What are the differences between memory cards?

If you were asked a question that, “What type of hard disk do your computer use?” You will be answerless. You have never thought of the same. Also one question comes to your mind what’s the need to know the type. Following article will answer your question, and also make the difference clear. Currently in market there are in all 12 different types of memory cards available in market. They are as follows:

  1. xD
  2. TransFlash
  3. Smart Media(SM)
  4. Mini-SD
  5. SD (Secure Digital)
  6. RS-MMC (Reduced Size MMC)
  7. MMC (Multimedia Card)
  8. Memory Stick Pro
  9. Memory Stick Duo
  10. Memory Stick (MS)
  11. Compact Flash Type II
  12. Compact Flash Type I.

You will be just astonished by this list. This memory cards are classified on basis of there cost, physical size, reading and writing speed, storage capacity. 

Compact Flash (CF)
Image.1 Compact Flash (CF)

Given below is the classification given based on the above parameters; 


SD, MMC, Compact Flash are cheaper than other memory cards but this is sole factor related to market. If for example we will consider Memory Stick Card, now all the rights related to these cards are with Sony. So they decide the price of this card for other companies like SanDisk want to manufacture them. 

Memory Stick (MS)

Image.2 Memory Stick (MS)

Physical Size

Compact Flash is the memory card which has the largest physical size, and XD, TransFlash, Mini-SD, RS-MMC are the smallest in case of physical size.

Memory Stick Duo

Image.3 Memory Stick Duo

Reading And Writing Speed

When your data is saved on the card the gadget or the appliance using it writes the data onto it. Now reading and writing speed are different for different memory cards. Following is the table which illustrates the read and writes speed for different card for a data of capacity 28 MB; 

Memory Stick Pro

Image.4 Memory Stick Pro

Type of Memory Card

Read Time
Write Time
35 seconds
56.6 Seconds
Smart Media
35.7 seconds

1Min 2.2 Seconds

34.8 seconds

1Min 6.7 Seconds

MMC (Multimedia Card)

Image.5 MMC (Multimedia Card)

So looking at the table above it is clear that MMC card is the fastest of them all. But this table is just to clear the idea; the timing may vary according to the manufacturers. 

RS-MMC (Reduced Size MMC)

Image.6 RS-MMC (Reduced Size MMC)

Storage Capacity

Earlier 32MB and 16MB capacity cards were common, but now the capacity has increased to 4 GB. Today you will not see 256MB or 512MB card also easily, 1GB cards are the most common. This is the needs of today. If we consider a basic digital camera with resolution of 4 Mega pixels then each snap taken will be of size 1.5-2MB. Now just think if you are using 32MB memory card, at the most you can store 16 photos in the card. Now imagine how many times you have to empty the memory card. So as the need increases the storage capacity of the memory cards also increases.

SD (Secure Digital)

Image.7 SD (Secure Digital)

So now the difference between the memory cards must be cleared to some extend. While purchasing the memory card you just have to keep all the above parameters in mind and choose the memory card which is the most suitable for meeting all your requirements. 


Image.8 Mini-SD

Smartmedia (SM)

Image.9 Smartmedia (SM) 


Image.10 TransFlash 


Image.11 xD