Feeling The Need For More Capacity?
Apr 19, 2007 (Updated Apr 19, 2007)
Review by Alan McCluney
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Capacity, relative speed, price (if you shop around), brand name.
Cons:The blister pack, not the fastest anymore.
The Bottom Line: You can pay more and get a faster card, but while speed is nice, this card is great for the right price.
I finally decided that I needed a bigger memory card for my little digital camera. I'm not at all a professional, I don't have a high megapixel camera, but I have been coming close to filling the card recently because I switched to the highest quality mode on the camera. Also, I've been using the video mode more, and that chews up memory quickly. My current largest card (a 1 GB PQI SD card), won't make it through a long trip anymore.
Recommend this product?
While shopping around, I found the SanDisk Ultra II 2.0 gigabyte card for a great price. I checked reviews, but only the smaller 1GB version was noted. My main worry is that it had to be fast enough to keep up with my camera in burst and video modes (my old SD cards cannot). It appeared that the 1GB version of the Ultra II was recommended, so I snapped this one up hoping for the same quality but with higher capacity.
Con First? Packaging
Normally I wouldn't discuss packaging with an item like this because almost all little memory cards and other small electronic toys come in those familiar blister packs. This card is no exception. The reason I'm noting it however, is because this blister pack is one of the more exceptionally impossible ones I've tried to open. There's no way to get the card out without good scissors, maybe a knife, and possibly a flame thrower (be careful with that last one). This review is my first where the packaging is the biggest negative, so I needed to note it.
The SanDisk Ultra II 2.0GB SD card is a standard Secure Digital form factor. It is a small black colored chip, with a data locking slider on the side.
Although I've only had this card for a couple of weeks, I would hope it's as durable as my other SD cards. I have a few other SanDisk cards that are over 4 years old now and which have been very much abused, yet still work great. Although I've only dropped this card once so far, on carpet, I would hope this card would be as durable as the others.
Falling into the high performance category in the SanDisk product line, this card is SD v1.01 compliant, making it a 'high-speed' card.
Here are the specifics of the card:
SanDisk Ultra II 2.0 GB SD Card
-Type: flash memory
-Form Factor: Secure Digital
-Capacity: 2.0 Gigabytes
-Speed: 10 mb/s read (66x), 9 mb/s write (60x) Noted by SanDisk using 'HD Bench' software testing
Estimated Picture Storage Capacity (From Package)
The following represents the number of pictures you could store on the card given various megapixel sizes and average space requirements:
-6 Megapixels @ 0.9 MB per picture = 2222 pictures
-8 Megapixels @ 1.2 MB per picture = 1666 pictures
-10 Megapixels @ 1.5 MB per picture = 1333 pictures
-12 Megapixels @ 1.8 MB per picture = 1111 pictures
Here's my quick explanation what the SD card standards are, and what the speeds mean
The speed of an SD (Secure Digital) card is based on a manufacturer agreed upon standard design for the SD card specification. A '1x' speed represents about 150 kb/s basic transfer rate. The first version of the SD specification, 1.0, allowed for the first SD cards to support about 900 kb/s, or about a 6x speed. (This was incorporated into the first 'standard' SD cards, so most original cards do not have the speed denoted on the packaging). The 1.01 version of the SD card specification supported a much faster rate, up to a 66x or 10 mb/s, which is considered 'high-speed'. Additionally, versions 1.1 and 2.0 of the specification followed which allowed for very fast speeds of 133x at 20 mb/s, and even 150x speeds in some cases. Later versions also provide for large capacity cards over 2.0 GB. (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital_card )
My basis of comparison for the 66x SanDisk Ultra II is my 133x 1GB PQI card.
My Digital Camera
Between the two cards, using them with my little Canon SD200 digital camera, I notice no difference in usability. In burst mode (a rapid succession of shots taken while holding the exposure button), pictures are taken and stored as quickly as with the PQI card. I'd estimate it takes about 2 or 3 shots per second, the same as the faster card.
With movie mode, my camera is able to capture a 640x480 resolution image at 30 frames per second. The SanDisk Ultra II is able to keep up with the camera as it records motion and sound for an extended period. I've tried this for up to 2 minutes so far. (With my old standard SD cards, after a couple seconds of recording, the camera froze and actually corrupted some of the images because the card couldn't keep up.)
File Transfer Test
Using my MobiMate USB 2.0 SD card reader, I am able to transfer stored files very quickly to and from my computer. But how quickly? I will attempt to clock the transfer of files into the card (write) which is usually slower in all SD cards. So if the write is good, the read will be slightly better.
(The following is a very unscientific test on my computer)
Using 500 objects with a total size of 261 MB, which includes a combination of large and small JPG images and a few AVI movies, I timed how long it took to complete the transfer to each SD card.
-Files: 261 MB, 500 objects (jpg, avi)
-Reader: MobiMate SD+
PQI (up to) 133x 1.0 GB SD----- Time: 1min. 39sec. for transfer
SandDisk 60x 2.0 GB SD--------- Time: 4min. 24sec. for transfer
For fun, I also decided to see how long it would take my 128 MB first generation SD card to transfer as many files as it could until it filled up
Sandisk ~6x 128MB (SD v1.0) Time: 4min. for 79 objects, 47MB (Until I got tired of waiting and stopped it. I'll estimate about 10 minutes for the full 128MB transfer)
The SanDisk Ultra II 2.0GB card is not the fastest card on the market, but it's still fast. While the 60x write speed is only half as fast as my 1GB PQI rated at 133x the SanDisk Ultra II writes more than 5 times faster than the original standard SD cards. (The actual write speed of my PQI is unknown. It's slower than 133x, but is probably close based on my testing).
In general, the SanDisk Ultra II 2.0GB SD card is more than adequate for my camera applications. With the exception of very large file transfers, the speed difference is not noticeable. The biggest factor (other than the killer blister pack) is price. I paid an exceptionally low price on sale for this card, so shop around. If you find a good price, you'll get a very good card from a brand name manufacturer at a speed much faster than standard SD. Plus you will get a good 2GB capacity, which should last for quite a while... or at least until you feel the need for even more capacity.
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