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Core Sound PDAudio® System
Flash Memory and Hard Disk Speed Comparisons

(Last updated 10/19/2005)

October 19, 2005: We have a new champion! Transcend's new 4 GB SD card, mounted in a Dell X50v, is capable of writing data at more than 2.4 MB/second. This should easily allow recording at rates of 24/192 in PDAs with a sufficiently fast CPU.

Following closely behind the Transcend 4 GB card is ATP's 2 GB SD card.

Introduction

Our PDAudio high resolution digital audio recording system can be hosted on PDAs, laptop and desktop PCs. On desktop and laptop PCs you'd typically record to the internal hard disk. On PDAs though, you'd record to a variety of mass storage devices including:

  • Compact Flash (CF) memory cards
  • Compact Flash hard drives ("microdrives")
  • PC Card (PCMCIA) hard drives
  • Secure Digital (SD) memory cards
  • External hard drives with PC Card interfaces

The 624 and 400 MHz XScale CPUs used in the current generation of PocketPC PDAs, and the 206 Mhz StrongArm CPUs used in the previous generation, are capable of recording in stereo (two channels) at up to 24-bit/96 Kilosample-per-second. Some memory cards however, can't support the 576 kilobytes-per-second data write rate necessary for 24/96 recording.

We've found that while some cards are fast enough to support sustained recording at 24-bit/96 Kilosample-per-second, some can only sustain 24/48, some can only sustain 16/44.1 and some can't sustain even 16/44.1.

To help our customers select the right storage media for their needs, using SPB Software's excellent Benchmark program (www.softspb.com/products/benchmark/index.html) we and our customers compiled the following performance measurements.

You can help us to add information to this page. Please download a copy of SPB Benchmark, run it on your PDA and memory card, and email a copy of Benchmark's XML fle to: moskowit@core-sound.com .

Benchmark Results

Manufacturer/ PDA Capacity Benchmark Results(KB/Sec)
Transcend, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(Dell Axim X50v)
4 GB 2425 3615
SanDisk standard, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(Dell Axim X50v)
2 GB 1599 3051
SanDisk standard, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(HP iPAQ h5500-series)
2 GB 726 1103
ATP, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(Dell Axim X50v)
2 GB 2114 2695
Lexar, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(HP h5550)
1 GB 800 1382
SanDisk, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(Dell Axim X50v)
1 GB 1023 2007
SanDisk, FAT32/64 KB clusters
(Dell Axim X50v)
1 GB 924 1910
SanDisk, 64 KB clusters
(HP h2200-series)
1 GB 1007 1326
SanDisk, 64 KB clusters
(HP h5100-series)
1 GB 836 1330
SanDisk, 16 KB clusters
(HP h2200-series)
1 GB 248 702
Transcend 45x 512 MB 564 792
Panasonic
(Toshiba e750/e755)
256 MB 228 1143
Panasonic
(HP h2210/2215)
256 MB 56.9 327
Panasonic
(HP h3800-series, PPC2002)
256 MB 58.8 366
SanDisk
(HP h2210/2215)
256 MB 7.68 112
SanDisk standard, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(iPAQ h5550)
4 GB 1000 1154
SanDisk standard, FAT32/64 KB clusters
(iPAQ h5550)
4 GB 1029 1171
Transcend 45X, FAT16/64 KB clusters
(Dell X50v)
4 GB 1246 1955
Transcend 45X
(HP h2210/2215)
4 GB 1001 (formatted 32K clusters) 1273 (formatted 32K clusters)
Lexar WA 40X
(HP h2210/2215)
4 GB 458 (formatted 32K clusters) 660 (formatted 32K clusters)
SanDisk Standard
(HP h2210/2215)
2 GB 350 579
SanDisk Standard
(HP h3800-series/WM2003)
2 GB 491
(formatted 8k clusters)
to 691
(formatted 32k clusters)
814
(formatted 8k clusters)
to 983
(formatted 32k clusters)
SanDisk Ultra II
(HP h2210/2215)
1 GB 674 to 743 1100 to 1193
SanDisk Ultra II
(HP h5500-series)
1 GB 597 1060
SanDisk Standard
(HP h2210/2215)
1 GB 459 862
SanDisk Standard
(HP h3800-series/WM2003)
1 GB 640 990
Lexar Pro 80X WA
(HP hx4700, FAT16 with 64 KB clusters)
1 GB 715 698
Lexar 40x WA
(HP h5550/5555)
1 GB 205 542
Smart Modular Technologies
(HP h5550/5555)
1 GB 143 418
SanDisk
(HP 5000-series)
512 MB 112 534
Viking
(HP 2200-series)
256 MB 292 961
Hitachi Microdrive, 64 KB Clusters
(HP 5100-series)
4 GB 214 718
Hitachi Microdrive
(HP 5100-series)
4 GB 91.3 599
Hitachi Microdrive
(HP 3800-series/WM2003)
4 GB 204 652
MagicStor 2.2GB
(HP 3800-series)
2.2 GB 54.8 546
Toshiba/Kingston/CMS
(HP h3800-series/WM2003)
5 GB 57.2 to 193 531 to 611
Kingston
(HP 5000-series)
5 GB w/4 KB Clusters 128 720
Kingston
(HP 5000-series)
5 GB w/32 KB Clusters 229 734
Addonics ExDrive/IBM TravelStar 40 GB (40GNX, 5400 RPM), 32 KB Clusters
(HP 5100-series with WM2003)
40 GB 1688*1 1678*1
Addonics ExDrive/IBM TravelStar 20 GB, 4 KB Clusters
(HP 3800-series with WM2003)
20 GB 810 1217
Addonics ExDrive/IBM TravelStar 20 GB, 32 KB Clusters
(HP 3800-series with WM2003)
20 GB 1069 1281

Interpreting Benchmark Results

(All benchmark results are +/- 20 KB/s)

Pay attention to the memory card and the PDA.

It's important to note that some PDAs have very slow SD memory card interfaces. For example, the older iPAQ 3800-series SD card interface is very slow while the 2210/2215 is much faster and the Toshiba e750/755 is faster still.

What results should I look for if I want to record at... ?

24-bit/96 KS/s recording writes 576 KB to disk every second. The second column of the benchmark results must be greater than 576 KB/s to sustain 24/96 recording. Ideally, if you want to record 24/96 you should choose a memory card that has benchmark results higher than 576 KB/s. A benchmark result close to that value may not record reliably.

24-bit/48 KS/s recording writes 288 KB to disk every second. The second column of the benchmark results must be greater than 288 KB/s to sustain 24/48 recording. Ideally, if you want to record 24/48 you should choose a memory card that has benchmark results higher than 288 KB/s. A benchmark result close to that value may not record reliably.

16-bit/44.1 KS/s recording writes 176 KB to disk every second. The second column of the benchmark results must be greater than 176 KB/s to sustain 16/44.1 recording. Ideally, if you want to record 16/44.1 you should choose a memory card that has benchmark results higher than 176 KB/s. A benchmark result close to that value may not record reliably.

Speed Tips

In general, to get the highest write rates you should format the storage card with as large a cluster as you can. A good formatting tool is SoftWinter's Storage Tools (www.softwinter.com). It allows clusters as large as 64k.

In general, the FAT16 file system is faster than FAT32.

So for best performance format your storage media to FAT16 and 64 KB clusters.

Notes

*1 -- Despite the 40GNX's terrific speed, we're unable to recommend it for use with PDAudio because it is unable to sustain the write rates for more than a few minutes.

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For pre-sales consulting or to place an order, call Core Sound at 1.888.538.6744 or 1.201.801.0812.

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"Core Sound" is a trademark of Core Sound, LLC
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Thanks to HK Audio for use of their open-air concert photo. Mossman photo ©2004 OceanBridge Communcations.
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