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Old Nov 30, 2004, 6:45 AM   #1
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Apparently there's a big difference in speed between high or ultra high speed cards and regular cards. How can I determine if the manufacturer's card is one of the very fast models or older slow models?

What companies, other than SanDisk,make an ultra high speed Secure Digital card? I know just paying a high price doesn't guaranty high performance. And so many rebates, sales, and promotions are tempting.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 7:12 AM   #2
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There is a big difference between slow and fast cards (slow cards may run around 2-3 mb/second, and fast cards may run 9-10 mb/second). But, this is really just the theoritical maximum (probably tested under ideal conditions). Also,many camera models won't take advantage of a high speed card (because they have bottlenecks elsewhere).

Some new SD cards (Sandisk Extreme III, and Panasonic Pro Series) have a rating of 20mb/second (about 10 times as fast as some of the Sandisk standard speed cards). But, it's highly unlikely that any digital cameras can use this much speed (yet). ;-)

Secure Digital was jointly developed byPanasonic, Sandisk and Toshiba. As a general rule,in larger (256mb or greater) sizes with Standard SD Cards, the Sandisk StandardCards are the slowest (by far), and the Panasonic Standard SD Cards are the fastest (by far).

Most other manufacturers are using rebranded components from these 3 manufacturers.In the standard speed cards, Panasonic and Simpletech are both very fast (9-10 mb/second), since Simpletech uses Panasonic Components.

However, you may find that these cards are more expensive than the newer cards based on the same components as the Sandisk Ultra II Cards (which are also very fast). Chances are, if you see a 60x SD Card, it's using the same components as the Sandisk Ultra II Cards.

Personally, I prefer the Panasonic or Simpletech Cards in larger sizes (however, they do cost more than brands based on the Sandisk Ultra II, and the Ultra II actually tests a little faster on most benchmarks, even though they are rated about the same).

Again, many models won't take advantage of faster cards anyway, so you may not see a difference in performance, depending on your camera model, by using a faster card.

From my perspective, I'd go with a fast card anyway. You never know when you'll upgrade to a model that will use the extra speed, and if you're using a USB 2.0 card reader, you'll get much faster transfer times with a fast card.

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