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Memory Cards

Memory Cards Buying Guide
Computer based storage is usually an easy solution, you hav...
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Memory Cards Buying Guide

Computer based storage is usually an easy solution, you have internal and external hard drives for the majority of storage and when you need to be on the go you can rely on your trusty USB memory stick. Our digital devices, however, are in an ever-evolving state with the different types of memory they support. We refer to these removable memory chips as memory cards - a very common term to most people these days. From our cameras to our GPS's and mobile phones, a growing number of electronic devices are now supporting some form of add-on memory media.

Secure Digital, Mini-Secure Digital, Micro-Secure Digital - One of the most widely used style of memory cards is the Secure Digital, or SD card. These compact cards are available in a variety of sub-types with capacities currently ranging upwards of 32gb per card (for a full-size SDHC card). One thing most people don't recognize with SD cards is that they come in two varieties; regular SD cards are available up to 4gb in capacity and SDHC (high capacity) continue from 4gb up to a theoretical 2048gb (although that capacity is impossible to manufacturer currently!). If a device supports SDHC cards then it will always support the regular SD cards too. In reverse, if you want to use an SDHC card in a regular SD device then CHECK CAREFULLY! SDHC cards will not work in most older devices that do not specifically bear the logo for SDHC support! Don’t purchase an SD card larger than 4gb without checking first that your device supports SDHC. Depending on the physical size of the device, SD cards come in three primary form factors; SD(HC), MiniSD(HC) and MicroSD(HC).

Compact Flash I/II - Compact Flash isn't as widely used anymore as it used to be, mainly due to it's significantly larger size when compared to newer and smaller SD cards. The difference between compact flash type I and type II is thickness; type I is 3.3mm thick and type II is 5mm thick. The increased thickness of type II cards allowed for manufacturers to fit microdrives into a compact flash sized enclosure, however, in recent years compact flash has been able to nearly quadruple the storage capacity of a microdrive. Compact flash cards are currently available in capacities up to 64gb. Their large capacities and reliability still give them an edge over the more preferred SD cards.

Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick DUO, Memory Stick Pro DUO, Memory Stick Micro (M2) - The memory stick family is a memory card format owned by Sony for use in their devices. It started out as just Memory Stick back in 1998 and throughout several increases in storage size, write speeds and decreasing physical size, it's two common variants on the market are now Memory Stick Pro DUO and Memory Stick Micro (M2).

Multi-Media Card - Although they look nearly identical to an SD card and will work in nearly all the same devices, an MMC card does have a couple minor differences. With this format being open for any company to develop, all a company must do is purchase a membership into the MMC association to begin making devices and cards for the MMC platform. It's downfall to SD cards is that it does not support write protection, lacks the ability to integrate DRM and copyright protection and is generally slower and smaller in capacity as well (although newer MMC card revisions are getting close to SD card speeds).

xD Picture Card - xD Picture Cards are a memory card format developed in partnership between Olympus and Fuji for use in their devices only (because of that there is very limited public documentation available about the finer details of these cards). xD cards are known to be a faster standard than Memory Stick and are also slightly smaller than an SD card in size. Their downfall is the fact they are only available in capacities up to 2gb and they are significantly more expensive than SD cards.

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