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Acer CF100 Compact Flash Memory Card Review

by Lyle Smith

The Acer CF100 is the company’s compact flash memory card featuring MLC NAND and the CFast 2.0 interface. This is Acer’s only standard CF memory card on the market, though they do have a CFExpress model (CFE100), which features a much more high-end performance profile. Nonetheless, the CF100 is built to handle fast-action photo shooter and 4K RAW ultra-HD videos and can survive harsh work environments, where professionals often find themselves.  It is offered in capacities ranging from 64GB to 1TB and is compatible with devices that support the CFast 2.0 interface.

The Acer CF100 is the company’s compact flash memory card featuring MLC NAND and the CFast 2.0 interface. This is Acer’s only standard CF memory card on the market, though they do have a CFExpress model (CFE100), which features a much more high-end performance profile. Nonetheless, the CF100 is built to handle fast-action photo shooter and 4K RAW ultra-HD videos and can survive harsh work environments, where professionals often find themselves.  It is offered in capacities ranging from 64GB to 1TB and is compatible with devices that support the CFast 2.0 interface.

Acer CF100 Compact Flash Memory Card

Acer CF100 With its high-quality MLC NAND (the consumer-grade version of flash), Acer indicates that it is able to achieve read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 450MB/s, respectively, which is pretty much on par with a standard SATA SSD. These numbers also roughly triple the performance of SD cards, so it’s certainly meant for serious professionals in the film, broadcast and photography industries who require sustained performance for RAW 4K video recording for their high-end equipment.

For reliability, the CF100 offers a TBW (total numbers of bytes written) and MTFB (mean time between failures) rating of 2,940 and 2 million hours, respectively, for the highest capacity model.

Backed by a 5-year warranty, the Acer CF100 compact flash card goes for roughly $110 (64GB), we will be looking at the 512GB model for this review.

Acer CF100 Memory Card Specifications

Capacity 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Interface SATA III
Max. Sequential
Reading Speed
550MB/s
Max. Sequential
Writing Speed
450MB/s
Storage
Temperature
-40 ℃ – 85 °C / -40 °F – 185 °F
Working
Temperature
0 °C – 70 °C / 32 °F – 158 °F
Dimensions 36.40 × 42.80 × 3.60 mm
Limited
Warranty
5-Year

Acer CF100 Memory Card Design and build

At one and a half inches in height and 1.7 inches in length (with just over 0.1 inches in thickness), compact flash cards pack a lot of performance in such a small form factor. They are essentially delivering the same speeds as a SATA SSD drive at half their size.

That said, the CF card features the usual green Acer branding, with the company name, capacity, interface (CFast 2.0) and speed on the front.

Acer CF100 Compact Flash Memory Card back

On the back, are the product and serial numbers, as well as certifications, capacity and warranty information.

Acer CF100 Memory Card Performance

To test the CF1000, we leveraged CFast 2.0 slot of the LaCie 1big Dock SSD Pro. This is a one-stop dock for creative professionals that combines the functionality of all sorts of peripherals and storage solutions into one device and features dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and an internal NVMe SSD. It also includes a CFexpress slot and an SD card reader.

We connected the 1big Dock SSD Pro to our Lenovo P17 Gen 2 workstation to get our results.

First up, is the Blackmagic test, where it was able to hit reads and writes of 476.3MB/s and 119MB/s. This was quite lower than what Acer had quoted in their spec sheet, particularly in write activity.

Switching to synthetic testing using iometer, the results weren’t much better. We looked at both 1-thread and 4-thread large block activity (2MB sequential and random) as well as 4K random performance.

IOMeter
Test 1-Thread Results 4-Thread Results
2MB sequential write 131.9MB/s 132MB/s
2MB sequential read 484.2MB/s 480.5MB/s
2MB random write 132.8MB/s 130MB/s
2MB random read 374.3MB/s 384.2MB/s
4K random Write 596 IOPS 598 IOPS
4K random Read 3,977 IOPS 4,019 IOPS

Conclusion

The Acer CF100 is a compact flash card that supports CFast 2.0 (an interface that can boast up to roughly ~500MB/s in both reads and writes) and is built with consumer-grade MLC NAND. It is designed for professionals who work with fast-action photoshoots and 4K RAW ultra-HD videos/images in industries like film, broadcast and photography. They are also built to withstand the elements and harsh work environments and are available in capacities ranging from 64GB to 1TB.

Acer CF100 Compact Flash Memory Card front

That said, Acer’s CF100 compact flash memory card is, overall, a bit uneven. It couldn’t reach its quoted read speeds of 550MB/s in any of our benchmarks and was even further back in writes. In our Blackmagic test, it was only able to hit top speeds of 476.3MB/s read and 119MB/s write, while reaching 484.2MB/s and 132MB/s for sequential reads and writes in IOMeter (1-Thread). We also tested its random 2MB performance, which showed 374.3MB/s read and 132.8MB/s write.

Looking at the more demanding 4-thread test, the CF100 was able to reach 480.5MB/s read and 132MB/s write in sequential performance, while random speeds posted 384.2MB/s read and 130MB/s write. So overall, it was roughly ~75MB/s slower in reads and over 300MB/s in our benchmarking compared to what they have on their spec sheet.

Though CF cards (like the Acer CF100) have a much better performance profile than even the higher-end SD and microSD cards, you will find that many professionals will prefer the latter, depending on the needs of their gear. However, if you’re a professional that needs the best possible performance with their high-end equipment, then the CF and CFexpress form factor memory cards are a good choice. Just know what you’re getting (performance-wise) with the Acer CF100 less than stellar write speeds.

Acer CF100 Compact Flash Card Product Page

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