Comparison of memory cards

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[1]This table provides summary of comparison of various flash memory cards, as of 2016.

Common information[edit]

unless otherwise indicated, all images to scale
Card family Standards organizations Varieties Entry date Maximum commercially available capacity Picture[2] Main features
CompactFlash SanDisk I 1994 512 GB (CF5 128*250 bytes) Compactflash-512mb.png Thinner (3.3 mm), flash only, now up to 512 GB, although standard goes up to 128 PB since CF 5.0[3]
II Thicker (5.0 mm), older flash, but usually Microdrives, up to 128 PiB[3]
SmartMedia Toshiba 3.3/5 V 1995 128 MB Smartmedia card.jpg Very slim (45.0×37.0×0.76 mm), no wear leveling controller, up to 128 MB. This particular example shows the write protect sticker (the silver disc).
MultiMediaCard Siemens AG, SanDisk MMC 1997 16 GB MMC.png Slim and small (24×32×1.4 mm), up to 16 GB
RS-MMC/MMC Mobile 2003/2005 16 GB RS-MMC.png Compact (24×18×1.4 mm), up to 16 GB
MMCplus 2005 16 GB MMCplus.jpg Compact (24×32×1.4 mm), swifter, optional DRM, up to 16 GB
MMCmicro 2005 4 GB Mmc-micro.PNG Subcompact (14×12×1.1 mm), optional DRM, 16 MB to 4 GB
Secure Digital Panasonic, SanDisk, Toshiba, Kodak SD 1999 4 GB Secure Digital Kingston 512MB.png Small (32×24×2.1 mm), DRM, up to 4 GB. (2 GB and 4 GB cards use larger block sizes and may not be compatible with some host devices. See Article)
miniSD 2003 4 GB MiniSD Card 256MB.png Compact (21.5×20×1.4 mm), DRM, up to 4 GB. (2 GB and 4 GB cards use larger block sizes and may not be compatible with some host devices. See Article)
microSD 2005 4 GB MicroSD card.jpg Subcompact (15×11×1 mm), DRM, up to 4 GB. (2 GB and 4 GB cards use larger block sizes and may not be compatible with some host devices. See Article)
SDHC 2006 32 GB SDHC memory card 8GB.png Same build as SD but greater capacity and transfer speed, 4 GB to 32 GB (not compatible with older host devices).
miniSDHC 2008 32 GB SecureDigitalCard Mini.svg Same build as miniSD but greater capacity and transfer speed, 4 GB to 32 GB. 8 GB is largest in early-2011 (not compatible with older host devices).
microSDHC 2007 32 GB MicroSDHC-Card.gif Same build as microSD but greater capacity and transfer speed, 4 GB to 32 GB. [4](not compatible with older host devices)
SDXC 2009 512 GB SD card icon.svg Same build as SD, but greater capacity and transfer speed, 32 GB and higher. Standard goes up to 2 TB (not compatible with older host devices).
microSDXC 2009 512 GB MicroSD Card Bottom.svg Same build as microSD, but greater capacity and transfer speed, 32 GB and higher. Standard goes up to 2 TB (not compatible with older host devices).
Memory Stick Sony/SanDisk Standard 1998 128 MB Memory Stick 64MB.png Slim and narrow (50×21.5×2.8 mm), optional DRM, up to 128 MB
PRO 2003 4 GB Memory stick.jpg
(not to scale)
Slim and narrow (50×21.5×2.8 mm), swifter, optional DRM, up to 4 GB
Duo 2003 128 MB MemoryStickDuo32MB.jpg Compact (31×20×1.6 mm), optional DRM, up to 128 MB
PRO Duo 2002-2006 32 GB MS-PRO-DUO.JPG Compact (31×20×1.6 mm), optional DRM, up to 32 GB
PRO-HG Duo 2007-2008 32 GB Compact (31×20×1.6 mm), swifter, optional DRM, up to 32 GB
Micro (M2) 2006 16 GB Memory Stick Micro.JPG Subcompact (15×12.5×1.2 mm), optional DRM, up to 16 GB
XQD Sandisk, Sony, Nikon, CFA Standard 2011-2012 >2 TB DS7 4260 PK.jpg High-capacity, high-speed standard using PCIe as interface
xD Olympus, Fujifilm Standard 2002-2007 512 MB XD card 16M Fujifilm front.png Slim and small (20×25×1.78 mm), electrically identical to SmartMedia, no wear-leveling controller, up to 512 MB[5]
Type M 2005 2 GB XD card typeM 1G Fujifilm.png Slim and small (20×25×1.78 mm) but slower read/write, no wear-leveling controller, up to 2 GB[5]
Type H 2005 2 GB XD card typeH 512M Olympus.png Slim and small (20×25×1.78 mm) and swifter, no wear-leveling controller, up to 2 GB[5]
Universal Flash Storage Card Extensions Samsung UFS Card 2016 >256GB Packages the flash memory, currently soldered in shipping smartphones, into a removable card form factor. Uses the SCSI command set including queuing. The electrical interface makes use of differential signaling, which enables high bus speeds and robustness under noisy conditions and reduced pin count (compared to parallel bus alternatives such as UHS-II).
USB flash drive Various USB 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1 2000/2001 1 TB+ Geil David 1GB AB.jpg
(not to scale)
Universally compatible across most non-mobile computer platforms, their greater size suits them better to file transfer/storage instead of use in portable devices, up to 1 TB.

Physical details[edit]

Note that a memory card's dimensions are determined while holding the card with contact pins upwards. The length of cards is often greater than their width. Most cards show a directional arrow to aid insertion; such an arrow should be upward.

Memory card parameters.svg
Card Width (mm) Length (mm) Thickness (mm) Volume (mm³) Mass (g)[6]
CompactFlash, Type I 43.0 36.0 3.3 5,108 3.3
CompactFlash, Type II 43.0 36.0 5.0 7,740
SmartMedia 37.0 45.0 0.76 1,265 2.0
MMC, MMCplus 24.0 32.0 1.4 1,075 1.3[7]
RS-MMC, MMCmobile 24.0 18.0 1.4 605 1.3
MMCmicro 14.0 12.0 1.1 185
SD, SDHC, SDXC, SDIO 24.0 32.0 2.1 1,613 2.0
miniSD, miniSDHC, miniSDIO 20.0 21.5 1.4 602 1.0
microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC 11.0 15.0 1.0 165 0.27
Memory Stick Standard, PRO 21.5 50.0 2.8 3,010 4.0
Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo, PRO-HG, XC 20.0 31.0 1.6 992 2.0
Memory Stick Micro (M2), XC 12.5 15.0 1.2 225 2.0
XQD card 38.5 29.8 3.8 4,360
xD 25.0 20.0 1.78 890 2.8
USB varies varies varies varies varies

Technical details[edit]

Card Varieties Max storage capacity (nom. in GiB) Theoretical max. capacity (nom. in GiB) Max read speed (MB/s) Max write speed (MB/s) Read-write cycles Low-level access Operating voltage (V)[8] Controller chip[9] # of pins
CompactFlash I 512 128 PiB[3]
(134217728 GiB)
167[10] 167[10] NOR/NAND 3.3 and 5 Yes 50
II 12 128 PiB[3]
(134217728 GiB)
167[10] 167[10]
SmartMedia 128 MiB
(0.125 GiB)
2 1,000,000 NAND 3.3 or 5 No 22
MMC MMC 8 128 2 2 1,000,000[11] 3.3 Yes 7
RS-MMC 2 2[12] 2[12] 3.3 7
MMCmobile 2 15[13] 8[13] 1.8 and 3.3 13
MMCplus 4[14] 52[15] 52[15] 3.3 13
MMCmicro 2 1.8 and 3.3 13
eMMC TiB
(2048 GiB)
104 104 1.8 and 3.3 Yes 13
Secure Digital[16] SD (SDSC) 4 25[17] 25 3.3 Yes 9
miniSD 8 25 25 11
microSD 4 25 25 8
SDHC 32[18] TiB
(2048 GiB)
104 (UHS-I) 104 (UHS-I) 1.8 and 3.3 Yes 9
miniSDHC 4[19] 104 (UHS-I) 104 (UHS-I) 11
microSDHC 32[20] 104 (UHS-I) 104 (UHS-I) 8
SDXC 512[21] TiB
(2048 GiB)
104 (UHS-I) 104 2.7 - 3.6 [22] Yes 9
microSDXC 200[23] 104 (UHS-I) 104 (UHS-I) 8
Memory Stick Standard 128 MiB
(0.125 GiB)
128 MiB
(0.125 GiB)
2.5 1.8 3.3 Yes 10
PRO 4 TiB
(2048 GiB)
20 20 3.3
PRO Duo 32[24] 20 20 3.3
PRO-HG Duo 32[25] 30 (actual;[26]
theoretical: 60[27])
30 (actual;[26] theoretical: 60[27]) 3.3
Micro (M2) 16[28] 32 20 20 1.8 and 3.3
xC TiB
(2048 GiB)
60 60 3.3
xD 512 MiB
(0.5 GiB)
512 MiB
(0.5 GiB)
5 3 3.3 No 18
Type M 2 8 4 2.5
Type H 2 8 5 4
Type M+ 2 8 6 3.75
XQD 64 2+ TiB
(2+ GiB)
168 168 5
USB Full speed (USB 1) 1024[29]
(1 TiB)
No hardware limit 1 1 5 Yes 4
High speed (USB 2.0) 40 40
Super speed (USB 3.0) 240 160

Consumer details[edit]

Card Write protection switch[30] DRM
CompactFlash No No
SmartMedia Partial, sticker Partial (optional)
MMC, RS-MMC No No
MMCMobile Yes, secureMMC
SD Yes[31][32] Yes, CPRM
miniSD No
microSD No
Memory Stick Standard, PRO Yes Optional, MagicGate
Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo No Optional, MagicGate
Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo No Optional, MagicGate
Memory Stick Micro (M2) No Optional, MagicGate
xD No Partial [33]
USB Sometimes No

Compatibility[edit]

The following chart gives details on availability of adapters to put a given card (horizontal) in a given slot or device (vertical). This table does not take into account protocol issues in communicating with the device.

Following labels are used:

  • + (native) – A slot is native for such card.
  • D (Directly compatible) – A card may be used in such a slot directly, without any adapters. Best possible compatibility.
  • M (requires a Mechanical adapter) – Such adapter is only a physical enclosure to fit one card sized into another; all electrical pins are exactly the same.
  • EM (requires an Electro-Mechanical adapter) – Such adapter features both physical enclosure and pins re-routing as terminals are sufficiently different. No powered elements in such adapter exists, thus they're very cheap and easy to manufacture and may be supplied as a bonus for every such card.
  • E (requires an Electronic adapter enclosure) – These adapters must have components—potentially requiring external power—that transform signals, as well as physical enclosure and pin routing.
  • X (requires an eXternal adapter) – Technically the same as E, but such adapter usually consists of 2 parts: a pseudo-card with pin routing and physical enclosure size that perfectly match the target slot and a break-out box (a card reader) that holds a real card. Such adapter is the least comfortable to use.
  • XM (requires an eXternal electro-mechanical adapter) – Technically the same as EM, but such adapter usually consists of 2 parts: a pseudo-card with pin routing and physical enclosure size that perfectly match the target slot and a break-out box (a card reader) that holds a real card. Such adapter is the least comfortable to use.
  • Empty cell – Card cannot be used in such slot, no single adapter is known to exist. Sometimes a chain of adapters can help (for example, miniSD→CF as miniSD→SD→CF).
Card
Slot
CF CFast SM MMC Memory Stick SDSC SDHC SDXC xD XQD
I II MMC RS-MMC, MMCmobile Std PRO PRO Duo Micro SDSC miniSD microSD SDHC miniSDHC microSDHC SDXC microSDXC Std M H
ExpressCard E[34] E[34] E[35] E[36] E[36] E[35] E[35] E[35] E[37] E[35] E[35] E[35] EM
PCI Express Mini Card EM
mSATA XM
PC Card EM[38] EM[38] E[39] E[40] E[40] E[40] E[40]
PCMCIA EM[38] EM[38] E[39] E[40] E[40] E[40] E[40]
CF I + + E E[41] E[42] E[42] E[43] E[41] E[44] E[44] E[44]
CF II + E E[41] E[42] E[42] E[41] E[44] E[44] E[44]
CFast +
SM + X[45] X[45] X[45]
xD E[46] + + +
XQD +
MMC + M D[47]
MS X[48] + + M M X[48] X[48] E[49]
SDSC D M + EM EM
miniSD + EM
microSD +
SDHC D [50] EM EM + EM EM
miniSDHC D [50] EM + EM
microSDHC D [50] +
SDXC uscb D [51] EM EM D [51] EM EM + EM
microSDXC D [51] D [51] +
IDE PATA EM[52] EM[52] E[53][54]
Serial ATA E[55] E[55] EM
PCI Express EM
USB X[56] X[56] X[56] X[56] X[56] X[56] E[57] E[57] E[58] E[59] X[56] X[56] X[56] X
Floppy E[60] E E + M E E
Nintendo DS Slot-1 E[61]
Nintendo DS Slot-2 E[62] E[62] E[62]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Is TF card different from SD card?". Expert answer Question. 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  2. ^ Pictures are given in relative scales; they're sized to be WYSIWYG when viewing using 81 PPI monitor.
  3. ^ a b c d Compact Flash Association announces CF 5.0 standard supporting up to 128 PiB of storage
  4. ^ http://pocketnow.com/smartphone-news/why-do-microsd-cards-have-a-maximum-32gb-capacity
  5. ^ a b c FUJIFILM Global | xD-Picture Card and Adapters
  6. ^ Plexus Outbursts specifications
  7. ^ Apacer's MMC specifications
  8. ^ Voltage table at All Memory Cards, note that some cards support both voltages (and), and some cards are available in distinct versions (or)
  9. ^ Explanation of controller chip at All Memory Cards
  10. ^ a b c d CompactFlash Specification Rev. 6.0
  11. ^ ACP-EP Specifications
  12. ^ a b ACP-EP RS-MMC card features list
  13. ^ a b ACP-EP MMCmobile card features list
  14. ^ Transcend MMCplus 4 GiB
  15. ^ a b MMC transferred at up to 52 MiB/s
  16. ^ Maximum transfer speed is not defined by SD standards. Bus speeds are quoted.
  17. ^ https://www.sdcard.org/consumers/speed/bus_speed/
  18. ^ Toshiba Adds New High Density SDHC Cards and microSDHC Card to Extensive Memory Card Line-up
  19. ^ New 4 GiB miniSDHC card
  20. ^ http://pocketnow.com/smartphone-news/why-do-microsd-cards-have-a-maximum-32gb-capacity
  21. ^ http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/press-room/press-releases/2014/sandisk-premieres-worlds-highest-capacity-sd-card-for-high-performance-video-and-photo-capture/
  22. ^ https://www.sdcard.org/developers/overview/capacity/
  23. ^ http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/press-room/press-releases/2015/200gb-sandisk-ultra-microsdxc-uhs-i-card-premium-edition/
  24. ^ Sony 32 GB Memory Stick PRO Duo
  25. ^ http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666322869&tab=featuresTab
  26. ^ a b Sony Introduces Faster MS Pro HG Duo Card
  27. ^ a b Sony Memory Stick PRO-HG, up to 32 GB, 8-bit parallel transfer
  28. ^ SanDisk announces world's largest mobile phone card capacity with 16GB M2
  29. ^ http://www.kingston.com/us/company/press?article=6487
  30. ^ Write protection switch at All Memory Cards
  31. ^ Some early SD cards may not have a write protection switch.
  32. ^ The write protect switch signals to the host, which is responsible for write protection. The write protect switch is not connected to the internal circuitry of the card. (SD Card Simplified Physical Layer Specification)
  33. ^ Fujifilm accessories xD-Picture Card Archived July 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ a b DataFab EXP-CF
  35. ^ a b c d e f g DataFab EXP 12 in 2
  36. ^ a b DataFab exp 12 in 1
  37. ^ DataFab exp M2+microSD
  38. ^ a b c d Transcend CompactFlash-to-PC Card adapter
  39. ^ a b Transcend SmartMedia-to-PC Card adapter
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h Transcend 5-in-1 Adapter
  41. ^ a b c d Minolta SD-CF1 SD-to-CompactFlash adapter
  42. ^ a b c d Transcend MemoryStick-to-CompactFlash adapter
  43. ^ Sony MSAC-MCF1N and AD-MSCF1 PRO Duo to CF adapters
  44. ^ a b c d e f Olympus MACF-10 xD-to-CompactFlash adapter
  45. ^ a b c Hama xD-to-SM adapter
  46. ^ In March 2008, Olympus started shipping the MASD-1 microSD-to-xD adapter along with its latest compact digital cameras, with a shape designed to fit only in those latest cameras. The physical adapter is in fact purely electromechanical, although the xD and SD protocols are completely incompatible. This demonstrates that the cameras themselves must understand the SD protocol, and thus the adapter is more properly termed an electronic adapter, with the electronic logic contained in the camera rather than the physical accessory.
  47. ^ SD cards are usually thicker than MMC ones, and although it uses perfectly compatible pins, not every MMC slot may allow thick SD card to be inserted
  48. ^ a b c Dragon SD/miniSD/MMC to MS PRO Duo Adapter
  49. ^ KingMax microSD to MS PRO Duo Adapter
  50. ^ a b c SDHC devices are backward-compatible with normal SD cards. ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-01-03. )
  51. ^ a b c d SDXC devices are backward-compatible with SD and SDHC cards. ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-01-03. )
  52. ^ a b PC Engines IDE to CompactFlash adapters
  53. ^ Star Empery PT110 SD Card To ATA IDE 3.5 inch Hard Drive Adapter
  54. ^ 4× SD to SSD IDE Adapter
  55. ^ a b Accelerated Compact Flash: The Addonics SATA CF Adapter
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h i There are many USB-connected "n-in-1" memory card readers, for example Belkin's "Hi-Speed USB 2.0 15-in-1 Media Reader & Writer".
  57. ^ a b MS Duo and M2 adapters have appeared in the last 12 months which look like USB memory sticks
  58. ^ SanDisk @ CES - SD card with built-in USB adapter
  59. ^ A-Data microSD to USB Adapter
  60. ^ DCRP Special Report: FlashPath Adapter by Tom Beardmore
  61. ^ R4 microSD to NDS Slot-1 Adapter
  62. ^ a b c Supercard to NDS Slot-2 Adapter

External links[edit]