[clug] Buying CF/IDE adaptor from e-bay store (linux Digest, Vol 69, Issue 18, item 4)

Miles Goodhew mgoodhew at gmail.com
Mon Sep 15 02:10:21 GMT 2008

Hi Steve,

> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 12:29:30 +1000
> From: steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au>
> Message-ID: <48CC770A.7030204 at canb.auug.org.au>
> My cousin in Brisbane wants to setup a system (Ubuntu server) using a
> 4Gb CF card in the IDE slot, and 2*SATA disks.
> He's found A Good Price for CF/3.5"IDE adaptors on e-bay (from Hong  
> Kong
> - A$8 delivered) and asked me for any advice...
>> From an on-line Australian store, price is a lot more (A$46 + del?)
> Has anyone got firsthand experience of CF/IDE and/or e-bay cheapies?
> Any direct experience of friends doing this?
> Is there anything I should be warning my cousin to look out for, or
> questions he should be asking?

	I have a couple of these at home in the shed. Tips:
	* Get a "Plain" PATA IDE adaptor (which should be the cheapest), the  
SATA ones tend to have the really nasty PATA->SATA chips onboard  
(which are REALLY slow). CF handles IDE natively, the only  
"components" on the CF adaptor cards are three connectors (PATA, CF  
and power), possibly a primary/slave jumper and a resistor and/or  
	* Use a UDMA-capable CF card (Like the SanDisk "Ultra" or "Extreme"  
models). The "standard" ones are at the very least slow and often  
give crazy I/O errors.
	* Physical mounting can be an issue - I ended-up with one of the  
adaptors flopping-around loosely in the case with a piece of  
cardboard stickytaped to its underside for insulation.
	* If you're not using a "Dedicated" embedded OS that factors write- 
cycles and speed into its design, setting the "Noatime" flag on  
mounted R/w filesystems reduces the amount of frivolous writes you  
probably don't care about. You generally don't have to worry about  
"wear leveling", as this is supposed to be handled inside the CF  
card, however reducing the number of writes is desirable.
	* Do not place/use a swap partition on a CF card. If you can't have  
a swap partition on a spinning disk, then don't have one. Note that  
swap generally isn't needed until user-level (fat) programs start  
running (if at all), so boot-up can live happily without swap.
	* If at all possible move high-write areas onto spinning disks (/ 
var, /home, others)

Hope that helps,


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