Flash Memory Advantages and Options

by : Bobby George

Years ago, the amount of memory in the computer you are using to read this article would not fit in less than a room the size of the average living room. You probably wouldn't be able to afford such a sophisticated machine back then, either. However, technology is always making things smaller and cheaper. Now, it is quite possible to store all of your pictures, videos, music, etc. in one small hard drive. However, hard disk drives like the ones in most modern computers are only optimized for large amounts of somewhat non-portable data. These drives can have quite slow read/write rates that make for slow transfers of your data. In addition, unless you use one especially designed for portability, moving this type of memory around can cause damage and data corruption. There are definitely more appropriate options for portable memory, which is where flash memory comes in.

Flash memory is the type of memory commonly found in today's most popular portable devices such as cell phones, cameras, and music players. In most cases, this memory also comes in a removable format, most commonly in the form of a memory card. These cards come in several different configurations and designs and they range in memory capacity from 32 megabytes to 16 gigabytes. The most common flash memory card is the SD (Secure Digital) card, which fits in many cameras, music players, and camcorders.

What's great about flash media is that is has a much faster read/write rate than disk-based media options. You can load pictures, videos, and songs onto the memory card and take it with you on the go. A memory card rarely weighs more than a coin, and they are often as thin a a few sheets of stacked paper. Most of these cards are easily shoved in a pocket or purse and they are much more difficult to damage. This cuts the risk of a loss of data considerably. The ideal setup consists of a memory card that is compatible with multiple devices so that you can carry the same data everywhere you need it. This is sometimes accomplished with the aid of card adapters. For example, this memory card is designed for small portable devices but comes with an adapter so that it can be used with some other larger devices as well.

You may wonder, with all the different configurations and designs that these cards come in, how one goes about actually putting their data on one of these cards. That task is made simple with the use of a card reader. These devices connect to a computer through a USB connection, which is all but standard in today's computers, and is made to read many different memory card formats. If your computer does have a built in memory card reader, such as an SD card reader, some computers can even use the attached flash memory as RAM, which can speed up the computer significantly. The final piece of good news is that the prices on flash memory cards and readers are dropping quickly, so that larger and larger capacities are becoming available for lower prices.