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Fine adapter - if you have problems, it's your IDE chipset or CF card... 10/23/2009
This review is from: SYBA SD-CF-IDE-BR IDE to Compact Flash Adapter (Bracket Version)
This Syba adapter is well made and the inclusion of a slot bracket is nice. The jumpers are easy to use and the LEDs provide a clear indication of what is going on when you need to know.
For anyone who is wondering whether or not this adapter supports DMA operation, it does if your CF card does. Cheap CF cards do not. A review of the pinouts for both connectors and testing with an ohmmeter confirms that DMA read, write and request are hooked up.
In any case, this adater is completely passive and makes no "decision" on what your CF card can do when placed into the slot.
I bought this along with a CF card from Newegg to use it as a startup device in a FreeNAS system. It did not work for that purpose (see explanation below under "other thoughts") but is working fine on another motherboard that I will be building into another FreeNAS system.
The power connector is a little awkwardly situated. It would have been nicer if the card was a little taller so that the PATA and power connections could be next to one another facing backwards.
It would also be nice if this adapter had a jumper and logic to force a CF card into conventional ATA mode by momentarily grounding pin 9 at power on.
Hot swap might be nice for "card reader" applications but isn't needed for most users who will start their computer up from a card inserted in this adapter.
If you have problems with this adapter, it is very likely that you are having problems with your motherboard's or IDE contoller's chipset.
All CompactFlash cards have multiple operating modes, and most default to operating as a PCMCIA ATA device, which is close to but not the same as conventional parallel ATA protocol. Some IDE controllers and operating systems have problems with this--I had no end of trouble with an old Intel 440FX/PIIX3 and FreeNAS. A newer motherboard with an SiS chipset worked fine.
The mode of operation for the card can be changed by momentarily grounding pin 9 or by using software to configure the card. Unfortunately, no CF card maker that I could find will provide such configuration software. However, my testing showed that changing the card's mode temporarily did resolve the problems with balky IDE controllers and software.
Doing that is risky and has to be done at every power on, however.
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