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Digital Memory Buying Guide

Apr 9, 2008
Digital memory devices let you store and retrieve data whenever you need. They are compatible with most electronic goods. Many consumers prefer digital memory devices because of their small size, durability and portability. There are many different types of digital memory devices in the market. It is always good to consider which kind of digital memory device is compatible with your electronics before choosing one.

How does a memory card store data?

A memory card functions electronically and uses flash memory, also called flash RAM, to store data on non-volatile memory chips. Memory cards have the ability to electrically erase or reprogram any recorded data.

What are the different types of memory devices available in the market?

CompactFlash (CF):

CompactFlash is in the size of a matchbox and is used in a variety of electronic devices, including PDAs, digital cameras, digital voice recorders and set-top television boxes. There are two models: Type I and Type II. The latter is thicker and provides expandable memory options. Type I cards will often fit in a standard laptop PC slot with the use of an inexpensive adapter and are also compatible with Compact Flash Type II slots. CompactFlash cards can be used in a PCMCIA slot if you have an adaptor. Otherwise, you need a device with a CompactFlash Type I slot.

SmartMedia (SM):

The SmartMedia is often called as SSFDC cards (Solid-State Flash Digital Cards). They are as thin as credit cards and about the size of a matchbox. They are specifically designed for portable digital devices such as digital cameras, portable MP3 players, PDAs and the like. SmartMedia is available with storage capacities of up to 128 megabytes. Some devices have slots for both Smart Media and CompactFlash cards. If this is not the case, you need a SmartMedia slot to use a SmartMedia card.

MultiMedia Card (MMC):

The MMC is a postage stamp-sized card used in mobile phones, pagers, video cameras, global positioning systems, portable MP3 players and PDAs. Their storage capacity ranges from 256 MB to 4 GB. Devices that use Secure Digital cards will also accept MultiMedia Cards.

Secure Digital (SD):

The Secure Digital memory card succeeded the MMC card. It is slightly thicker than the MMC card, has additional storage capacity and a digital copyright security scheme to store copyrighted data. This digital memory device is popular among many new PDAs, organizers, phones, and MP3 players. Devices that use MultiMedia Cards may also accept Secure Digital cards.

Memory Stick:

The memory stick is a storage device developed exclusively by Sony. It is most compatible with Sony products like digital cameras, portable MP3 players and PDAs. They have a storage capacity of 256 MB to 8 GB and support 1.1 and 2.0 USB for better connectivity. There is a special version of the Memory Stick with digital-rights management features for certain devices. This card is known by one of the following names - Magic Gate Memory Stick, MagicGate Memory Stick Duo Media, or Memory Stick PRO Duo Media. Users can share and transport data via their computer's USB port with the help of Micro Vault USB Storage Media.

xD Picture Card:

The xD-Picture card is the smallest storage format developed for recording, storing and transporting audio-visual information. In addition, xD-Picture Cards are designed to minimize power consumption and extend the battery life of your digital devices. You can use xD cards in a CompactFlash slot if you have an adaptor. Some devices have slots for both xD and SmartMedia cards. If the device does not have both slots, only a device with an xD slot will work with an xD Picture card.

What are Memory Card Readers and Adapters?

Memory card adapters maximize a memory card's performance by increasing data transfer speeds to 60 MB/sec. Besides the potential for expansion, memory card adapters have the ability to transfer data without having to connect the device to your computer with a cable. The memory card readers read most of the memory cards including all SD cards, CF cards, MMC series and much more. Most of the readers also offer writing capability and thus they function as a pen drive.

Which brands are most popular?

Memory cards produced by digital device manufacturers, like Sony and Olympus, tend to be quite popular with consumers. If you are concerned about the speed of your digital memory device, opt for brands like Lexar, SimpleTech or SanDisk. Lexar high speed cards, SimpleTech ProX cards and SanDisk Ultra cards have significantly higher speeds than most standard memory cards.

What are the handling instructions for using a memory card?

Do not remove a memory card from a device while data is being processed. It is advisable to switch off the operating device before removing a memory card. Also, you should remove a memory card from any device that is low in battery charge. Avoid touching the metal connectors of memory cards, especially those on Secure Digital cards, Smart Media cards and XD cards, to avoid electrostatic discharge of data.
About the Author
Bob Shanty has been researching and writing articles that help shoppers make more educated buying decisions and buy portable memory storage devices for online shopping
mega store BIGshop for years. For more articles by Bob please visit http://www.bigshop.com.au.
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