Hump Day Hardware: Memory Cards

December 17, 2008

Last week I talked about the usefulness of a USB flash drive. This week we’re going to talk about the flash memory cards used inside of digital cameras, mobile phones and other devices.

One unfortunate part of this product category is that there are multiple standards in the market. I won’t even try to talk about all of them. Instead I’ll focus on the three that seem to be the most widely used: CompactFlash, SD and microSD. Another flavor is Sony’s Memory Stick and I just have never used it so I don’t have any information to offer.

CompactFlash is often used in higher-end digital cameras. It is the biggest physical card and often the most expensive. If you are a photographer, you’ll probably want to have a large capacity card and probably several of them. A good choice is the SanDisk 16 GB Extreme III card which sells for around $85. For those who want one of the fastest cards available, the SanDisk 16 GB Extreme IV delivers, but also comes with a higher price. Sure, there are smaller cards available at lower prices, but I would personally stick with at least 16 GB so you have a card that won’t fill up too fast.

SD cards are also popular choices in cameras and phones. There is also a flavor called SDHC (high capacity) for those who want more storage space. The Kingston 16 GB SDHC card offers a lot of storage space for only $33 and change.

The last flavor is microSD which has an even smaller footprint than SD cards. I’ve not seen it used in a camera, but I’m sure it is. You’ll also find it quite popular in newer phones as a way to expand memory. My choice would be the SanDisk 16 GB microSDHC card which sells for under $65. Depending on your needs, it might be a good idea to have multiple cards to swap in and out of your device.

I think almost everyone these days is going to have a device using some sort of memory card. Make sure you get cards with plenty of capacity and speed!

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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