Card Readers for your Computer: Crucial USB 6 in 1 Card Reader by Lisa
Gade , Editor-in-Chief, April, 2003
Storage Options for your PDA: an explanation of the different types
of cards here.)
Crucial, a major manufacturer and seller of computer
and flash memory products, now offers several card reader solutions.
They make single slot card readers and two different multi-slot 6-in-1
readers: a compact design called the Portable, and the standard model
which we received for review.
The Crucial 6 in 1 reader works with CF type I
and II cards, the Microdrive, SD, MMC, Memory Sticks and SmartMedia
cards. It's a USB 1.1 device and it comes with a 4 foot removeable
USB cable. You'll also get a brief printed installation guide and
drivers for Windows and Mac on the included CD.
While on the large side, the Crucial is the Cadillac
of card readers. Not only can it read every common card standard,
but it has 4 separate slots and activity LEDs for each slot. If you
have several devices such as PDAs, digital cameras and MP3 players,
you're going to love having all these slots! Why? Because you can
simultaneously have an SD or MMC card, CF card, Memory Stick and
SmartMedia card in the reader, making it easy to copy files from
one storage format to another. If you've got digicam images on a
CF card that you'd like to put on an SD card for your Palm, just
drag the image files from one card to another. No more temporarily
copying the files to your computer's hard drive in order to get the
files from one card type to another.
The Crucial reader comes with drivers for Win98
and Windows 2000, as well as Mac OS 8.6 through 9. You don't need
to install drivers for Windows ME and XP since these natively support
card readers, and Mac OS X (version 10.1.3 and higher) supports card
readers natively without additional drivers.
The unit performed reliably for me under Windows
XP and Mac OS X (version 10.2, aka Jaguar). The manual states that
you don't need drivers for Windows 2000 if you have service pack
3 installed, and this is indeed true.
On our Windows 2000 desktop machines with AMD processors,
I did have problems getting the reader to work reliably. Our AMD
desktops, like most, use VIA USB controllers, and it seems that the
driver software doesn't like to play nicely with the VIA. However,
the card reader and drivers did work well on these same machines
when plugged into a 3rd party USB PCI card instead of the built-in
USB ports. It also plays well with USB 2.0 ports, though you will
of course only get USB 1.1 speeds since this is a USB 1.1 device.
I had the same results with the Asante card reader which uses a newer
version of the same driver software (1.7 vs. 1.5).
Once the card reader is installed, you'll see 4
additional drive letters under My Computer (PC) representing these
slots. If you're running Windows 98/2000 and have installed the included
driver software, the drive letters will have icons that make it easy
to identify each card slot. If you've ever tried to remember and
guess which drive letter represents which slot, you'll appreciate
this feature! On the Mac, the cards mount on the desktop after you
Conclusion: a reliable reader that gives you four
slots and activity LEDs for each: handy if you want to transfer files
between card types. Nice software for Windows 98/2000 that gives
you icons for each drive letter. If you have an AMD desktop running
Windows 98 or 2000, you may have trouble getting the reader to work
unless you've got a 3rd party USB card installed.
Crucial, a division of Micron, has been
a big player in the memory market for many years. They've
been making CF type I memory cards, compatible with type
I and II slots for a while, and the quality is excellent.
Crucial CF cards are available in 64 meg,
128 meg, 256 meg and 512 meg capacities. Their speeds are
good, and are stronger in the read department compared to
the write. For PDA use, they should provide more than adequate
The cards come with a protective plastic