At the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) trade show, the three companies announced the creation of the SD Association (SDA) to promote SD cards. The SD Association, headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States, started with about 30 companies and today consists of about 1,000 product manufacturers that make interoperable memory cards and devices. Early samples of the SD Card became available in the first quarter of 2000, with production quantities of 32 and 64 MB cards available three months later.
Jump up ^ “Micron Collaborates with Sun Microsystems to Extend Lifespan of Flash-Based Storage, Achieves One Million Write Cycles” (Press release). Micron Technology, Inc. 17 December 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
Kingston Card Readers quickly transfer all your data – photos, videos, music etc.– so you can wait less and do more. They support a wide variety of formats, including microSD, microSDHC, SD, SDHC, SDXC and CompactFlash.
However, SD is much more open than Memory Stick, for which no public documentation nor any documented legacy implementation is available. All SD cards can be accessed freely using the well-documented SPI bus.
Speed Class*, UHS Speed Class** and Video Speed Class*** symbols with a number indicate minimum writing speed. This is mainly useful for camcorders, video recorders and other devices with video recording capabilities. Regarding bus mode, it is necessary to use a bus mode fast enough that does not affect memory write speed. C10 is used in High Speed mode or faster, U1 and U3 are used in SDR50/DDR50 or faster, and V60 and V90 are used in UHS-II mode or faster.
Jump up ^ Masuoka, F.; Momodomi, M.; Iwata, Y.; Shirota, R. (1987). “New ultra high density EPROM and flash EEPROM with NAND structure cell”. Electron Devices Meeting, 1987 International. IEEE. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
If you still need a USB-A card reader for your older computer, or you’re a photographer who wants a reader that can take both CF cards and high-speed UHS-II SD cards, the Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader is your best bet. The Kingston supports SD, microSD, CF, and Memory Stick cards, and it reliably transferred data at UHS-II speeds in our SD card tests. It also has a big red indicator light, and comes with a two-year warranty.
Secure Digital cards are ubiquitous in consumer electronic devices and have become the dominant means of storing several gigabytes of data in a small form factor. This device is extremely compact but big on compatibility within the SD memory card family. The unit supports the very latest in memory card format, SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity).
In our SD card test, the Unitek had read and write speeds of 92 MB/s and 85 MB/s respectively, which is about what we expect for our test SD card on a UHS-I connection. When reading and writing to the microSD card, it had speeds of 92 MB/s and 70 MB/s, and in our CF card test, the Unitek had read and write speeds of 154 MB/s and 144 MB/s, respectively. (These speeds also matched our expectations.) It can also read two cards simultaneously, although we noticed a significant drop in performance: Running an SD and a microSD card at the same time gave us read and write speeds of 59 MB/s and 49 MB/s, respectively. But otherwise the Unitek worked as it should, which isn’t something we can say about many of the card readers we tested.
If you need a USB-A card reader, or a reader that can take both CF cards and high-speed UHS-II SD cards, the Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader is your best bet. The Kingston supports SD, microSD, CF, and Memory Stick cards, and it reliably transferred data at UHS-II speeds in our SD card tests. It also has a big red indicator light, and comes with a two-year warranty.
Long before the console’s launch, Nintendo had developed and patented an early prototype of motion controls for the GameCube, with which developer Factor 5 had experimented for its launch games. An interview quoted Greg Thomas, Sega of America’s VP of Development as saying, “What does worry me is Dolphin’s sensory controllers [which are rumored to include microphones and headphone jacks] because there’s an example of someone thinking about something different.” These motion control concepts would not be deployed to consumers for several years, until the Wii Remote.
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A host device can ask any inserted SD card for its 128-bit identification string (the Card-Specific Data or CSD). In standard-capacity cards (SDSC), 12 bits identify the number of memory clusters (ranging from 1 to 4,096) and 3 bits identify the number of blocks per cluster (which decode to 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, or 512 blocks per cluster). The host device multiplies these figures (as shown in the following section) with the number of bytes per block to determine the card’s capacity in bytes.
There are two major SPI flash types. The first type is characterized by small pages and one or more internal SRAM page buffers allowing a complete page to be read to the buffer, partially modified, and then written back (for example, the Atmel AT45 DataFlash or the Micron Technology Page Erase NOR Flash). The second type has larger sectors. The smallest sectors typically found in an SPI flash are 4 kB, but they can be as large as 64 kB. Since the SPI flash lacks an internal SRAM buffer, the complete page must be read out and modified before being written back, making it slow to manage. SPI flash is cheaper than DataFlash and is therefore a good choice when the application is code shadowing.
Memory cards, just like your electronics, are an investment. You may want to take added steps to protect them. Plus, cases can help organize multiple memory cards while keeping them handy. Cases come in a wide variety, from simple plastic cases for individual cards to multicard aluminum organizers.
Some prosumer and professional digital cameras continued to offer CompactFlash (CF), either on a second card slot or as the only storage, as CF supports much higher maximum capacities and historically was cheaper for the same capacity.
The Transcend USB 3.1 Type-C Multi-Card Reader is our previous runner-up pick. It performed similarly to the Unitek and the Iogear, with SD card read and write speeds of 84 MB/s and 79 MB/s, respectively. It also works with microSD and CF cards, though its CF write speeds were about 15 MB/s lower than our top pick’s. Its microSD port had an issue with write speeds, too—when we tested two Transcend readers on a Mac, one performed at an abysmal 8 MB/s and the other at a decent, but slow 44 MB/s. In the same setup, most other readers gave us write speeds of about 60 MB/s. It has a legacy Memory Stick slot on its back (if that matters to you) and comes with a two-year warranty.
*The reason I wanted to get this review quickly published is because I wanted to help stop others from WASTING HOURS reading negative reviews about cards sold by other vendors that were maybe knock-offs, not the same as the picture, SDHC cards substituted for SD cards, etc. Simply look for “Sold by SanDisk” “Fulfilled by Amazon” in the product description BEFORE clicking “Add to Cart.”
If you are interested in an SD card for a DSLR, look at something like the Lexar Professional 600x 32GB SDHC UHS-I Flash Memory Card LSD32GCRBNA600. Since switching to the C10/U1 Lexar, I’ve been infinitely more happy with my camera. The Sandisk C4 32GB remains in my point and shoot, where it’s better suited.
Flash memory has many features. It is a lot less expensive than EEPROM and does not require batteries for solid-state storage such as static RAM (SRAM). It is non-volatile, has a very fast access time and has a higher resistance to kinetic shock compared to a hard disc drive. Flash memory is extremely durable and can withstand intense pressure or extreme temperatures. It can be used for a wide array of applications such as digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers, PDAs (personal digital assistants), digital audio players and solid-state drives (SSDs).
In February 2014, SanDisk announced a new microSD card, the MicroSDXC. At the time, the cards held up to 128GB. To enable this amount of storage capacity on a removable microSD card, SanDisk developed a proprietary technique that allows for 16 memory die to be vertically stacked, each shaved to be thinner than a strand of hair. At the time of their release, these cards had capacities ranging from 8GB to 128GB, with the prices ranging from $29.99 to $199.99. 
^ Jump up to: a b Lui, Gough (2014-01-16). “SD Card Sequential, Medium & Small Block Performance Round-Up”. Gough’s techzone. Retrieved 29 November 2015. Variations in 4k small block performance saw a difference of approximately 300-fold between the fastest and slowest cards. Distressingly, many of the tested cards were mediocre to poor on that metric, which may explain why running updates on Linux running off SD cards can take a very long time.
SD cards are not the most economical solution in devices that need only a small amount of non-volatile memory, such as station presets in small radios. They may also not present the best choice for applications that require higher storage capacities or speeds as provided by other flash card standards such as CompactFlash. These limitations may be addressed by evolving memory technologies, such as the world’s highest capacity SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD released in 2015.
The Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) format, announced in January 2006 and defined in version 2.0 of the SD specification, supports cards with capacities up to 32 GB. The SDHC trademark is licensed to ensure compatibility.
The SDIO family comprises Low-Speed and Full-Speed cards. Both types of SDIO cards support SPI and one-bit SD bus types. Low-Speed SDIO cards are allowed to also support the four-bit SD bus; Full-Speed SDIO cards are required to support the four-bit SD bus. To use an SDIO card as a “combo card” (for both memory and I/O), the host device must first select four-bit SD bus operation. Two other unique features of Low-Speed SDIO are a maximum clock rate of 400 kHz for all communications, and the use of Pin 8 as “interrupt” to try to initiate dialogue with the host device.
We were really surprised with this little USB SD/Micro SD/MMC reader. The design is reminiscent of older USB flash sticks and as such may be a little awkward when used on a laptop machine in one’s lap. It comes complete with a small cap to go over the USB port, and like flash sticks, can get lost quite easily, but that’s all we could find to complain about.
Rob, what do you see in your device manager? Type “Device Manager” in the Windows search area. Under Disk Drives, you should see something like the picture below. If not maybe a Triangle with an “!” inside it. Right click on it, and it should give you the option to search for a driver..
A malfunctioning SD card can be repaired using specialized equipment, as long as the middle part, containing the flash storage, is not physically damaged. The controller can in this way be circumvented.
If the SD card is integrated, the drivers for it will be amongst the motherboard drivers. Have you tried looking at the motherboard manufacturers website? Often times that driver will be bundled with other drivers.
The Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader was our former pick for USB-A ports, but Micron has since shuttered the Lexar brand. It was a little speedier than the Kingston when it worked—its read and write speeds were 27 MB/s and 12 MB/s faster than the Kingston, respectively—but the first two Lexar units we tested gave us only UHS-I speeds instead of faster UHS-II speeds on both Mac and Windows.
Paper data storage (1725) Drum memory (1932) Magnetic-core memory (1949) Plated wire memory (1957) Core rope memory (1960s) Thin-film memory (1962) Disk pack (1962) Twistor memory (–1968) Bubble memory (–1970) Floppy disk (1971)
Flash memory is used in enterprise server, storage and networking technology, as well as in a wide range of consumer devices, including USB flash drives, mobile phones, digital cameras, tablet computers, PC cards in notebook computers and embedded controllers. For instance, NAND flash-based solid-state drives are often used to accelerate the performance of I/O-intensive applications. NOR flash memory is often used to hold control code, such as the basic input/output system (BIOS), in a PC.
Jump up ^ “AMD DL160 and DL320 Series Flash: New Densities, New Features” (PDF). AMD. July 2003. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2014. The devices offer single-power-supply operation (2.7 V to 3.6 V), sector architecture, Embedded Algorithms, high performance, and a 1,000,000 program/erase cycle endurance guarantee.
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If you’re an amateur photographer, or just starting out, chances are the most important factor in a memory card will be capacity. The capacity is measured in gigabytes(GB) and determines how much your card can hold. A higher capacity can help you if you’ll be taking photos on a trip and are unable to transfer them onto a computer, or if you will be taking high-definition photos to be used for print making.
As discussed above, the memory card options available to you are limited by the device you are using it in. Each device has a discrete set of compatible card choices. Check your device carefully, as many cameras have multiple memory card slots, giving you more options of what cards you can use.
Several manufacturers make microSD cards and they consume different amounts of electrical power. Most are in the range of 0-100 mA at a supply voltage of 3.3 V. TwinMos technologies says that the cards carry a maximum of 45 mA during transfer. Toshiba lists 80-100 mA.
The WEme card reader offers SD and CF support, but it’s actually a USB-A reader that ships with a USB-C-to-A adapter. We think you’re better off using our best USB-A reader with our best USB-C–to–A adapter.