Which Is Faster: PC Card Adapter or FireWire Reader?

by Derrick Story

I was did a little testing tonight for a new book I'm working on, and thought you might be interested in the contest. In fact, I'll let you guess the outcome, and the person who comes closest by Sunday, Aug. 8, 5pm PDT, will receive a signed copy of Digital Photography Hacks.

I shot 32 images with a Canon Digital Elph S400 at full resolution and the highest quality setting. These are 4-megapixel images. The pictures were recorded to a standard SanDisk CF memory card that has a 256 MB capacity. I then upload the pictures to iPhoto 4 on a PowerBook 667 G4 Titanium.

I tested two rounds with a SanDisk PC Card Adapter and two rounds with the SanDisk FireWire ImageMate Reader. I've been using the PC Card adapter for years and have loved it. It's always been faster than USB card readers, but I wondered how it would stack up against a newer FireWire reader.

The fastest time for the winner was 1:29 from start to finish for the iPhoto import.

So here's the big question. Which device imported the images the fastest, and by how many seconds did it beat the fastest time of the other device? Post your guess for which device won and by how many seconds in the TalkBacks. If two people post the same winning guess, the person who posted it first receives the book. If no one gets it exactly, I'll go with the closest guess.

I'll announce the winner on Monday. Have fun!

Post your guess for which device won and by how many seconds.


2004-08-04 02:15:48
My guess is
Fire wire reader is probably faster, although card itself is the real bottleneck with both PCMCIA and FW. So the difference should be more visible with new highspeed cards, like Sandisk Ultra II. I suppose that FireWire wins by about 60 seconds.
2004-08-04 03:14:07
I guess ...
that the pc card reader won by 10 seconds (the card itself is the bottleneck and there is less protocol overhead : no firewire controller and stack in the way ...)
2004-08-04 06:17:43
My guess
Firewire won by half a minute. Why not? :)
2004-08-04 06:22:22
Three times faster?
I am guessing firewire reader won by around 3 minutes and 15 seconds.
2004-08-04 06:54:00
My money's on...
...the Firewire reader by eight seconds.
2004-08-04 10:13:41
Firewire wins by 65 seconds.
2004-08-04 10:50:10
Well I say...
... PC Card reader won by 8 seconds.
2004-08-04 11:48:12
My Guess
PC Card by 30 seconds.
2004-08-04 14:52:36
From the wild guess dept.
Firewire won by 2 seconds
2004-08-05 05:46:36
PC Card by 7 Seconds :)
2004-08-06 08:20:29
PC card wins
PC card wins by 10 seconds. The memory card would be the bottleneck. I suppose if you would have the faster memory the Firewire would win hands down.
2004-08-06 10:24:16
PC card by 11 seconds
My guess
2004-08-06 11:14:55
I'm guessing PC Card by 15 seconds.
2004-08-06 22:27:11
Firewire by 100 seconds
Of course, iPhoto adds quite a bit of overhead compared to simply dragging the files from the mounted media.
2004-08-07 01:31:47
Firewire by 12 seconds.
Complete guess...
2004-08-07 02:25:01
32 pictures at 2.5 MB each = 80 MB

Total download time of 1:29

Throughput = .9 MB a second, well under the 50 MB/sec. maximum of FW 400 and the 33/66 MB/sec. of PCMCIA.

I vote for PCMCIA being the fastest by 31 seconds.

2004-08-24 10:52:11
Ok, my guess is...
PCMCIA wins by 14 seconds.

Yeah. 14 seconds. :D

Jr Joe
2006-01-31 00:10:13
No Idea