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SD card vs flash drive

(8 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by snowgeek
  • Latest reply from Lighthouse
  • Topic Viewed 5781 times

snowgeek
Posts: 1

Question of the week:
Can you please tell me the difference (usages) between a flash drive and an SD card available on my computer. Why are there these 2 different storage devices? Your article on SD cards was nice but missed out on this fundamental. Thanks. Andy.

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

snowgeek hi. You know what an SD card is. A flashdrive has many names, but it is a a USB device.

Posted 1 year ago
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Xhi
Xhi
Posts: 6298

The capabilities of the two are similar. However some devices take only one. Cameras for example do not use USB devices only cards. It just depends on which devices you are trying to communicate between. If either device will work it then depends and how you feel about them. I like the feel and portability of the self contained Flash drive. SD cards with a case are more cumbersome for me to manipulate and store.

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Also, on modern computers, you can normally boot from a USB drive, whilst you can't from an SD card.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

And USB flash drives are normally faster - especially USB3.

Posted 1 year ago
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LadyFitzgerald
Posts: 2232

Some of the higher class (i.e. expensive) SD cards are pretty fast. My Class 4 cards are about the same speed as my USB 2.0 sticks; I've seen cards as high as Class 10. I don't have USB 3.0 (yet, 'tis coming soon) to compare to but, considering USB 3.0 can be as much as ten times faster than USB 2.0, whs is probably correct about USB flash drives being faster on USB 3.0 than cards (he's usually correct anyway).

Usually, one uses cards in cameras, vid cams, phones, tablets, etc. that keep the device semi-permanently installed within the device whereas USB flash drives will stick out of the device and is intended to be used temporarily. A card, even when inside its little storage case, takes up less room than a USB stick but that also makes it easier to loose the thing. Every computer has USB ports but not every computer has a built in card reader. Portable card readers are available but are just somethiong else to lug around and keep track of.

Both cards and sticks have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on their usage. I have four Class 4 8GB SD cards I use in my two cameras (two are spares). I also have a Class 4 32 GB card I regret buying since it's safer to have several smaller cards instead of one to minimize data loss should one fail. I keep it in my purse, along with the two spare 8 GB cards I have for my cameras, to use as a back up drive for photos when on the road (all my portable computers have had built in card readers). I also have a lower class (not sure what class it is since it uses a proprietary classification) 1 GBSD card I use on my e-book reader). For just about everything else, USB sticks are more convenient and easier to keep track of.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

Here is some USB3 data. The first charts shows one of my own sticks. The second chart shows some other sticks (read operations).

But as far as SD cards go, Lexar claims that their new 256GB SD-XC card can do a read speed of 60MB/s.

Posted 1 year ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Thanks LF. I do use a slow SD card in my camera, and a slow one in my laptop (for certain backups). I guess it's want you want it for.

Posted 1 year ago
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