Types of Computer Memory Cards

Types of Computer Memory Cards

Advances in storage technologies have been the behind-the-scenes movers of the digital revolution. From a few megabytes at first, to gigabytes of storage, memory cards have grown in capacities, over the decades. Here we discuss the various types of these cards, that serve as storage solutions.
We live in an age of computers, laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones that help us create and store vast number of digital files. These files include data files, music files, music videos, movies, and all other sorts of digital data. To save such vast quantities of information, the in-built computer memory is almost never enough.

Also, one needs to store data in such a device, that can be used to transfer information, from one machine to the other. Since the 1990s, memory cards have been introduced, that help in storing digital data. These cards come in different shapes and sizes, with different transmission speeds, as well as other features.

Different Types of Memory Cards

Since the last 10 years or so, many different memory cards have been introduced in the market. These are small portable storage devices. They are solid state cards, with no movable parts, perfect to be used in different devices, like digital cameras, music players, cell phones, etc.

Compact Flash
Compact Flash technology was created by SanDisk, way back in 1994. These cards have a memory controller and a flash memory chip. This chip was contained in a miniature casing that had a width of 42.8 mm and was 36.4 mm in length. This made it smaller than a matchbox. According to the dimensions, there are two types of compact flash cards available, that include:
  • Type I - 42.8 mm x 36.4 mm x 3.3 mm
  • Type II - 42.8 mm x 36.4 mm x 5.5 mm
Memory Sticks
The memory sticks, also known as MS or MS cards, are another type, that were created by Sony and SanDisk in partnership, in January 2000. These cards are based on NAND flash memory circuits and are really very small in size. They come in dimensions of 21.5 mm x 50.0 mm x 2.8 mm, and weigh just 4 grams. One can get access to data, by connecting the memory stick card with an edge connector of 10 pins. There are two types of these cards:
  • 'Normal' Memory Stick
  • 'Magic Gate' (for protection of copyrighted documents)
Multimedia Cards
Multimedia cards (MMCs) were together created by SanDisk and Siemens in 1997. These cards were based on a combination of read only memory (ROM) technologies. These cards are very small and come in dimensions of about 24.0 mm x 32.0 mm x 1.4 mm, and weigh about 2.2 grams. One can get access to data by connecting the card with 7 pins. There are two types of multimedia cards, based on different voltages:
  • Multimedia cards (3.3 V) that have a notch on the upper left hand corner
  • Multimedia cards (5 V) that have a notch on the upper right hand corner
Secure Digital
Secure Digital or SD cards were together created by Matsushita Electronics, SanDisk, and Toshiba in January 2000. This card is designed, keeping in mind, the latest electronic audio and video devices. It is based on a NAND type flash memory circuit. It is just 24.0 mm x 32.0 mm x 2.1 mm in terms of dimensions, and weighs 2 grams. The SD cards come in three formats:
  • Standard SD
  • MiniSD - This is a card with dimensions of 21.5 mm x 20 mm x 1.4 mm, for digital cameras and mobile phones
  • MicroSD - This is a card with dimensions of 15 mm x 11 mm x 0.7 mm for mobile phones and smaller devices. It is the smallest type of memory card available.
SmartMedia Cards
Toshiba and Samsung have created SmartMedia cards together. It is based on the NAND type flash memory circuit. It comes with dimensions of about 45.0 mm x 37.0 mm x 0.76 mm, and weighs 2 grams. It has become obsolete today and is only found in older devices that need memory cards which are larger than 128 MB.

xD Picture Card
The xD picture cards or eXtreme Digital cards were made by Fuji and Olympus in August 2002. It is based on a NAND type flash memory circuit. This card has dimensions of about 20.0 mm x 25.0 mm x 1.7 mm, and weighs only 2 grams. They are mainly used for digital cameras, and are being replaced by SD cards.

There are other cards that have become obsolete now, like Smart Card, MiniCard, and NexFlash. Hope this guide has proven to be a helpful read.
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