Equipment Review: Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 multi-format card reader

August 28, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

 

I recently found myself in the market for a new card reader for downloading photos from my camera's memory cards, as some of the readers I'd collected over the years were slow or had become unreliable. I was looking for a reader with the following features:

  • USB 3.0 for top speed with newer computers

  • Good USB 2.0 performance with older computers

  • Slots for both CompactFlash (CF) and SecureDigital (SD) cards

  • Support for high-speed and high-capacity card types (SDHC UHS-I, SDXC UHS-I, UDMA6/UDMA7)

  • Small size, good design and decent build quality

The Transcend RDF8 offered all of this at a great price, so I ordered a pair of them (always gotta have a backup!). I own CF and SD cards and some flashdrives made by Transcend, and my experience has been that the brand offers good value, so I felt confident that the RDF8 would not disappoint. And, I was right. Build quality is good, with cards and the USB cable fitting snugly into their slots. The CompactFlash card slot is deep enough to minimize the risk of bent pins. The included USB 3.0 cable can be plugged into a standard USB 2.0 port. There is an activity light that indicates when data is being transferred or a card is being mounted or unmounted. The card slots are clearly labeled. And, it supports MemoryStick and microSD cards as well as SD and CF.

I've just put an RDF8 through a series of side-by-side tests with some of my older readers, and so far I'm very pleased with the performance as well. Connected to my Mac Pro's USB 2.0 port, it transferred data to/from my fastest card (Transcend 400x UDMA 16GB CompactFlash) as fast as my previous speed champ. A folder of 88 RAW image files totaling 1GB took 1 minute 9 seconds to upload and 38 seconds to download. My Transcend class 10 16GB SD card wasn't far behind at 1:23 and 0:44. This is probably as good as it gets with USB 2.0. Since my Macs don't have USB 3.0, I haven't had a chance to test compatibility or speed with the new standard.

What I can say is that this seems like a good unit, very competitively priced, that squeezes the most out of USB 2.0 and offers the possibility of even higher speed with newer computers.

This is a fairly new product, so I haven't yet seen any reports of real-world USB 3.0 compatibility or performance. If you've had a chance to test this with USB 3.0, especially on new Macs, I'd love to hear about it.

UPDATE 2012-12-09: Out of the box, this worked fine downloading from CompactFlash cards into my 2012 Macbook Pro via USB 3.0. However, downloads of RAW files into Aperture from SDHC cards failed. I visited the Transcend USA website, downloaded a firmware update utility, and updated the RDF8's firmware from TS10 to TS17. Now downloads from SDHC cards via USB 3.0 work fine.


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March April May June July August (2) September (2) October November December (1)
January February March (1) April (3) May (2) June (5) July August September (5) October November December
January February March (2) April May June July August September October (3) November December
January February March April May June July August (1) September October November December
January February March (1) April May June July August September October November (1) December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December