If you have ever tried shopping for memory cards you know how difficult it can be especially if you don’t know much about them! Here are some basic tips to help you buy the best memory card that suits your needs.
Know the formats
There are many different formats available in the market as far as memory cards are concerned. Having knowledge about these is critical before you start shopping otherwise you risk buying a memory card which might be incompatible with your PC, digital camera or other host device.
SD Cards are a highly secure stamp-sized digital camera memory card, which weigh approximately two grams. Brands available include Sandisk, Toshiba, Kingston and Lexar. SD Cards can be used in a variety of digital devices, including mobile phones, digital music players, handheld PCs (HPCs), digital cameras, car navigation systems and electronic books. SD Cards have cryptographic security for copyrighted data based on proven security concepts from DVD Audio.
SDHC Cards are the next generation of SD cards but offer increased capacities (4GB – 32GB) and faster transfer speeds of up to 6MB per second (Class 6). These memory cards are primarily designed to be used in digital camcorders and digital cameras. However, their large capacity does allow them to be used in many other devices for additional storage, such as the new Asus eePC and other laptops.
Mini SD: This is available in sizes ranging from 1GB, 2GB and even 4 GB. They are compatible with all smart phone devices with a Mini SD or SD Card (with SD adaptor) slot and even digital cameras.
Micro SD: These are even smaller than mini SD cards. They range in capacity from 512MB to 2GB and are the most common form of mobile phone memory due to their compact size. They can be used as an SD card if inserted into an SD card adaptor, giving you versatility to use them in digital cameras and other memory card devices.
Micro SDHC: These cards are the next generation of Micro SD cards but offer much higher capacities, from 4GB – 32GB, and faster transfer speeds up to 6MB per second (Class 6). They will be use in next generation mobile phones to cope with capacity hungry files, such as MPEG4 and MP3.
USB Readers: You will most likely require a USB reader for accessing data on your memory card. Today’s PCs often come with readers installed as standard so that you can insert as many as 5-6 cards at a time. This enables good compatibility with digital camera memory card formats.
Compact Flash: These are cheap compared to many other types of memory card, readily available and can be used with several different devices. Using integrated ATA controllers these memory cards enable file management, I/O, error correction functionality etc. Traditionally Compact Flash cards have been favoured by Professional Photographers as they are available in various capacities and have a very high file transfer rate. To enable many photos to be taken in quick succession.
MMC: Also known as multimedia cards these are the size of a regular postage stamp. They are easily integrated into different devices and consume less power compared to other memory cards, so are ideal for devices that need to conserve battery power for other functions. They are generally used in digital cameras, MP3 players and older Nokia mobile phone models.
Memory Stick PRO DUO is a versatile memory card, suitable for several device types, including digital cameras, digital music players, digital voice recorders and the Sony PSP. Memory Stick PRO DUO is also compatible with all devices that accept Memory Stick PRO. Simply use a DUO adaptor and the Memory Stick PRO DUO becomes the size of a Memory Stick PRO memory card.
M2 Memory Stick Micro, available from Sony, Lexar and Sandisk, is approximately one-quarter the volume of Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards, yet only about 1.2mm thick. M2 is designed as an externally removable memory card with a controlled eject function to prevent users losing their media, providing a secure storage solution for music, videos and photos. M2 Memory Stick Micro is also compatible with all devices that accept Memory Stick PRO DUO or Memory Stick PRO. Simply use an adaptor and it becomes the size you need.