100X sounds a lot doesnâ€™t it, but as weâ€™ve seen USB2.0 multi-slot card readers are not always up to the job. If youâ€™re transferring mixed files in lots of folders to the card then it looks like the Ultimateâ€™s 100X rated write speed (15MB/s) is something dreams are made of. In our real world tests, the best time we got for that kind of data was 1.7MB/s.
If the data consists of a single folder of images that write transfer rate jumps up to 5.7MB/s. Thatâ€™s not to say the card can only achieve that, but if you own one of our USB readers then itâ€™s the best you can expect. A dedicated CF reader on a FireWire system is likely to improve upon our results.
Interestingly, when it came to writing images inside the Canon EOS-1D Mark II the Ultimate card was also a tad slower than Kingstonâ€™s cheaper Elite Pro CF card. 3.9MB/s was the best rate we got with the camera. If we compare that to what the similarly priced 133X Lexar Professional CF card achieved (6.6MB/s), the difference is an extra 14 second wait before the cameraâ€™s access lamp goes out â€“ doesnâ€™t sound like much but waiting for the cameraâ€™s buffer to free-up, even for a second, is enough for some photographers to miss some key moments.
However, the Ultimate does have an impressive side â€“ its read speed. When copying images to your computer it is the quickest CF card on test reaching 8.1MB/s (in the SanDisk reader), thus breaking the 50X barrier. Similarly it was also the quickest card when reading the mixed files in multiple folders (via the SanDisk reader), hitting a rate of 6.3MB/s. Compare that with the same tests on the Crucial reader and itâ€™s clear that reader is holding things back to a greater extent.
At Â£135, itâ€™s difficult to justify the extra cash over its cheaper Elite Pro cousin. Granted, it is ranked quicker over most of the tests and it has a good â€œreal worldâ€ image read speed but inside the Canon EOS-1 D Mark II, the Elite Pro is actually quicker. In our opinion, the value/performance ratio isnâ€™t as high as the Elite Pro or Lexar Professional cards. A lifetime warranty is stated, as is free technical support.