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Kingston 32 GB 266x Ultimate 2 Compact Flash Card CF/32GB-U2
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I assume the card was just a bad card but the odds of getting a bad card out of the box do not give me a warm and fuzzy for the overall reliability of the brand. Any CF card that can shut my camera off is a definite STAY AWAY FROM.
There appears to be a limitation in this iPod model for the total size of storage. With the card installed, after doing a Restore on the iPod in iTunes, the capacity is shown as 58.41GB. This may be understandable, because the largest stock hard drive in a 4th gen iPod is 60GB.
To confirm there was no problem with the CF card, I used the Mac's Disk Utility to reformat the iPod (as a storage device). This failed, with a error about not being able to access the "last block." So, I remove the card from the iPod and used a card reader to connect it to the Mac. This time, doing a reformat did not error out, and the capacity was shown as 62.75GB in Disk Utility. I also ran some other test to confirm the card worked properly (including copying files to it using Finder until it was full); the card seems to be fine.
After putting the card back in the iPod, I did another Restore in iTunes. The capacity was still 58.41GB. I was able to sync my iTunes music library to the iPod, which is about 45GB. It's possible that if I approach storage capacity limit (as shown in iTunes), I might get some errors. However, it is working quite nicely at this time. Data syncing speed does not seem any faster or slower. But there are some advantages when using the iPod with a CF card inside instead of a hard drive. There is no hard drive spin-up delay. The iPod is perfectly quiet (no vibrations or hum from the spinning hard drive). The battery lasts longer per charge. The iPod is probably more shock resistant. And it is noticeably lighter.
For anyone reading this with an old 4th gen classic iPod, who may want to give it a try, I'd recommend getting the 32GB version of this card. I previously had a Kingston 8GB CF card in this same iPod, and it worked flawlessly with access to the card's full capacity (and no error when doing a reformat with Disk Utility). A 32GB card should work that way (and cost about half as much as 64GB). I got the 64GB CF card so that I could fit my entire iTunes music library. It works (so far), but it seems to expose some design limitations of this older iPod model.
UPDATE: Instead of changing what I previously wrote, here's an addendum. After setting up the CF card in my 4th gen iPod, as described above, I got an error while using the iPod (after a few days). This error required doing another Restore (starting over). So, this CF card does not work reliably in my iPod using "standard procedures." My guess is that (during use) the iPod writes "temp" (working) data to its storage; when it tries to access the space "above" that 58.41GB limit, this error occurs.
After no success with some obvious remedies, such as (re)partitioning the CF card, this is how I eventually got the CF card to work reliably in my iPod. (1) With CF card in the iPod, do a Restore. (2) Remove CF card from iPod, and connect it to the Mac using a card reader. (3) Add a new folder to CF card; call it "Remove" (for reasons explained later). (4) Using Finder, copy large files (such as video files) to CF card, into that Remove folder; keep adding files until space used on CF card is slightly below the iPod's 58.41GB limit. I used 58GB, exactly. (5) Use a data "defrag" program to defragment files on CF card AND consolidate free space. All of the free space on CF card must be in one contiguous segment, at the "end" of the available storage space. So, I had 58GB of space used, all "below" the 58.41GB limit. (6) Add another new folder to CF card; call it "Do Not Remove." (7) Using Finder, copy files again to the CF card, this time to that Do Not Remove folder. Keep adding files to that folder on CF card, using smaller and smaller files, until there is absolutely ZERO free space remaining on CF card. (8) Delete the Remove folder from CF card using Finder, and empty the Trash. What you have now is empty (free) space on CF card, with ALL of it below the 58.41GB limit. (9) Put CF card back into the iPod, and use iTunes to sync it with iTunes media content, as you would normally.
Because files in the Do Not Remove folder are taking up ALL of the space above the 58.41GB limit, there is no way for iTunes or the iPod to attempt accessing the space above the 58.41GB limit, and cause that "fatal" error. I have been using my "58GB iPod 4th Gen Flash" this way for the past two weeks, synced with about 45GB of iTunes data, and there have been no more errors; it's been fully reliable.
Again, If you are getting a CF card to replace a broken hard drive in a 4th gen "classic" iPod, you should consider the 32GB version of this CF card first, to avoid this convoluted procedure. I added this explanation in this product review partly as a reminder (in case I need to do a Restore) of how to get it to work reliably again.
UPDATE 2: I again leave what I previously wrote alone, and add more info. This one is simple, if you use a Windows PC, or you use a Mac but have access to Windows. I'm a Mac user, but I can run VMware Fusion with a Windows XP virtual machine (under Mac OS X). I have the latest version of iTunes for Windows installed there. I did a normal Restore on my "64GB Flash 4th gen iPod," using iTunes for Windows. That re-formats the iPod's hard drive to use the "FAT-32" disk format (instead of the Mac's native disk format). Mac OS X can read and write the Windows FAT format, so it can be used that way with the Mac version of iTunes. I used the Mac version of iTunes to sync my iTunes library (as before) to the iPod. Surprisingly, it works reliably now without taking any additional steps. Doing a Restore using iTunes for Windows and then using the iPod that way on a Mac prevents the fatal errors previously encountered. There are no disadvantages to using a Windows-formatted iPod on a Mac, so this will be my solution going forward.
UPDATE 3: I recently purchased a different adapter, to convert compact flash cards for use in these older 4th gen "classic" iPods. It's sold on Amazon, and it's called
"Micro SATA Cables - CF to 50 Pin 1.8 IDE Adapter with Case"
Using this adapter (instead of the "generic" one I bought on eBay), I am able to get the Kingston 64GB compact flash to work in my 4th gen iPod with no compromises. It "just works" as expected, with no issues in doing a Restore or syncing using iTunes on my Mac. I don't need to take any tedious extra steps or format the iPod for Windows, to get it to work without errors with my Mac. I've been using it this way for more than one month now.
Both cards initially worked fine, but the first card died in about 6 months and the second just recently died after 8 months of operation. Both of the cards died in such a way that some data could still be read from the cards, but when reading from certain files would result in a solid drive operation light and an eventual hard unrecoverable lock from the system.
Thankfully in my case, I was able to spot recover much of the important data, tip-toeing around failed areas that would result in a hard lock. Other folks may not be so lucky, especially those that use this CF for digital cameras.
I have since replaced both cards with Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF32GCRBNA1066 CompactFlash cards as I really should have gone with a professional class card instead of a budget card for my application.