Run PC from Compact Flash using SATA Adapter

I’ve done something similar using an IDE adapter and compact flash (CF) but now it was time to try it out with a SATA adapter on a slightly newer PC.

The target was an Asus EB1012 net top.(The one that you can’t use an SSD with !)

Asus EB1012


I used a Kingston Ultimate 266X 16Gb Compact Flash card (£15):

CF Card


and a SATA Adapter (£10)

SATA CF Adapter


Both items easily found on eBay.

The HDD tray in the PC was too big, so once the CF card was inserted in the adapter I used a pair of tweezers to locate the adapter to the connections inside the slot and pressed home, then slotted the HDD holder around it.

Booted up with a Xubuntu 12.04 Alternate CD in the CDROM, and installation went without a hitch.

Rebooted and was presented with a complaint about there being no bootable device. I dived into the bios and changed AHCI mode to IDE mode and then the PC sprang into life.

Adjustments to fstab were to comment out the swap file, and add

to the HDD/CF line. Also added this line to /etc/rc.local

to prevent writebacks.


I got a read speed of 78 mb/sec. OK, not as good as my Crucial M4 SSD which gives 236mb/sec, but could be worse.

Time will tell how this all works. Intended use for this PC will be an HTPC front end running XBMC. The EB1012 was very quiet beforehand, now it is silent. Performance wise, the CF card is a bit sluggish compared to the SATA 250GB HDD, but once up and running there is little to tell them apart.

3 thoughts on “Run PC from Compact Flash using SATA Adapter

  1. Pingback: Digital Picture Frame & Clock on the Framebuffer! | METRIC RAT

  2. Hey! I see that the tutorial was published some time ago. Can you describe your experience with cf hard drive? Also, do you know what it’s for those two jaumps on cf adapter?

    Thank you!

    • The dpf has now been running every day for nearly a year now. No problems with CF as a hard drive, but then once booted up it is not having to carry out too many read/writes. I do not know what the two jumpers are for on the board, no information came with the board as to what they are for. I have also been running another PC on a sata to CF adapter running XBMC. Once this gets going it too is fine.

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