Memory cards and flash drives may both be storage devices, but they’re completely different in several ways too. In this article, we share the 9 key areas where a memory card and a flash drive differ.
In this article:
- Speed and Transfer Rate
- Data Protection
- Accessibility and Usage
- Physical Size
Memory Card vs Flash Drive: How They Differ
Flash drives are compatible with any device or system that has a USB port. This includes computers running on Mac, Windows, and Linux. For these devices, you can “plug and play,” or simply insert a flash drive and use it immediately.
Also, flash drives are backward compatible, meaning the newer version supports its predecessor. The downside is, the older technology has the tendency to limit the newer version’s data transfer rate and power.
A memory or SD card is an integral part of devices such as mobile phones, cameras, and game consoles. SD cards, in particular, have different variations that come in different sizes.
This prevents SD cards from being universally compatible. For this reason, you may need to use a card reader to access data from different SD cards.
The storage options that a memory card and a flash drive offer also differ. The smallest flash drive storage available is 2GB, and currently, the largest one is a whopping 2TB.
Memory card storage starts at the same size as a flash drive’s at 2GB. For now, though, the largest storage size manufacturers can pack in a memory card is 512GB.
3. Speed and Transfer Rate
For SD cards, the SDA defines the Speed Classes, which refers to the level of writing or recording. They’re divided into the following:
- 2 MB/s – Class 2
- 4 MB/s – Class 4
- 6 MB/s – Class 6
- 10 MB/s – Class 10
On the other hand, each version of the USB flash drive offers an improved data transfer rate (DTR). The standard transfer rate of each flash drive version are as follows:
- 12 Mbps DTR – USB 1.0
- 480 Mbps DTR – USB 2.0
- Super Speed 4.8 Gbps – USB 3.0
- 1.25GB/s to 2.5GB/s – USB 3.1 and USB 3.2
If you’re looking for a useful device you can use as a promotional product, USB flash drives are worth considering. You can stand out by customizing the design of your promotional flash drive to fit your branding or campaign.
Here at Promotional Drives, we’ll let you choose among a wide variety of options, and we’ll deliver the specifications you need. We also offer an all-inclusive pricing and a 100% refund if we ever miss your deadline.
Anyone can use USB flash drives, and that’s what makes them such a versatile and ideal promotional product.
Customizing a memory card, however, is quite challenging. Because of its smaller size, it also comes with a smaller printing space.
You can create promotional items out of memory card readers and holders, which have a considerably larger printing area. If people from your industry use these on a regular basis, they offer great opportunities to promote your brand.
Flash drives and memory cards connect to a device differently as they’re also built differently from each other.
As the name suggests, a USB flash drive uses a USB connector to connect to computers or peripheral devices. Once it establishes connection, data transfer and storage can take place.
On the other hand, a memory card uses contact pins to establish connection with a device. These electrical pins work with the system’s circuit board to allow data to transfer easily to and from the memory card.
6. Data Protection
While you can protect your data both in flash drive and memory card, the ways of doing so differ from each other.
You can encrypt your memory card data by setting a password to protect your files. When you do this, though, you can only decrypt files by following these steps:
- Insert the memory card into the device you used to encrypt it (e.g. a mobile phone)
- Boot the device and enter the password you set during encryption
Remember that you can only access the protected files on the device you used to encrypt them.
On the other hand, you can protect your flash drive data through several ways:
- Setting up a password
- Equipping it with virus protection
- Biometric security
- Partitioning it between locked and unlocked data
All these add an extra layer of security to your important files. Accessing your files may require a bit more effort after setting these security measures, but it can ensure their safety.
Since memory card is a general term, we’ll refer to the different types of SD cards. These differ in memory capacity and file system compatibility:
- SD Standard
- Memory capacity: Up to 2GB
- File systems: FAT 12 and 16
- SDHC Standard (means Secure Digital High Capacity)
- Memory capacity: Over 2GB up to 32GB
- File system: FAT 32
- SDXC Standard (means Secure Digital Extended Capacity)
- Memory capacity: Over 32GB up to 2TB
- File system: exFAT
FAT File System Definition: FAT is short for File Allocation Table, which is a specific kind of computer file system.
Flash drives have different types depending on their data transfer rate and their design. Here are the different flash drive designs you can choose from:
- Wafer USB card
- USB wallet card
- Swivel USB
- Classic USB
- USB wristband
- Key-shaped USB
- Wooden USB
- USB pen
- USB bottle opener
- Metal mini USB
- USB clip
- USB lanyard
- Alloy USB card
- USB brochures
- Crystal USB
8. Accessibility and Usage
Both flash drive and memory card are portable. The main difference is, flash drives are removable devices, while memory cards are often kept within the gadget or console.
Flash drives are popular as a data transfer device. On the other hand, memory cards are often used to create storage space or expand it in devices, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and game consoles.
9. Physical Size
Memory cards, particularly SD cards, have different sizes that make them compatible for different devices:
- Standard SD card
- Dimensions: 32 mm x 24 mm x 2.1 mm
- Weight: 2g
- Used in: Digital cameras
- miniSD card
- Dimensions: 21.5 mm x 20 mm x 1.4 mm
- Weight: 0.8g
- Used in: Small mobile phones
- microSD card
- Dimensions: 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm
- Weight: 0.25g
- Used in: Mobile phones, tablets, small action cameras
These are the memory card sizes most often used in popular devices and gadgets.
Flash drives are also not boxed within a standard physical size. There are a wide variety of types of flash drives.
The physical size of each flash drive differs depending on how they’re designed and presented. Some may be smaller and more compact, while others can have the same size as a credit card.
Both memory card and flash drive have their own advantages. While they may have similar functions of reading, storing, and transferring data, your need for them may differ depending on the circumstances.
It’s important to know these differences so you can easily pick which one will meet your needs.
How are you planning to use memory cards and flash drives in your business? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below!