Homebrewed 32GB SSD drive, around $530



So you want a flash-based hard drive solution for your notebook or UMPC but you don’t want to spend four-figures to do it. No prob if your device takes a 2.5-inch IDE drive. Just nab this 44-pin Compact Flash adapter from Addonics for $30. Then, do some on-line shopping for two 16 GB Compact Flash cards; I found ’em on Amazon (affiliate link) for $249.99 each. Pop the CF cards in the adapter, replace your hard drive and you’re set. Anybody up for dropping the $530 to let us know how it performs?

(via Gizmodo)



As everybody has pointed out, the problem with flash storage is limited write cycles. This can be negated though if you understand your application requirements. You can use a RAM disk for things like temp files and the browser cache. This will limit the amount of data _written_ to your flash device.


Try installing Windows XP Embedded on to your Flash Drive. You can have it setup so that the drive it’s installed on is Read-Only. Windows XP Embedded is just like the full version of Windows XP except you get to choose EXACTLY which services and programs you want before installing Windows. You can set it up so that it only reads the drive and uses a portion of RAM as a Hard Drive. You can configure it to use part of your computer’s RAM as a Hard Drive. When the computer shuts down, you can store your “Virtual Hard Drive” onto a more permanent storage device. There are all kinds of configurations you can put together.

I think the immediate resolution to this write problem is using Windows XP Embedded because it’s highly configurable. But I wouldn’t recommended it to anyone who has no patients. You do need a good understanding of Windows behind the scenes to successfully put this together. :)


just to tease you more Will:

todays industrial flash drives are more:

-reliable (1to2mil read/write, 5year warrant, 5to10 y uptime)
-faster ( 50to70 read /25to35 write )
-battery efficient ( 10% idle / 50% load)
-takes 100 x higher g-force trops

than normal hds … and yes they are more expensive for reason.

just show me a better hd for laptop….


I’m using a similar adapter (it’s way cheaper on eBay, BTW) with an 8GB CF card on an old Toshiba Portege 3110ct running Ubuntu… Works great!


Great idea and mod, but I just want to re-voice whats been said. CF cards are the past. Limited read/write cycles guarantee that your $500 mod will be dead faster than you think. And CF’s got slow speeds.

This is more of a ‘because I can’ hack than a true ‘improved over the original’ hack.


why would anyone do that??

samsung 2.5″ 32gb ssd is $490


I agree that flash cards have limited write cycles but regarding CF cards what you said is not true; CF cards are generally much faster than SD cards due to the fact that the Read/Write controller is on board. Also due to their architecture they have the potential to store MUCH more than a regular SD card although now there are SDHC cards which will change this. In short CF cards are most definitely not dead, they are still the prefered choice for many products that demand high performance such as profesional DSLRs.
Finally this is unlikely to be a fake since a similar device has allready been released: http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/19/the-do-it-yourself-ssd-adapter/

Computer Guru

I call BS.

1) Why CF? So far as anyone is concerned, it’s dead and slow. If you want large flash memory, you use SD.

2) Consumer flash-based memory cards have a limited lifetime. In short, they die after writing to them too much. With a digital camera, that’s OK, it’s millions of hi-res photos. But with a hard drive, it’s just weeks of normal usage.

This company is making a fake, and they’re trying to woo the world with it.

William C Bonner

I replaced the 2.5 inch ide hard disk in my old sony laptop with a compact flash adapter a couple of years ago. My main concern with these devices is how they fit into the space of the original drive. I found that the compact flash adapter plus the compact flash was as thick as the original drive in my unit. The card that they show that stacks two compact flash units might be too thick to be a simple replacement.

I installed a trimmed down version of windows XP, and use the machine as a terminal services client and web browser only. It’s great to have a machine that makes ZERO noise sitting next to the couch when I’m watching TV.

Code E

I guess it would work good for storage. Just not an OS, well… Not good for anything that changes that much.

Code E

I’m guessing those will fall on the same principle as using a USB drive. They dont last very long. They dont have very many write cycles. 200k or so. Sounds like a lot until you have a page file and temp internet file on the drive. Ubuntu lasted about 2 months on one flash drive of mine and the other lasted about 4 months. After losing 2 differnt 4gb flash drives I gave up. Thats why the solid state disks are taking so long to come out. They have to last, that makes them expensive. If it was that easy they would be really cheap already. But hey I could be wrong.


I have been using similar adapter in my amtek t700 for months now…

It feels just a bit faster and battery life is 15% better.


p.s. reading the spec shows that it doesn’t mount both CF cards as a single volume: it uses standard IDE master/slave for the dual-slot adapter.


I already placed my order minutes after Gizmodo posted this. I don’t know if I want to invest in two 16GB drives, but I am thinking an 8GB drive for Windows XP Tablet and some software and a 2GB secondary drive for a swap file and hibernate file may do nicely. I already made a post about it.

Are there any specific benchmarks you’d like to see? You know my Email :)

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