Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flash memory storage: cards and drives

Last night, I found an 8 GB Lexar Jumpdrive with a USB 3.0 interface for US$6.98 at Target.  That was about US$10.00 cheaper than expected but it was on clearance for some reason.  It claimed 100 MB/sec read speed (almost 20% of my SSD read speed) and 15 MB/sec write speed.  If you keep occasional information that should be transferred elsewhere, that's good.  (I've seen a similar inequality used in cards targeted toward cameras.  What good is the cheaper price, if you can't get the shot because the card is too slow?)  Obviously, you don't want to use it as a disk drive replacement.  It also included a download and activation for System Mechanic, a repair and optimization software.

When I checked the price, it was actually US$2.98.  I looked at the USB drives in their typical location and the 16 GB drives with a USB 3.0 interface were $39.99, somewhat more.  The only reason this one was cheaper was that it was pink and white with Target-style targets on it.  If I used it in public a lot, I guess I might care, but if I'm using it to hand photos to a non-paying customer, it's not bad.

I've been having trouble with an SD Card I got from SanDisk back in March.  I bought two of their Extreme Pro models with 32 GB of storage.

I've been satisfied with SanDisk since 2000 when I started buying SmartMedia cards.  Moving to SD Card concerned me, as it's small, and rather flat, though not as flat as SmartMedia cards although those handled Megabytes of storage, not Gigabytes.  CompactFlash cards, what I use most, are larger, and have the potential to use better, safer techniques for assembly.  It's always easier to test the latest and greatest in a bigger space.  As cameras have changed, so has storage.  In 2000, just a few digital cameras were using Compact Flash, and as far as I know, SD Card have not yet been developed.  Now, below US$3000, it's difficult to find a current camera that uses CompactFlash cards.

I have a couple Sony SD Cards which go into my Olympus E-5, along with my SanDisk CompactFlash cards, but my Panasonic GH3 only takes one SD Card, so I chose a 32 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro card.  The card was giving me various errors after a short time.  Apparently, a bad spot in the storage array was causing the problem.  I requested a new card since they have a lifetime warranty.  The company wanted me to jump through hoops.  I tried various things, documented what I could, and replied after about 1 month.  They sent me a reply with a UPS label and requested that I send the card to them, at no cost to me.

After about three days, they replied that the card was in the queue for shipment.  I'll have the replacement about a week after I sent my original card.

While I never expected to have a problem with a SanDisk product ever, they resolved it nicely.

Update 2014.03.16: The SanDisk card has been great since then.  I've used it quite a bit, including photographing a basketball game, so I'm pleased with the exchange/refurbishment.

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