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Computer Accessories

Evergreen CF-to-IDE adaptor: Boot like a banshee

Hey IDE lovers, have we got a treat for you. Your favourite systems interface is now compatible with Compact Flash memory cards. Break out the Ribena, it's geek party time!

Anyone who watched the memory test on their 1986 IBM XT click over at boot-up like a rusty odometer knows that kids these days have no patience. But those who find even the Hammond-like speeds of modern boot times too much to bear can use this to spice things up. It's a Compact Flash (CF)-to-IDE adaptor.

"You have just spoken to me in Finnish," you're thinking. What is this devilry? CF is the removable memory used by some digital cameras and IDE is the very fast interface most computers use to communicate with internal hard-disk drives. In theory, you could install a light OS like Linux on your CF memory card and boot off it at superhuman speed through your internal IDE interface. Damn, it sounds geeky, but it gives us a neck mohican.

The adaptor attaches to the 40-pin IDE port on your PC's motherboard, normally used for attaching hard drives. Hacker-types can rig up some kind of mounting unit that will allow them to plug CF cards straight into the front of their PC through a carefully drilled orifice. Quite how your computer will react to hot-plugging IDE devices is up for debate, but imagine the transfer rates for photos from your dSLR -- surely it's worth a fried IDE interface or two just to watch 20-megapixel photos fly?

Top critics are asking the inevitable question: what's next? A USB-to-IDE adaptor, to maximise the keystroke response on your keyboard? Or what about a headphone socket-to-IDE adaptor, to avoid that pesky lag of 32 nanoseconds between Coldplay singing their little commercial hearts out and that sound arriving in your ear? The possibilities are literally limitless.

These CF-to-IDE adaptors cost €19 (£12). Bring on the SATA version: we're tired of tapping our communal foot during the 8 microseconds of frustration before the command prompt. -CS