A Guide to SD Card Storage Capacities

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SD cards are used as expanded storage in numerous portable electronic devices. Manufacturers design their products to include SD card slots and most laptop computers have built in SD card readers. Choosing the right SD card to fit your needs may not be as easy as simply grabbing the first SD card off the shelf and inserting it into your favorite electronic device. There are several things to consider when buying an SD card.

The first thing most people think about when shopping for an SD card is capacity. Capacity is how much storage space a SD card has. The capacity is often displayed on the card itself as well as the packaging. Most cards measure their capacity in GB (gigabytes). There are a few SD card makers who offer SD cards with 1 TB (terabyte) or 2 TB capacities.

Generally speaking, the larger the capacity the more expensive the SD card will be to purchase. It is important to realize that bigger is not necessarily better. Most devices are not compatible with a 1 TB SD card. These super high capacity cards have special hardware requirements and most devices are not designed with hardware that meets these demanding standards. Every device is rated to work with SD cards in a specific capacity range. Consult the manual that came with your device to find out what SD card capacities your device will work with.

The next consideration is the SD card format. There are four formats available:

SDSC is the standard capacity card. Generally, the SDSC card range from 1 GB to 4 GB of storage space. Almost all devices are capable of working with SDSC cards although, some older devices may not be able to work with SDSC cards with storage capacities over 1GB because the hardware used to build the device was not designed to work with extended storage devices larger than 1 GB.

SDHC is the high capacity format. These SDHC cards will have storage capacities ranging from 1GB to 32 GB. It is important to verify that your device will work with an SDHC card. The SDHC standard is not compatible with all hardware, so check your devices manual before purchasing a SDHC card for it.

SDXC is the extended capacity card format. SDXC cards have storage capacities ranging from 8 GB to 2 TB. SDXC cards have very specific hardware and operating system requirements. Even if your digital camera, MP3 player or other electronic device is compatible with an SDXC card, your computer may not be able to work with it.

SDIO cards support input / output functions like modems, bar code readers, TV tuners and GPS receivers. The SDIO card is normally partitioned in two. One partition supports normal storage requirements like the above mentioned SD cards. The second partition supports the I/O functions. Palm devices, tablets and mobile phones are the types of devices that might support SDIO cards.