Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Silicon Power 32GB Class 10 microSDHC Card

Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Large capacity, good price, fast enough to record HD video from the phone
Cons: Comparable speeds to the Patriot class 4 card in my brother's phone

Since we had our son in May my fiancee has been taking loads and loads of pictures with her phone and quickly filled up the 8GB memory card she had. I decided that we would just skip getting a 16GB memory card upgrade and go straight for the 32GB card, which is the maximum amount officially supported by the Motorola DROID 4. I heard some people had luck with 64GB microSDXC cards if they were reformatted, but I didn't want to chance it. 

Newegg had a couple of cards in one of the email newsletters that week; one was a Team Group class 4 card for $16 and the other was a class 10 card from Silicon Power for $20. I have one USB flash drive from each company on my desk and I was unhappy with the speeds of both, so I decided to get the class 10 card for the extra $4. I figured if the speeds weren't up to par, they would still be good enough if I purchased the faster card to start with.
 
The card is a microSDHC card and comes with a microSD to SD adapter so that you can use it in things like laptops and printers that may have an SD card reader built in but not a microSD one. I do have a USB card reader that will take either one, but the old laptop we have will only take full size SD cards so it was nice that they included this. This also makes it possible to use the card in devices like cameras that take full size SD cards in the first place.
 
This Silicon Power microSDHC card comes pre-formatted with the FAT32 file system and has a total capacity of 31,902,400,512 bytes (29.7GB). It is a solid black, standard sized card (about 15mm long, 11mm wide and 1mm thick). It also has the standard notch on the right side so that it can't be inserted upside down. The included SD adapter is also notched for correct insertion and features the normal write-lock switch that you can slide down to make the card read-only until you slide it back up.
 
This card is designed for high-speed continuous shooting capability, and the class 10 speed rating means the card should write at a minimum speed of 10MB/s. Benchmarks were taken using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1c at the default settings. As we can see this card just meets the class 10 requirements for writing sequential and 512k random chunks of data. Good enough to write HD video streaming from the phone's camera anyway.
 
Sequential Read: 20.03 MB/s
Sequential Write: 11.90 MB/s
512k Random Read: 19.69 MB/s
512k Random Write: 11.38 MB/s
4k Random Read: 3.384 MB/s
4k Random Write: 1.321 MB/s

 
It's not a bad card and it does work well in the phone, but I'm a bit disappointed overall that the speeds aren't a bit higher considering it's a class 10 card. This class 10 card is comparable across the board to the 16GB class 4 Patriot Signature card that we picked up for my brother's phone; a little faster in a couple of the tests and a little slower in a couple others. It is fast enough that Windows offered to let me use it for Windows ReadyBoost when I inserted the card reader with the card in it.
 
The cards are RoHS compliant and fully compatible with the SD 2.0 standard. They have built in Error Correcting Code (ECC) and are rated for a minimum of 10,0000 insertions. They can be used in an operating temperature of 0ºC to 70ºC, and stored in temperatures ranging from -25ºC to 85ºC at between 8% and 95% humidity. These cards are assembled in Taiwan and feature a lifetime warranty. I'm fairly happy with the card in general, but I wish it was a little faster since it's barely an improvement over the class 4 card from Patriot. Three stars.

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