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SD Card vs USB Drive for Speed

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Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
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SD Card vs USB Drive for Speed

Getting ready to start doing the "ride the bus" commute again, and this time planning to take the laptop with. I was thinking my 8GB SD Card would have a lower profile (not stick out as much) as my USB stick. But what would the speed be like? Should I assume similar or... ?

LOGAN-Portable's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 2007-09-11 12:24
First of all, the 8GB is

First of all, the 8GB is called SDHC card. The speed of cards differ much depending on the brand and version. There are special 'high speed' versions available for cards that offer higher read/write speed.

For exact information you should search for compare tests and tables which will give you a bit more insight into the performance of read/write/erease speeds of different cards.

I don't know if these cards handle faster max speeds than USB connectors though.

Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 2007-10-05 14:53
So I have an SDHC Class 6

So I have an SDHC Class 6 Transcend Card versus an 8GB Micru Cruzer USB stick. From looking on Google, it looks like no one has actually done speed tests of this sort since about 2005 (when the sizes of each were different). So I guess I just have to try it and see...

Steve Lamerton
Steve Lamerton's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2005-12-10 15:22

to Wikipedia class 6 means at least 6MB/s which is a fair bit slower than many USB drives. You might also want to check out the speeds bit further up the page.

Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 2007-10-05 14:53
Well, one man's opinion here,

Well, one man's opinion here, but having copied the files and done the experiment, the SD card certainly feels snappier. Whether that says something about how my HP is setup, how Transcend rates their SDHC cards, or how the Micro Cruzer works is another story.

In any event, I'll try to update here if after a couple days I notice any change. At least for the moment, I'm rather pleased with this setup. Again, it's not just that it appears a tad faster, but the card barely sticks out compared to the USB stick.


Last seen: 6 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 2006-04-03 21:59

Unfortuntely there is no easy answer. What I have found is that SD card readers vary considerably. My HP laptop has a built-in SD card reader and I have a number of external readers. Using the same card in each of them I have seen a wide variation in read speed. What I found was that the built in reader was among the slowest.

What I would suggest is to try both and see if you can live with the SD card speed relative to the stick.


Last seen: 4 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 2012-06-12 14:15

SD is faster at writing (that's why they are used for cameras) and USB is faster at reading. I use my [mention of illegal software suite removed] with a Panasonic SDHC card, class 4 on my netbook MSI Wind 100 and am happy as it does not stick out as much, as a USB key, as you already mentioned. Look at the video on youtube on a small test someone made and another one explaining SD card classes that explains that the higher the SD card class, the faster it should be.

using a SDHC card with portableapps on own apps folder

Last seen: 1 day 21 hours ago
Joined: 2009-01-17 19:30
Not all flash drives are the

Not all flash drives are the same. That first video compares a SD card with a Sandisk Cruzer. The low-end Cruzers have terrible write speed.

An 8GB Cruzer that I bought has a tested sequential read speed of 19.17 MB/s and a write speed of 4.30 MB/s.

My OCZ Diesel (Still a fairly cheap usb 2.0 drive) gets speeds of 31.23 and 14.93 MB/s respectively. That's quite a bit faster write speed than any SD card that I've tested. It's still very slow compared to some of the new USB 3.0 drives.

Of the dozen or so drives I've tested, the Sandisk was second slowest. The only one worse was an old PNY flash drive.

Spend an extra buck or two, you can get much better performance.

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