is storing data on SD cards a good idea?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by leafeon34, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. leafeon34
    OP

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    501
    280
    Sep 30, 2014
    Several times I've had my hard drives die from the dreaded "click of death". Lately I've been thinking of buying an external SSD, but today the idea of buying a 256 or 512 GB SD card instead came into my mind and I don't see any reason why not. SD cards are smaller and fit right into the side of my laptop. To my knowledge flash memory doesn't have any moving parts so they're less prone to dying like hard drives are.

    Before I go out and fork my money over I'd like to know if there is a logical reason that hasn't entered my mind yet that makes this a bad idea.
     
  2. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

    Member
    413
    552
    Jun 17, 2008
    United States
    Mirrors
    SD cards are generally long lasting (if you don't accidentally leave one in your pocket and have it go for a wash) and aren't subject to magnetic degradation, but there are caveats.

    The first of course is cost- you'll find that a 512GB SD card will cost you several hundred dollars, at which point you could get a dozen terabytes worth of storage space on standard drives. The second of course is that as card sizes expand, the readers themselves become somewhat obsolete. The earliest readers won't read SDHC, and then you have SDXC and so on, so just because your laptop has an SD reader doesn't mean it will actually work in the system.
    And of course, bear in mind that the flash memory in an SD card will still wear out after a half decade or so of good usage.

    So you have to ask yourself- is it really worth that much money to buy such a large SD card?
     
    Last edited by Muffins, Dec 4, 2015
  3. Santaros

    Santaros GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    197
    66
    Oct 5, 2013
    No that's a perfectly fine idea if that's how you want to go about things. Just a couple things to keep in mind, there is a finite number of writes, so if your going to be continually adding to it and want to be as secure as possible a HDD may be a better option. If you have data you want to secure and don't plan on touching it often, it would be a good idea to plug the card into the computer every now and again [say once a year, at least every few years] it won't retain data indefinitely and needs to be accessed to refresh it.
     
    Ammako likes this.
  4. spoonm

    spoonm Can count to 3.

    Member
    174
    84
    May 20, 2015
    Brazil
    If you're going to move files around, which I think is a reason to get a high capacity storage media in the first place, you don't want to suffer with an SD card's r/w speeds. They're awful for large or lots of files.

    I don't think OP would get a 256/512 GB SD card if not to move files around freely.
     
  5. bkifft

    bkifft avowed Cuthwaldian

    Member
    598
    266
    Jun 10, 2010
    Gambia, The
    If you only want to use it as an external backup medium the main reason against from my POV would be the price per gigabyte (double-ish vs SSD, 10 time-ish vs HDD)
     
  6. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Member
    5,341
    780
    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    You should probably also take access speeds into account. SD cards are much slower than SSDs, although I don't have any numbers to hand right now.
     
  7. leafeon34
    OP

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    501
    280
    Sep 30, 2014
    Well this being the case my best option would probably be to buy an external non-SSD hard drive and store all my data on both my internal and external HDD so if one dies I've still got the other. A lot cheaper than buying an SSD or a fucking huge SD card.

    EDIT
    Thinking about it a bit more buying an external HDD was the most logical way to go before I even asked the question. I was throwing logic away in exchange for the satisfaction of buying a fucking huge SD card. Haha.
     
    Last edited by leafeon34, Dec 4, 2015
  8. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Member
    5,341
    780
    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Ideally, keep the external HDD somewhere that won't be moved much/often. I've seen many people start taking their external drives everywhere only to see them crash long before their computer/laptop drives showed signs of ageing.
     
  9. NicEXE

    NicEXE GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    397
    123
    Dec 6, 2009
    Cyprus
    SD cards, (especially big ones (in digital space) ) usually perform bad at parallel reads/writes to the point where an old HDD performs better.

    edit: also, SD card are highly sensitive to higher temperatures so if you don't keep them at cryogenic temperatures, expect transfer speeds to drop dramatically.
     
    Last edited by NicEXE, Dec 4, 2015
  10. leafeon34
    OP

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    501
    280
    Sep 30, 2014
    Two of my external hard drives which I took around everywhere broke. One had the click of death. The other I lent to two different friends and it was returned to me broken. I never found out who was responsible.
     
  11. Citra

    Citra Member

    Newcomer
    30
    4
    Nov 29, 2015
    Malmo
    SD cards currently have slow transfer speeds. Perhaps a Solid State USB will fit your needs. Like a Vision Tek 120GB. Who knows mayabe wait for USB-C?