Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card Page: 1
Introduction

Kingston are one of the worlds largest manufacturers of memory and flash memory with a huge annual turnover of $2.2 billion. We've taken a close look at many of their RAM modules with some really hitting some big numbers in our tests.

Now it's the turn of the trusty Compact Flash Card (CF). Those of you with DSLR's will know having a fast CF card in your camera is an essential if you want to take a lot of photo's fast. Let's see how it gets on pitted against one of the best on the market - the Sandisk Extreme II CF Card.

Packaging

Kingston have opted to go with a blister-style package on the 266X CF Card. This is good as it protects the card and also shows off what you are getting.

kingston cf card package kingston cf card rear

Limited information is available on the back of the packaging but the basics are there. Kingston have chosen to keep it a little low-key but it looks nice and certainly the card itself is coloured to stand out.

Package

There isn't a whole lot to the package in with the Kingston 266X CF card. You get:

* Kingston 266X Compact Flash Card
* Short Instruction Manual
* Plastic CF Card holder

And that's it. In all fairness you don't get a whole lot in other card packages although Sandisk do give you a bag with their Extreme II card.

kingston card package

Now let's see the specs before we go any further:

Data Sheet Specifications:

Data Sheet

Advanced amateurs and professional photographers need Flash memory they can count on for even the most demanding shoots. That’s why Kingston® enhanced our CompactFlash® Ultimate cards. The newly redesigned Kingston CompactFlash Ultimate offers an amazing minimum sustained write speed rating of 266X, making it our fastest card to support high-end digital cameras and devices. It’s designed to deliver superior results with fast data transfer and support for continuous shooting.

With its ultra-fast transfer rates of 45MB/sec. read and 40MB/sec. write, you can capture more continuous, high resolution images in less time with the CompactFlash Ultimate than traditional CompactFlash memory cards. For added peace of mind, CompactFlash Ultimate comes with a bonus download for data recovery software from MediaRECOVER®. With MediaRECOVER, you can recover lost or deleted files and restore corrupt files on Windows or Mac systems.

To ensure that Kingston Flash memory solutions are among the performance leaders in their class, Kingston engineers select high-performance controllers as part of each card’s design. Each card is 100-percent tested and you can rest assured that every CompactFlash Ultimate card has received a perfect score.

Available in capacities up to 8GB*, CompactFlash Ultimate offers plenty of room for capturing and storing high volumes of images in RAW, JPEG, TIFF and other large file formats. As with all Kingston Flash cards, CompactFlash Ultimate cards are backed by a lifetime warranty†, 24/7 live technical support and the legendary reliability that makes Kingston the leader in memory.

Features/benefits

* Capacities1 — 2GB, 4GB, 8GB
* Dimensions — 1.43" x 1.68" x 0.13" (36.4 mm x 42.8 mm x 3.3 mm) – CF Type I
* Speed Rating 2 — 45MB/sec read, 40MB/sec write
* Recovery Utility — data recovery software download from MediaRECOVER. Windows/Mac compatible
* Operating Temperature — 32° F to 140° F (0° C to 60° C)
* Storage Temperature — -4° F to 185° F (-20° C to 85° C)
* Standardized — complies with CompactFlash Association specification standards
* Easy — plug-and-play
* Economical — autosleep mode preserves system battery life
* Guaranteed — lifetime warranty †

Kingston CompactFlash Ultimate - Part Numbers:
CF/2GB-U2, CF/4GB-U2 3, CF/8GB-U2 3

A nice spec sheet read, the card looks capable of some good speeds.


Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card Page: 2
The card

Although Compact Flash cards are pretty much all the same, here are a few pictures to see what you get:


kingston 266X cf card kingston cf card

Out of the casing the card is striking with a red flower effect on the front.

kingston CF card

Kingston have given you a place to write on the back of the card which is handy.

Onto test setup and notes...


Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card Page: 3
Test Setup

For this review I am using the following PC:

Intel Xeon 3070 @ 3.3GHz
Abit IP35 Pro
Cellshock PC6400 @ 1100MHz 5-5-5-15
MSI 8800 GTX
Hitachi Deskstar 7K160

I am using the external card reader on my Dell 2405FPW plugged into one of the rear USB ports on the motherboard.

I am using Windows Vista Ultimate for testing.

Comparison Cards

1GB PNY Compact Flash P-CF1GB-BX
2GB Sandisk Extreme III Compact Flash Card

comparison cards

Testing

Each test was performed three times for consistency. Read/Write tests were timed using a stopwatch. The PC was rebooted and the reader unplugged between tests in order to ensure that no files were cached.

Read/Write File test


Folder of 645MB containing 252 pictures. Written from hard drive of PC to the CF card and then written back again.

HD Tach

Burst Speed and Average Read

SiSoft Sandra External Storage Test

To get a "feel" of the speed of the card in a real situation I took several lots of pictures using my Canon EOS 400D. Shots taken were in normal shoot mode (indoors with flash) and "Sports Mode" (set of 10 consecutive pictures). Although no exact measurement was taken I wanted to see how fast the cards felt when doing this.

card installed

Note that an external card reader was used for testing and as such speeds reached were limited to this.


Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card Page: 4
Test Results

sisoft sandra

Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. For the CF cards I ran the "External Storage" benchmark.

Let's see how the cards did.

sisoft results


The PNY card drops behind by a long way on this test in what starts to be a pattern. The Kingston and the Sandisk cards are far faster with the Sandisk snatching a 100 point lead.

HD Tach

HD Tach
is an excellent free program that shows the speed of any drive connected to a PC. We ran it and recorded the Burst Speed and Average Read.

hd tach

Burst Speed

Again the PNY card shows it's not up to the speed of the other two cards lagging behind by a margin. The Sandisk again sneaks a lead but the Kingston 266X is very close behind.

Average Read

Here as well the Kingston is just pipped to the post by the highly rated Sandisk product.

file read/write

I copied a file to the cards and then copied it back from the cards and recorded the times taken. Let's see how they got on in this real life situation.

file read/write

Write

Writing to the cards again showed how the two faster cards shine through...by a long way. Once again (in somewhat of a recurring pattern), the Sandisk beats the Kingston card, but not by much.

Read

And yet again the Kingston keeps up with the Sandisk Extreme III.

camera test

In this test I put each of the cards in my Canon EOS 400D and saw how each felt like when taking photo's (see page 3 for details).

PNY CF Card

The PNY card kept it consistant by being laggy and slow to write after the camera took a picture. I would go as far as to say this inhibited taking pictures.

Sandisk Extreme III CF Card

The Sandisk card was snappy and responsive and meant I could utilise the excellent EOS 400D to it's full capabilities.

Kingston 266X CF Card

The Kingston was also snappy and felt almost identical to using the Sandisk card.

Testing Conclusion

Overall I have been impressed by the Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash card. It's speed and versatility is excellent and it is a match for faster (and smaller capacity) cards on the market.


Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card Page: 5
Conclusion

Kingston have made a very fast 4GB CompactFlash card capable of ultra-fast speeds that match the competitors in the top end. Add to this the fact that 4GB of storage is a hell of a lot, even for the most budding camera enthusiast and you have a decent card.

There isn't much of a bundle but in all honesty, who actually uses the smalls bags that come with other CF cards? I myself stick them in the bin so it would be a little tough to mark the product down for that.

The card price is a little high right now at around £65-70 (Kelkoo search ). I have seen 4GB Sandisk cards at around £40 on the net so it seems that the price is a little high right now.

Having said that I am sure this will come down and when it does, Kingston will be onto a winner.

At the moment I will recommend the Kingston 266X Compact Flash card, but hold back from any other awards based on pricing.

Recommended Award

The Good

+ Excellent Speed
+ Good real-life usage

The Mediocre

* Not much of a bundle

The Bad

- Price

Thanks to Kingston for the review sample

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