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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

  • • Codex Device Manager is available for macOS 10.13, 14, 15 and macOS 11. However, the software currently only works on Intel Macs and is not compatible with M1 Macs.

    The Device Manager software is necessary if you intend to use Codex High Density Encoding (HDE) on ARRIRAW data or if you want to use an SXR Capture Drive Dock. The software is not required for use with a Compact Drive Reader or Dock.

    • 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.
    • 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 Mac, Windows or CentOS 7 Linux with a regular USB-C connection, runs without an external power supply and works without additional software or drivers. For best performance, the reader has to be connected to a USB-C host machine, which can offer up to 8Gbps (up to 950 MB/s) copy speed.  Providing it is used with USB compliant cables or adaptors, it will also work with USB 3.0 hosts at reduced speed. The reader is stackable and contains a magnetic base, to hold stacked readers in place.

    • The Compact Drive Dock offers high speed data transfer and quiet operation. It connects to a Mac and Windows computer via Thunderbolt and provides access to original camera data without additional software. The dock offers up to 20 Gb/sec (up to 2,400 MB/s) copy speed over Thunderbolt 3. It is also possible to connect the dock to a Thunderbolt 2 host at reduced speed (but still faster than the USB-C Reader). Even though USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 share the same connector, the dock does not work when connected to a USB-C port.

    • If you have access to an SXR Capture Drive Dock or other Codex media stations like the Capture + Transfer Drive Dock or a Vault, it's also possible to load a Compact Drive with the Compact Drive Adapter. The copy speed is basiscally the same as with the Compact Drive Dock, whereas the Adapter costs less than the USB-C Reader. The adapter is good choice, especially if you are using ALEXA Mini LF alongside an ALEXA LF,  ALEXA 65 or ALEXA SXT.

  • 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 USB-C host machines. Providing it is used with USB compliant cables and adaptors, it will also work with other USB hosts at a reduced speed. To achieve the maximum download speed:

    • Only use USB-IF certified calbes and adapters.
    • 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 use a USB-C hub as a shared USB-port will result in a reduced speed. If a hub is used, it should connect to the host computer with Thunderbolt 3 so it can deliver enough bandwidth to its USB-C ports.

    The LED on the drive indicates the supply power that is advertised to the reader. While this determines the possible maximum data rate, it is no guarantee that the data rate can actually be achieved, as this will depend on the cable and or adapters that are used to connect the reader.


    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: 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. Providing it is used with a Thunderbolt compliant adapter, it will also work with Thunderbolt 2 hosts at a reduced speed. To achieve the maximum download speed:

    • Connect the dock to a Thunderbolt 3 port.
      Even though Thunderbolt 2 offers 20 Gbps bandwidth, the Dock will only reach about 50% speed compared to the Thunderbolt 3 connection.
    • Avoid that the dock has to share the connection with other Thunderbolt devices.
      Do not daisy chain the Compact Drive Dock to e.g. an SXR Capture Drive Dock or a Thunderbolt 3 connected RAID, but rather connect both devices to 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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