TechSpot

Best microSD and flash memory brands

By hellokitty[hk]
Feb 21, 2009
  1. I am looking for the best flash memory makers, I am hearing quite some mixed reviews on the internet.

    I am primarily looking for a 4gb microSD and an 8GB flash drive, but i thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with flash memory brands.

    The most important aspect I am looking for is reliability, speed is also an added important, but I won't really complain about price if the product is superior.

    Also I hear FAT32 can only handle files up to 4gb...so I will have to format the 8gb to NFTS?

    I would prefer newegg.
     
  2. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 609   +6

    Sandisk by a mile.
     
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    I also second SanDisk, Ultra II or higher, they are a bit pricy compared to others though. Also be aware of fakes, there are a ton of SanDisk fakes out there, so you are better off just spending what they actually cost rather than looking for a great deal on ebay or something.

    FAT32 can be used well beyond 4GB, but the single file size is limited to 4GB. As long as you won't have a single file over that size then you have no problem.
     
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    Yeah i think i might deal with files close to 4gb, thats why i want an 8GB, i might even go 16gb, I see.


    Well since sandisk seems unanimous, I think i will use either the SanDisk Cruzer Micro 8GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model SDCZ6-8192-A11 - Retail or the SanDisk Cruzer Micro 16GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model SDCZ6-016G-A11 - Retail, though its $56 at newegg compared to the $15 8gb.
    Sandisk's 4gb microSD is $20, about twice as much as others...O.o.
     
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    Oh. If you are going for actual flash drives and not SD or MicroSD cards, then I may change my recommendation. For the actual drives I'd avoid Sandisk because they use that U3 protection crap and have some custom partition setup on them and they are just generally a PITA. I've got a 16GB Patriot Dash that works fine, paid like $33 on Newegg several months ago, it should be even cheaper now.
     
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    I am looking for BOTH 4GB microSD, AND a 8gb+ Flash drive, and brand recommendations. Speed actually matters a lot more in the flash drive though...
     
  7. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie Posts: 85

    SanDisk is terrible, almost 50% of the failed flash drives I get in are SanDisk Cruzer Micro’s, complete junk. SanDisk loves to reinvent the wheel by introducing proprietary technology into their products (encrypting data on the NAND chip, creating new memory packages and interfaces) I avoid SanDisk like the plague.
     
  8. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    Oh really? I have a 2gb SanDisk, seems good. Why kind of failures are you getting?
    And I am still looking for a GOOD brand for both a microSD and USB flash drive.
     
  9. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie Posts: 85

    The majority of them are dead, or the activity led will blink for half a second and die. Their forums are filled with people complaining of the same thing.
    Many of the controllers used in the Cuzer Micro line of flash drives encrypt the data stored in the flash drive. I've been trying to break the crypto for a while with no luck.

    Flash drive wise, their all the same junk. Some manufactures use cheaper components than others. The two primary components of a flash drive are the NAND memory and the controller. Almost every manufacturer (other than sandisk) uses a controller from china (Silicon Motion, USBest, and Phison are popular), if your lucky the firmware is shipped with won't be buggy, many low end controllers (ie: ChipsBank) are poorly designed. Flash chip wise, samsung, hynix, intel, and micron memory are popular, most of the memory is certified to have many errors (its cheaper). If its a really cheap drive they'll use unbranded memory from those manufactures which has so many errors the company doesn't want to stamp its name on the product. The controller will remap error blocks, so many manufactures buy cheap memory with errors.

    Don't bother paying for quality, you won't get it. Speed wise, write speed will always be terrible, its by design, best you can do is find flash drives with more than one memory chip, data is stripped (think RAID0) across chips to increase speed, so the more chips the faster.

    MicroSD isn't designed for speed, you won't get it there.

    I'm tired, gnight.
     
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    I just bought this one:
    http://www.sandisk.com/Products/Item(2729)-SDCZ7-016G-A11-Cruzer_Titanium_USB_Drive_16GB.aspx
    I formatted it, but I don't quite understand the speed (advertisements) It seems to go like any other flash drive :confused: If anything, it takes a split second longer to show in My Computer from the many others I've used.

    Anyway, it's my first titanium drive (mind you, I've never actually broke one, but I've always though that they could break, if I was a bit more rough with them)
    I wonder how rough you can be with these things? bI've seen users just throw them on the bench, and no issue (they still work)
     
  11. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie Posts: 85

    Flash drives are pretty rugged assuming you don’t break the USB connector or damage the circuit board. Most failures occur because of power surges, controller errors, improperly removing the flash drive while it’s writing, or failing NAND memory.
    Hmm, according to this document for your flash drive http://www.sandisk.com/Assets/Categories/Products/card_capacitydisclaimer.pdf
    Flash drives have Cylinders, Heads, and Tracks.. Hmmm.. I always knew SanDisk was out there but I didn’t think they had miniaturized a hard drive into a TSOP48 NAND memory package.
     
     
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    As I said, Sandisk for the SD cards, someone else for the Sticks. Just take a look at newegg for the sticks, they (almost) all have the speed ratings, and then customer reviews.
     
  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    Ive come to distrust many reviews, especially ones that state "tech level high". I looked at an 8gb microSD with a good number of great reviews, bought it, and it died. Looked around, apparently that wasn't such a good choice :confused:. If you look through some of the reviews, you get noob answerers:

    Tech level high, of course...


    Anyway, I guess i will get a sanDisk microSD, and an OCZ Diesel 16GB Single Channel Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model OCZUSBDSL16G - Retail

    Thanks for all your suggestions!
     
  14. Dr. Vader

    Dr. Vader TS Rookie Posts: 118

    I have a nice PNY 8 GB flash drive that outperforms my Sandisk Cruzer by miles. I'd recomend it any day, considering it was a little pricier than the Sandisk it works perfectly and at higher speeds than the Sandisk. :)
     
  15. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie Posts: 85

  16. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

  17. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie Posts: 85

    OCZ 16GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model OCZUSBR2DC-16GB - Retail It says its dual channel too..

    I assume Single channel means 1 chip and Dual channel means two chips. If its two chips the data is stripped against both to speed up write times.

    Technically newer NAND chips allow writing to two different blocks at the same time which lets you stripe with a single chip however that's standard on most chips over 1G.
     
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    Well sure, but I didn't say to only look at the reviews. You have to use some judgement on this for sure. But with a bit of knowledge and judgement you should be able to figure it out, especially in the case of the flash drives we are specifically talking about.

    The transfer rates are listed on the specifications tab, then if you see something that you don't think is quite right you can look through the comments. There will almost certainly be people discussing the speed of the drive, many times with actual numbers and the method they used. Now those posts should have enough detail to let you make an informed decision on whether you can trust it or not.

    Of course you can't trust everything you read on newegg, but you SHOULD be able to get an idea on whether a post is trustworthy or not, especially when the entire point of reading them (and my suggesting for this specific case) is to look at how well real world transfer speeds compare to advertised transfer speeds.

    I feel like I've had to over justify every statement I've made in this thread and its a little bit off putting. I don't just make **** up and post here for the hell of it. If there are specific points of my post you have concerns about then that is fine, but picking on my suggestion of reading newegg comments is really not even the point here because these are a specific case where you can actually get useful information from them. I understand picking on newegg comments is pretty easy to do, and reliability reviews are some of the worst (for good information) on their site, but that isn't what we were looking for in your case, and that is not what I had suggested reading them for.
     
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,811   +921

    "Average" Tech Level, Yo, That'd Be Me......

    I always give myself credit for average tech level @ Newegg. This assuming I bother to write a review at all.

    My personal favorites, with regards to reviews are the ones that specify "high tech level". These usually consist of people who RMA motherboards 2 or 3 times, then realize their HDD is bad. Oh, don't forget the imbeciles who can't snap an Intel HSF into place. "I thought I was going to break my motherboard", or "Intel doesn't know what they're doing", always entertaining.

    I must be doing something wrong, since I buy cheap a** HP flash drives at Microcenter, then just plug them in and they work. Maybe God does protect, drunks, little children and people with average tech level. Did I forget to format? Do I have to install software? It's so hard not knowing, "oh the horror".

    Frankly, I'm hard pressed to figure out a use for a micro SD card. Wait, it's coming to me! I need it to install in some c*** a** mobile phone that I've been deluded into thinking is a TV so that I can watch and record a show while I'm driving down the interstate at 75 MPH. Ahhh, life (and death) on the cutting edge of technology.

    All that aside, I like the Sandisk SD cards, since that company is putting much of their effort into developing high speed cards for photographic uses. The new "Ultra 3" SD cards were developed specifically for the new Nikon D90, since it's the first prosumer DSLR capable of recording Hi Def movies. Here again, I just plug them in and they work, I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.:confused:
     
  20. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    Err yes actually its for a mini camera, cell phone, and DS :p.


    Oh I only ask because now i'm slightly paranoid, sorry.

    ANYWAY the i will get an OCZ rally2 and a sandisk microSD, thanks all!
     
  21. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    I have a 2 gig MicroSD (Sandisk) that I use for my Garmin 60CSx. So there are some uses outside cell phones :)
     
  22. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    Sorry to disturb you all, but newegg's sandisk microSD's are quite expensive (despite being cheaper than the official sandisk webites),I am willing to buy one, but I was wondering if there are any reliable sites out there with cheaper sandisk microSD 4gbs.
     
  23. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    What size are you looking at?

    I haven't checked newegg, but Walmart has a Sandisk Mobile Ultra MicroSD 8GB for $39.84 with an included microcard reader. I'm not all that up to date on these things, but that doesn't seem like a bad price to me.
     
  24. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Posts: 69

    Hi hellokitty,
    this is synchronistic, I actually started a flash drive blog a few weeks ago and am still familiarizing myself with all the different brands, specs and shapes too. It's amazing the variety you can find and I still got a lot to learn. So far I've only used pretty simple memory sticks but from what I can tell now Kingston and Corsair seem to have a good reputation and both offer flash drives with almost any capacity (up to 128GB). If you go to my site (see my signature) you can get a good overview of brands, sizes, specialities and so on. Heck, I even have a section for Hello Kitty flash drives. ;-) And as you can probably tell I don't share the "fear" of ebay because it's not like you have to go for the cheapest deal or some obscure listing. Actually it's a great place to find literally every type of USB stick out there, new as well as used.
     
  25. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,370   +125

    I personally think Kingston isn't very good, I have personally seen three flash devices were kingston has failed, those are also the only three i have seen.
     
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