In part one of SD memory cards: Tips, hints and why you need one, we went over the basics of SD cards regarding storage size, speed, which ones you can buy, and the different types of these great storage devices.
In part 2 we’ll give some insights on accessories for SD cards, what to avoid when buying one, how to spot fakes, and general advice on how to take care of them.
SD card adapters
While it isn’t obvious at first, an accessory named an SD card reader is an essential gadget if you want to move, store, and write data to and from your computer. These devices don’t cost much and the multi-readers are compatible with just about every type of SD card sold on the market. These card readers usually range in price from $4 and up.
Always try to buy a name brand
Sometimes you’ll run across good deals on SD cards from off-brand companies that sound too good to be true—and you’re right, they are. Usually, while you may save a few bucks on these cheaper brands, the Internet abounds with horror stories of entire collections of digital photos disappearing on SD cards because they suddenly failed or refused to be recognized by the device.
Some of the trusted name brands are Sandisk, Transcend, Kingston, and Patriot.
Make sure it isn’t a fake
There are now overseas distributors of name-brand products, but just because it says Class 6 or has a 32GB capacity doesn’t necessarily mean that it really is. The only thing you have to go by is the printed classification on the SD card. And unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers on online sites such as eBay have plenty of fakes to go around.
As soon as you get your SD card, make sure you authenticate it before using it. This can easily be done by downloading a small software app that is compatible with you particular system or device. These programs will not only test the speed of you SD Card, but provide useful information such as the ID product number, and storage capacity.
One of the things prospective SD card buyers face is the lure of overbuying or purchasing an SD card that is faster than what they really need. In this case, faster isn’t always better because you’ll be spending more cash on an item that won’t necessarily provide better performance.
If your device can only read up to 4MB per second, it doesn’t make any sense to purchase a Class 6, 10 or UHS rated card. The only benefit is that you can brag and feel a little ego boast that you have a fast card.
Always unmount properly
If you connect your SD card with your computer, make sure you use the proper procedure for removing your card. Many computers need to shut down the card before you detach it. Not doing so can corrupt data or damage your card. See your manual for information on this.
Pick a card, any card
Having extra gigabytes can really make a difference in having not to worry about running out of onboard data storage. Take your time in shopping for one and you’ll be fine. If properly taken care of, these devices will last a very long time without any problems. Buy quality SD cards to save yourself any future grief. So pick a card, any card, as long as you know what you're getting yourself into.
Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.