Why You Need an SD Memory Card

The first SD memory card was produced in 2000 jointly by Panasonic, SanDisk and Toshiba. Memory cards have replaced film in cameras and tapes in music players. They are used to store all types of data in all types of devices from cameras to mobile phones to GPS tools.

Today SD (Secure Digital) cards are used in more than 400 brands of electronics to store digital audio, video and photo images. SD memory cards are currently the most popular form of solid-state portable digital storage.

SD Memory Card Types
Over time, the SD memory card has branched out into several different forms:

  • SD card: The original form of these memory cards became popular because it was smaller and more durable than compact flash disks, the former market leader. Standard SD memory card storage is smaller and slower than what you'll find on newer cards. Older devices that support standard SD cards usually will not support newer versions of the card.
  • Mini SD: Mini SD represented the first effort to shrink the SD card for use in mobile phones. Micro SD cards have replaced this format, but Mini SD cards are often sold with an adapter that allows them to be used in a standard SD slot.
  • Micro SD: The smallest SD format, Micro SD memory cards are roughly the size of a fingernail. These cards are most often used in mobile phones, but are also used in MP3 players and PDAs. Micro SD memory cards often come with adapters to make them usable in larger SD slots.
  • SDHC: This high-capacity version of the SD memory card provides higher storage capacity (up to 32GB) and faster speeds. Unfortunately, SDHC cards are not compatible with older, standard HD devices. Be sure to check the specifications of your device for SDHC support before purchasing one of these cards.

A Word About Speed
SD memory cards come in a confusing array of capacities and speeds. Access speeds are given a Speed Class Rating and are important for high-demand devices like digital SLR cameras. As a rule of thumb, if you have a point-and-shoot camera or MP3 player, you'll be fine with an SD card that has a Speed Class of 2 or 4. If you're using a digital SLR camera, then you'll want a camera SD memory card with a Speed Class of 6 for the best response times.

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