The Unity Digital MDCF-FW FireWire is a CompactFlash card reader for both Type I and II flash memory cards. It is an IEEE1394 (FireWire) read/write device for FireWire-enabled Win98/2000 PC or Macintosh (OS 8.5.1 or higher) users that want the fastest data transfer rates possible. These are the industry's first FireWire-based flash card readers.
The $149 MDCF-FW is only slightly larger than a computer
mouse and requires only the FireWire connection for operation.
Data transfer rates for IEEE1394 are 100, 200 and 400 Mbps.
It is also available in a model for SmartMedia cards.
Installation was simple on my AMD Athlon 700 PC running Windows 98SE
with an inexpensive ($55) 3-port TI chipset-based FireWire PCI card.
I plugged in the MDCF-FW, Windows "saw" the new device and prompted me for
the Windows 98 source disc, I pointed it to my hard drive install
directory and it loaded or checked something. A few seconds later the card
reader showed up as Removeable Disk E: under My Computer.
The MDCF-FW has a single CompactFlash Type II card slot and handles any regular CF Type I or II card including the IBM Microdrives. I did have a minor problem with it not ejecting the new 1GB Microdrive properly but it had no problem ejecting Type I and II solid state cards.
Images files can be transfered using Windows Explorer or any other application running under Windows. You can just "drag and drop" the entire folder onto your desktop. The flash card can be treated just like any other drive resource.
Data transfer is much faster via a FireWire port than a USB port but most PCs will require an add-in card.
How fast is it? Here's some unofficial tests that I made:
I give the Unity Digital MDCF-FW card reader a rating of 5 digicams, it operates as expected, installation was easy and it's fast as hell !
Content copyright © 2000 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.