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Codex Compact Drive™

Animation Header_Compact Drive
Made for professional production

The Codex Compact Drive is designed to support the demands of creative professionals working with the ALEXA Mini LF. It features a high speed, rugged PCIe interface and a solid casing offering strong mechanical protection and optimized heat dissipation. Original camera data can be accessed freely, on macOS or Windows, without additional software, using a cost-effective USB-C reader, or a high-speed Thunderbolt 3 dock.

File Access

Since we are using the ARRI UDF file system to record on Codex Compact Drives, original camera data can be accessed freely, without the need for additional software. It is possible to load a Codex Compact Drive in the cost-effective Compact Drive Reader (USB-C) or the high-speed Compact Drive Dock (Thunderbolt 3), both on a Mac or a Windows computer.

Using a Compact Drive Adapter allows you to mount the drives in an existing SXR Capture Drive Dock (Mac only), or any other SXR Capture Drive hardware from Codex.

40% savings of time and budget with High Density Encoding

Codex High Density Encoding (HDE) uses sophisticated, loss-less encoding to reduce ARRIRAW file sizes by around 40% during the offload from the recording media. While exhibiting a smaller footprint, HDE is not compromising on quality. Once decoded, the output results in a bit-for-bit perfect match to the original ARRIRAW file! HDE lowers storage costs, shortens transfer times, and speeds up workflows, which translates to direct savings in time and money.

You can apply HDE to ARRIRAW data from any of our cameras with the free Device Manager software from Codex (Mac only). The file format is supported by major studios and many standard post production applications. Codex also created a SMTPE RDD, which describes the HDE file structure and how HDE can be decoded. HDE can be used at no charge with Codex Capture Drives, Codex Compact Drives, and any Codex Dock or Reader. Codex also offers paid HDE license options which allow productions using ALEXA Mini and AMIRA cameras with CFast 2.0 recording media to benefit from HDE.

Compact Drive FAQ

  • It means that you need to update your ALEXA Mini LF to SUP 7.1.

    Codex has had to switch a component of the compact drive, which had become unavailable. This change does not have an impact on the drive's performance, reliability, or capacity, but it causes the drive to have a different electronic "signature". The camera therefore has to be updated to ALEXA Mini LF SUP 7.1 so the new Compact Drives are known to the camera and accepted.

    If you look at the serial number of the drive, you can easily tell if the drive is the original version or the revision:

    • The serial number of the original Compact Drive 1TB starts with ‘1’.
    • The serial number of the new version starts with ‘5’.
  • • Codex Device Manager includes the necessary software components to use an SXR Capture Drive Dock with the Mac. The software is not required for use with a Compact Drive Reader or Compact Drive Dock. It is, however, needed if you want to apply Codex High Density Encoding (HDE) to ARRIRAW data. 
    Codex offers Device Manager for Intel machines on macOS 11 down to 10.13. At the time this article was published, there was also a public beta for Apple Silicone (M1) machines.
    Note: As beta versions should be expected to have bugs that would be removed for a release version, it should only be used for evaluation purposes. If there is no way around it, you have to at least ensure that the software meets your requirements before deploying outside of a test environment!

    • Compact Drive Readers and M1 Macs: The substantially different architecture of M1 processors has been found to introduce compatibility issues with certain chipsets that can be found in many USB-C devices that were designed and tested on earlier processor architectures. The Compact Drive Reader USB-C is a device that falls into this category, whereby one of the chips used in the original PCB revision of this device (up to serial number 01052271) is affected by such a compatibility issue. Specifically, if one of these Compact Drive Readers is used on an M1 Mac running macOS 11.4 or lower when data is read from the Compact Drive the transfer will stall or fail.

    There is a temporary fix which still works under macOS 11.4: Connect the Compact Drive Reader to the Thunderbolt "loop through connector" of a Thunderbolt 3 docking station (with USB, Ethernet HDMI out etc). There is a good chance are that the docking station uses another USB-C host chipset that does not have the compatibility issues. As said, this fix may no longer work once Apple addressed the problem in an update to the operating system.

    Compact Drive Reader performance on Intel based Macs is not affected by the issue detailed above. 
    Compact Drive Docks, with a Thunderbolt connection to the host, are not affected as well and provide superior read performance.

    For more and up to date information about Codex products, please check the codex help center https://help.codex.online/.

    • Do not use tape on any sides of the drive! Even small amounts of residue can prevent proper thermal connection to the camera and cause the drive to run hot. Peeling tape off a drive may accidentally remove serial number labels (Compact Drive) or damage the plastic end cap.
    • Drives obviously should be kept away from dirt, dust or liquids.
    • Only place drives down on clean surfaces.
    • If not used for an extended duration, drives should be stored in their cases.
    • Make sure that the connectors are kep clean.
    • Never force the drive into a slot. It is easy to damace the connection pin if they are obstructed by small objects or if the drives are inserted upside down.
    • The surface of drives, docks and readers can be cleaned with lint-free cloth and 70% isopropanol alcohol (IPA). Wipe gently and pay attention not to rub the paint from painted surfaces of e.g. the Drive Docks or serial labels.
    • The connector should only be cleaned with an air duster to avoid mechanical damage to the pins. Anything that cannot be blown away can be cleaned off very carefully using a soft brush with some 70% IPA. Ensure that the connector is completely dry before loading the drive in a camera or reader.
    • Check the downloads for detailed cleaning instructions from Codex!
  • No. While the Compact Drive Adapter will fit physically into an ALEXA LF or ALEXA SXT, the Compact Drive uses a different command protocol (NVMe), which is not supported by ALEXA LF and SXT.
    The Compact Drive Adapter can be used to offload a Compact Drive in media station for ALEXA SXT, ALEXA LF and ALEXA 65, i.e. Capture Drive Dock,  Capture+Transfer Drive Dock or the Codex Vault/Vault XL.

  • There are three options for downloading data from the Compact Drive.

    • The Compact Drive Reader is designed to allow easy access to original camera data. It connects to computers running macOS (10.14.4 and later), Windows 10 or CentOS 7 Linux over USB-C. The reader requires no additional power supply and works without special software or drivers, offering up to 1000 MB/s transfer speed.
    • The Compact Drive Dock offers high speed data transfer and quiet operation. It connects to a Mac and Windows computer via Thunderbolt 3 and provides access to original camera data without additional software. The dock offers up to 2,400 MB/s transfer speed over Thunderbolt 3 or ~1200 MB/s over Thunderbolt 2 (with an Apple TB3 to 2 adapter). This means that even on an older Thunderbolt 2 Mac, the dock will allow faster over 2x faster offloading than the USB-C Dock, which cannot offer more than 450 MB/s on a USB 3.0 port.
    • Codex also builds an adapter that will allow you to use an SXR Capture Drive Dock, a Capture + Transfer Drive Dock or a Codex Vault S/XL to read Compact Drives. The copy speed is the same as with the Compact Drive Dock. The adapter is the most affordable and fastest option if you have access to one of the mentioned media stations. It's also a good choice if you are using an ALEXA Mini LF next to an ALEXA LF, ALEXA 65 or ALEXA SXT in the same production.

  • An older Mac Pro (introduced late 2013) does not offer USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports. To access Compact Drives, you can use:

    • SXR Capture Drive Dock Thunderbolt 2 with a Compact Drive Adapter.
    • SXR Captutre Drive Dock Thunderbolt 3, connected to the Mac Pro with an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 Adapter (works in both directions), with a Compact Drive Adapter.
    • Compact Drive Reader USB-C with a CalDigit TS3 Plus, connected to the Mac Pro with an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 Adapter.
  • The Compact Drive Reader has been designed to work with host machines offering a USB-C port. This port has to offer at least 10Gbps bandwidth (USB 3.2 Gen 2) and minimum 3A power delivery. The reader can also be used on a USB 3.0 host at reduced speed.

    To achieve the maximum download speed:

    • Only use USB-IF certified calbes and adapters. Non-compliant cables are likely to cause speed issues.
    • On a Mac, always connect the USB-C cable into the reader before connecting it to the computer to allow proper USB power delivery negotiation.
    • Do not USB Type C to A adapter cables, as most of them are simple charging adapters and some of them may drop your speed below 40 MB/s.
    • Don't connect the reader to a USB-C hub! All connected devices would have to share the 10 Gbps bandwidth from a single USB-C port and may not offer the required power, which lowers the performance.
    • The use of a Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) hub/docking station cannot be unconditionally recommended. Please ensure that the USB-C ports hub in fact can deliver 10 Gbps and 3A power with a quick test! Unless it’s already occupied by e.g. an external TB3 RAID, you may also be able to use the TB3 loop output such hubs. Be aware, however, that we also received reports that the Reader did not work at all on that port for certain docking stations. Apart from that, the loop output may already be occupied by e.g. an external RAID.

    When loaded in the USB-C Compact Drive Reader, the Compact Drive LED will indicate the power it is getting from the host system:


    Advertised host power

    Possible data rate


    15 W

    1000 MB/s or 8 Gbps


    7.5 W

    550 MB/s or 4 Gbps


    4.5 W

    180 MB/s or 1.5 Gbps

    Note: USB-C is great for connectivity, but you should be very cautious when you bring in new components and always check that they do not impair the performance of your system.It is not recommended to use USB Type C to A adapter cables, as most if not all of them only support USB 2.0, which will drop the copy speed below 40 MB/s.

  • The Compact Drive Dock has been designed to work with Thunderbolt 3 host machines.

    • On an older Mac with Thunderbolt 2 ports, it is also possible to connect the Compact Drive Dock with an (Apple) Thunderbolt 3 to 2 Adapter. This will lower the copy speed by about 50% (~1200 MB/s). This will still be much faster than the USB-C reader, which could only connect via USB 3.0 in this case and therefore offer about 400 MB/s.
    • It is possible to connect the Compact Drive Dock to a Thunderbolt 3 loop-through port on e.g. an SXR Capture Drive Dock or a Thunderbolt 3 connected RAID. This however, will be slower than using both devices on two separate Thunderbolt 3 ports.
  • Particular care should be taken, when the Compact Drive Reader (USB-C) or Compact Drive Dock (Thunderbolt 3) is connected to a Mac. Ideally, the Compact Drive Dock or Reader should already be connected before the computer is booted.

    When the computer is already booted, please always follow this sequence to allow proper operation:

    1. Connect the cable to the Compact Drive Reader (USB-C) or Compact Drive Dock (Thunderbolt 3).
    2. Connect the cable to the computer.
  • Yes, you can daisy-chain the Compact Drive Dock to the open Thunderbolt 3 port on the Capture Drive Dock. Sharing the same Thunderbolt 3 port on the computer, however, may reduce the connection speed.

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