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Comparing Memory Cards

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/12/2011

In a comparison of memory cards, one must pay attention to the brand since the name usually brings with it a level of assurance of the quality of the memory card. Things get more technical when the card formats are involved.

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    Memory Cards Memory cards are gaining popularity due to a lot of electronic devices having built-in ports for them. There are also very compact storage tools that can contain a lot of data, so people who are always sharing data, those who need a lot of extra storage space, and particularly people who are involved in photography and filmmaking are very much in love with the idea of using memory cards. In a comparison of memory cards, though several brand names come to mind.

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    Memory Card Brands

    Some of the most popular brands of memory cards include SanDisk, Lexar and Kingston. These brands manufacture basically the same product. They offer memory cards in similar capacities, and of course, they adhere to standard formats. They do not have special features that distinguish one from the other. Basically, they only differ in price, read/write speed, and how durable and reliable their memory cards are in long term use. In tests performed, SanDisk and Kingston memory cards appear to have the same read/write speed while Lexar trumps both of them. However, there is an equal amount of patrons for these brands. It all comes down to brand name and personal preferences of people.

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    Memory Card Formats

    Between brand names, choosing the right memory card falls upon one's past experiences with a particular brand. However, in terms of format, it is the need of the individual that trumps brands. There are several formats of memory cards available, each having their unique compatibility requirements when it comes to devices.

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    Compact Flash or CF

    Compact Flash is one of the oldest memory card formats. It is capable of holding a lot of data and it is known to last for a very long time even with continuous use. It was one of the most widely used memory card formats in digital cameras until a new breed of memory card came along.

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    Secure Digital or SD

    Due to is compact size and locking tab that secures the data within from accidental erasure, the SD memory card format has most certainly taken over the reigns from the CF format. It is now one of the most widely used formats across different electronic devices, including digital cameras and notebook computers, most of which now have built-in SD card slots.

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    Mini Secure Digital or MiniSD

    A smaller version of the SD memory card format is the MiniSD. It is about 60% smaller than the SD and is most commonly used in smaller electronic devices like MP3 players, mobile phones and compact digital cameras. It is also compatible with devices with SD card slots, but it requires the use of a MiniSD adaptor.

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    Multimedia Card or MMC

    This type of memory card format is just like the SD format with the exception of the locking tab, making it less secure. Because of its similarity with the SD format and the lack of the locking tab security feature, it is likely that MMC will soon become obsolete.

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    There are other memory card formats, most of which are more exclusive than what we have already discussed. These more exclusive formats include the Memory Stick, which is exclusive to Sony devices, and the xD Picture Card format, which is only used in Fuji and Olympus cameras. The comparison of memory cards comes down to compatibility, reliability and security, which are offered by the most popular brands but not by all formats.

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    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution License