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Are compact flash (CF) cards reliable?

Novell Cool Solutions: Question & Answer

Posted: 23 Dec 2004

Q:
I need a way to write to / store information on an external device, and I'm getting conflicting opinions about whether CF cards are reliable. Can anyone help me?

A:
CF cards are amongst the most reliable storage devices available right now.

If you don't use the cheapest models, you should have years of reliable operations, regardless of the number of reads/writes.
Once a CF card has been "burned in" they should last almost forever.

There are a few possible ways for failure, however:

  1. damage through static discharge when handling the cards
  2. damage through voltage fluctuations from the power supply
  3. failure of the micro-drive when using cards from 1GB or larger (although there are first diskless cards with 1GB available)
  4. of course, physical damage, e.g. you drive over it with your truck.
Here is a link that talks about CF memory and its "reliability": http://www.compactflash.org/info/cfinfo.htm
Or checkout Sandisk's specification for CF memory at: http://www.sandisk.com/oem/cf-specs.htm

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