of the day of you buy cheap adapters and cards you get what you pay for.

As for data Retention, quality CF's hold data as long as any hard drive. I run twin 32Gb cf's in my A4000 which is runs 24/7/365. I have never lost anything off them.
I have over 40 amiga's here all running cf's for hard drives. I do agree if you need more space then you will have no choice but to use a hard drive. The biggest cf's out are 128Gb and are way costly.

Mech

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Franko

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@ Mech

I've had this little debate many times with other folk about which is better CF or SD and like I said in the original post I am only speaking from personal experience... Wink

Over the years (mainly in photography) I have used both CF & SD extensively and without repeating all I have said again, SD in my experience lasts longer and is far superior to CF... Smilie

So I wouldn't recommend something to others that I wouldn't use myself and like I have already said, if you buy cheap cards you are asking for trouble... Wink

Obviously your experience has been different from mine but I can only speak for myself. I don't buy cheap cards and I take very good care of everything I own. Like I say my experience of heavy use of CF cards has been totally different from yours and I can only say what I have experienced with them... Smilie

It may well be true that using CF on the Amiga even for heavy use that they are fine especially when compared to heavy use in a camera, which would probably mean a lot more read/write cycles with the constant deleting of files most photographers do but for me CF cards have proven very unreliable with no more than 2 years use out of them before they begin to fail... Sad

So I'll stick with SD myself just simply because from experience it has proven itself to be far more sturdy & reliable... Smilie

As for the speed issues, I reckon myself it down to the boards circuitry for the reasons you gave. The SD card I tested it with were top quality SanDisk ones (Class 10) and work fine in my various cameras. Again what I've said about "buying cheap" comes to mind, the board itself was very cheap and bough from eBay so it's no more than I expected... Wink

It was only bought for test purposes as I prefer to use real HDs but it's very handy and much faster than using my Subway USB board and a card reader/ writer for transferring data between computers... Smilie

Since I bought it, I've actually been experimenting with building an SD Reader/Writer board that simply plugs into the external floppy connector as this port never gets used on any of my Amiga's and if I can get it working properly (or even get round to finishing it) then I reckon this might be something folk who don't like opening up their Amiga's might find useful and handy as a quick, easy & cheap way of transferring data between machines... Smilie


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Mech

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Well franko we seem to agree on one thing. Cheap cards get you nowhere.
a majority of the cf's i have sold went to camera people using DSLR cameras as well as computers and music samplers/keyboards and as i say,not a single card reported bad(other than the broken one), and these are only 80X cards.So either its luck,people are gathering in secret with pitchforks and torches,or the cards are pretty damned resilient. who knows.

Its funny you mentioned the floppy port just a day ago i was thinking, 'man! why dont we use this port more often for something,its quite a bit quicker than serial or parallel'. A cf/sd drive off it would make total sense, maybe even a new mp3 dongle or some such. I love a good hardware project and please let us know some details how its going.


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Mech

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Franko

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Don't think we'll ever agree on the CF/ SD subject but hey what's that matter... Wink

Yeah... I've always thought what a waste the external floppy port was and could be used for something else. Still not sure yet what type of speed I can get out of it but it would be nice to be able to put it to some use like I mentioned.

I'm not aiming to have an SD/CF HD type of device hanging off it. More of just a simple card reader/ writer for transferring data between Amiga's/ PC's/ Macs etc...

So it wont have to be too "system friendly" ie: I'm not worried if it hogs the processor while reading and writing as it's really just an alternative method of data transfer and not an HD... Smilie


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