Why Trust Techopedia

What Does CompactFlash Mean?

CompactFlash (CF) is a removable storage device used for mass storage in portable electronic machines, such as PCs. Based on non-volatile technology (flash memory), CF does not require a battery. CF competes with other memory cards and chips, such as SD/MMC and PC card type-I.


CF was launched in 1994 by SanDisk.

Techopedia Explains CompactFlash

Memory chips and cards are key electronic device components manufactured according to memory size, physical size, volatile/non-volatile features, compatibility and other specifications. CF technology is also strong in the camera memory market.

CF types are as follows:

  • Type-I: Almost 3.3 mm thick
  • Type-II: 5.0 mm thick. Used for different microdrive types. Four speed categories.

CF’s technical features are as follows:

  • Speed: Speed calculation method is similar to CD-ROM. Normally, standard speed is up to 150 kbps. However, each card has an embedded speed limit.
  • Solid structure: Available with solid states. Provides extra user data protection, versus magnetic storage discs. Does not contain any moveable parts.
  • Error Correction/Read/Write: General read process to power CF occurs at startup. Errors are checked and recovered.
  • Reliability: Compared to rotating media devices, CF is more flexible and reliable because there are no moving parts, which ensures error correction and data integrity. CF is also non-volatile, which reduces the electricity dependency of motherboard memory cards and chips.
  • Comparatively best option: Durable in many scenarios, compared to other memory cards. CF cards are compatible with ATA/IDE and may be used in any board supported by Integrated Development Environment – .NET (IDE).
  • Cryptographic features: No built-in cryptographic or Digital Rights Management (DRM) features.

CF cards are also available with higher storage capacity, versus other memory cards. Potential damage occurs if a CF card is improperly inserted into a device. However, to prevent such mistakes, slots are designed for proper insertion.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret jest nagradzaną technical writerką, nauczycielką i wykładowczynią. Jest znana z tego, że potrafi w prostych słowach pzybliżyć złożone pojęcia techniczne słuchaczom ze świata biznesu. Od dwudziestu lat jej definicje pojęć z dziedziny IT są publikowane przez Que w encyklopedii terminów technologicznych, a także cytowane w artykułach ukazujących się w New York Times, w magazynie Time, USA Today, ZDNet, a także w magazynach PC i Discovery. Margaret dołączyła do zespołu Techopedii w roku 2011. Margaret lubi pomagać znaleźć wspólny język specjalistom ze świata biznesu i IT. W swojej pracy, jak sama mówi, buduje mosty między tymi dwiema domenami, w ten…