Many thanks to forums contributor Matthew Williamson who recently acquired a 1 GB IBM Microdrive and has done some comparative Write Speed timing against a 340 MB Microdrive and a 160 MB Lexar 8X Compact Flash card using a Nikon D1. His results are interesting, especially if the introduction of the 1 GB pushes the price of the older 340 MB down it may be better to buy a few 340's...

Here are Matthew's notes:

I just picked up one of the new 1 GB MicroDrives today and thought I would test the write times between it and my 340 MB MicroDrive as well as my 160 MB Lexar 8x Compact Flash card. I charter my results, which you should be able to see below. All times are in seconds. The tests were run with my D1 in continuous shooting mode, using manual focus, with the lens cap on (so there should be no differences in JPEG processing times) at 1/500. Each card was formatted immediately before each run. The times shown were started immediately after the camera fired the last shot, so they don't include the time required to take the 10 or 21 shots.

Interestingly, the 1 GB MicroDrive significantly outperformed the 340 MB MicroDrive in the NEF mode (HI RAW in the chart). This was the only place where the 1 GB model outperformed the 340 MB model, so I double checked it several times, with the same results every single time! Perhaps IBM has optimized the sector size or buffer size (or interleaving or other some such magic) with Nikon D1 RAW transfer in mind? Sneaky devils!

Nikon D1 Burst Mode Write Times

Card Type HI RGB (21) HI RAW (10) FINE (21) NORM (21) BASIC (21)
1 GB Microdrive 379.5 133.5 66.0 35.5 22.5
340 MB Microdrive 308.0 150.5 63.5 32.5 19.5
160 MB Lexar 8X flash 193.5 52.5 34.0 20.5 18.5

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