How reliable are memory cards
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Sep 10, 2007

Recently I stumbled on the idea, that I could use the inbuilt slot for memory cards on my laptop for working TMs. So if the machine or the harddrive crashes I need not to worry, just remove the card and put it into the next machine and ask the customer to send me the files again. No backup issue anymore. All my TM are now in one folder of 220 Mb, so a 1 Gb card for 15 Euro would serve me for the rest of the decade.

But does anyone know, how reliable memory cards are compared to harddrives? And are there speed issues?

Regards
Heinrich

[Bearbeitet am 2007-09-10 10:50]


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:48
English to Polish
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Reliability Sep 10, 2007

Frequenting photography forums, I have encountered complaints of cards failing, photographs lost etc.

I have three memory cards for my camera, one in my mobile, one in my wife's mobile and two flash drives (a Kingston and a no name from a petrol station in exchange for loyalty points). None have failed me yet. The Kingston flash drive is three years old, the memory cards for the camera are 2 years old.

Any reason to use a memory card instead of a flash drive?

As to speed - the faster memory cards cost a lot of money, but I don't think the speed difference would be an issue for something used essentially as a back-up device.

Pawel Skalinski

[Edited at 2007-09-10 11:08]


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Michael and Raimunda Poe  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:48
English to Portuguese
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Compact Flash Sep 10, 2007

Hey I can´t say to much against them. Mine is working fine! I have a 6GB one that I use in my camera and for swapping files from one computer to the other. The other day my wife forgot to check my pockets, and I forgot to empty them, you can guess what happened! She put it through the wash and rinse cycle on our washing machine while it was connected to the usb device, it not only survived entact, but still works and without any problems.

Try soaking your hard drive in the wash!


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Nizamettin Yigit  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:48
Dutch to Turkish
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Some how reliable Sep 10, 2007

Hi
My first card wasn an optional item together with digital camera. It gave a problem in the first day.
Later on I bought a few USB sticks 512 MB and they have not given me a problem 2 years now.

This year I bought a generic, 1 GB SD memory card. It also gave problem very first day. I went to a chain store and bought 2 x 2GB (SD and mini) cards both are brand names.

I shoul also mention that read=write speed of 2GB cards that I have is quite fast!

If you have one of those fast cards you should not have a problem. Yet it may be wise to make back ups regularly. Work on card but save it to your computer after every project etc.

Good luck!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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All storage media have a shelflife Sep 10, 2007

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
But does anyone know, how reliable memory cards are compared to harddrives? And are there speed issues?


Several issues here:

1. All storage media eventually die. For important data, I always write two CDs, or two DVDs, or two flash drives etc, because... well... they break.

2. Flash drives die quicker if you use them a lot -- and by "use them a lot" I mean that the files on them are accessed a lot. This is why portable apps should ideally store their cache folders on the host hard drive, because continuously writing to the flash drive eventually kills it.

3. There may be a speed issue, but if you have ample memory then much of it will be retained in the computer's memory, right?


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:48
Spanish to English
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Backups Sep 10, 2007

Whatever storage media you use, make frequent backups (including occasional offsite backups). That should solve any problems in this area.

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:48
English to Polish
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We want proof! Sep 10, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:
2. Flash drives die quicker if you use them a lot -- and by "use them a lot" I mean that the files on them are accessed a lot. This is why portable apps should ideally store their cache folders on the host hard drive, because continuously writing to the flash drive eventually kills it.


Samuel, could you point me to some (sensible) evidence or studies on this?

As to optical media, I have had one (1) CD die on me in all the time I have ever had a CD burner, that is since the late 90's, I think. And it wasn't even one I burnt myself.
I am no fool and I also burn two copies of everything that really matters, but then, theoretically, those copies of CD's or DVD's should turn into coasters at about the same time. Is it not better to refresh your optical media every now and then?

Thanks, and sorry if going OT slightly.
P.A.S.


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TranslateThis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:48
Spanish to English
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nothing is 100% reliable Sep 10, 2007

My own (limited) experience:
1. My two 1 and 2 GB memory cards (SD) have never failed so far. I have been using them infrequently for about two years.
2. Incidentally, my 2 GB USB has just died (today). It has worked perfectly well for the last year or so and I've been using almost every day. But maybe the climate/humidity has something to do with its failure; I've been traveling quite a bit lately and I've been spending quite a lot of time in the rainforest...

Under normal circumstances any of the above should work fine. However, if you want to be extra careful, you may want to keep a back up file elsewhere; I always back-up the more important files on an external HD.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Proof... well, kinda Sep 10, 2007

PAS wrote:
Samuel, could you point me to some (sensible) evidence or studies on this?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory#Endurance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_state_drive#Disadvantages

http://www.softwaretalks.com/category/data-management/

http://opera-usb.com/faq_en.htm

As to optical media, I have had one (1) CD die on me in all the time I have ever had a CD burner, that is since the late 90's, I think.


I've had quite a few of them die, and even after at the time of writing them they were "tested" and found by the software to be "error-free", some of them still got CRC errors after a few months, which meant data loss. This is also why I don't zip up everything into a single file before writing it, because if the disk error is where the zip file is written, you lose everything inside the zip file. I do use the zip file method for flash drives, though, because it speeds up writing the file to the drive.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:48
English to Polish
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@Samuel Sep 11, 2007

Thanks for the links. Will have a read.

Another thing is to use brand name media. It's not a guarantee that they will be fail-proof, but I think you improve your chances.

And one more thing - I would advise against buying large capacity media.
If you buy an 8 GB memory card for your camera and it falls into a well, you lose up to 8 GB worth of photographs.

If you have several 1 GB cards, you lose just up to 1 GB worth of data.

P.A.S.


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 21:48
English to Indonesian
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portable app... Sep 12, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:
2. Flash drives die quicker if you use them a lot -- and by "use them a lot" I mean that the files on them are accessed a lot. This is why portable apps should ideally store their cache folders on the host hard drive, because continuously writing to the flash drive eventually kills it.


this is interesting. i've been using portable apps extensively now. it's pretty neat. you can just plug your flash drive, and have all your settings anywhere.
i know about the issue of 'dying young', that's why i usually backup my data everyday, and application every week.


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:48
Polish to English
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My 128 MB USB stick.. Sep 14, 2007

... is almost three years old now, has survived laundrying at 60 degrees centigrade and other instances of rather rude treatment such as plugging in/out without closing the application. No harm to the content.
This thing has more lives than any cat

AM


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Seems to work as expected Sep 14, 2007

Now my TMs are on the memory card and the files to translate on the harddisk. If the machine breaks down, I remove the card and put it into the next computer. If the card breaks down, I have the files on harddisk and can easily recreate the TM.
Speed is sufficient.
Regards
Heinrich


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