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Draft specification for CFast 2.0 memory cards unveiled

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The CFast 2.0 draft specification was unveiled at Photokina 2012 in Germany this week, with camera makers Canon and Phase One announcing support for the new standard. The arrival of CFast 2.0 looks set to fragment the market for high-speed memory cards used by professional-tier cameras, as rival Nikon has pledged support for the XQD announced at the end of last year.

When it was launched, the XQD memory card format was announced by the CompactFlash Association as the official replacement for the aging CompactFlash standard. The CompactFlash standard was based on the old PATA, or Parallel ATA, technology used many years ago to plug hard disk drives into computers, and which has since been phased out and replaced by SATA, or Serial ATA.

SATA-3 is the interface used by CFast 2.0, which is touted as having a top speed of 600MBps compared to the 250MBps for the XQD, according to Gerry Edwards, director of product marketing at SanDisk. SanDisk showed off a CFast 2.0 prototype flash-memory card, and noted that it's not going to make XQD memory cards "any time soon."

On the other hand, XQD uses the PCI Express interface, which allows for much higher speeds. Indeed, the fastest SSDs for the enterprise typically eschew the SATA interface for a PCI-E card that plugs directly into the server motherboard.

For now, the inherent differences mean that you're not likely to find adapters that convert between CFast 2.0 (SATA) and XQD (PCI-E). However, since SATA can emulate the PATA command protocol, it may be possible for existing CompactFlash software drivers to access a CFast 2.0 card with the help of a simple physical adapter.

For more:
- check out this article at CNET

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