The notion of matching a high-performace CF card to a speedy reader is appealing for those of us capturing huge Raw files. I'd never really considered a paired card/reader scenario until I came across the SanDisk 4GB Extreme IV CompactFlash Card with FireWire Reader. But now that I've had some time testing this dynamic duo, I have to say that I think it's a pretty good idea.
When you buy the kit that includes a Extreme FireWire Reader and 4GB Extreme IV CF card, you have file transfer capabilities up to 40MBs a second. That's pretty speedy. I tested this duo against my longtime favorite reader, the Belkin 15-in-1 USB 2.0, and was a little surprised with the results.
I transferred 386MBs of Raw files from the Extreme IV card to a LaCie 7200 RPM hard drive (via a PowerBook G4) in 49.7 seconds. When I put the same Extreme IV card in the Sandisk reader using the FireWire 800 connector, the data transferred in 29.4 seconds. That's quite a difference, especially when compounded over many shoots.
You'll need either FireWire 400 or 800 capability to use this reader, and it only takes CF cards. But if you want a high-speed solution to uploading lots of big Raw files, the the SanDisk 4GB Extreme IV CompactFlash Card with FireWire Reader is a powerful answer. The kit is available for $279 online.