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Thread: Which SD Card to Get?

  1. #31
    Member RemyL75's Avatar
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    I have been using a SanDisk 64GB card since December 2012. Initially in my Galaxy Note 10.1, then my Note 2 and now my Note 3. No issues whatsoever. Also using the SanDisk 128GB card in my Note Pro 12.2 and so far no issues.

  2. #32
    Member FirstLight's Avatar
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    Greetings,

    I've used a lot of flash memory of many different makes over the years. One of my professions is photography and I burn through flash memory like candy. I've come to rely on SanDisk for its performance, longevity and warranty. I exclusively use SanDisk flash memory in all my gear now. (As I write, I've got 2, 8, 32 and 64 GB microSD cards from SanDisk of varying speed ratings.) Both my wife's and my Note II phones have 64 GB microSD SanDisk Ultra XC cards. They are both Class 10 and have been heavily used for over a year with zero trouble.


    Fake SanDisk
    But there is one very serious issue regarding the purchase of a SanDisk flash memory card: They are the most counterfeited memory cards in the world. There is a good reason for this: SanDisk is king! Their memory cards are often considered the best and SanDisk holds more patents in the flash memory field that anyone else, forcing their competitors to pay royalties to them (which they hate). The counterfeiting is a huge problem and cannot be overestimated. I know SanDisk cards pretty well and can usually spot a counterfeit on sight. Most SanDisk cards sold on eBay and many SanDisk cards sold on Amazon are fakes. The buyer must truly beware when buying a SanDisk card.

    The counterfeiting takes many forms...

    1 - Some fakes are actual SanDisk cards that have been relabeled with a higher capacity. For example, a 16 GB card is relabeled as a 32 GB card. Some even have hacked firmware that will report the higher capacity. But memory diagnostic software can often identify the true capacity of the card.
    2 - Some fakes are manufacturing rejects that didn't pass SanDisk quality control. They may work okay under some conditions, then become intermittent and fail.
    3 - But many fakes are lesser cards made in pirate factories and labeled to look like SanDisk. The cards may work for a while then fail early. They may not be as fast as advertised. Et cetera.

    The safest way to buy SanDisk is to buy from a reputable seller who is authorized by SanDisk. That way you will have a warranty from SanDisk. SanDisk has excellent support and will quickly replace a faulty card---if it is really their card. And it's a good idea to go to SanDisk's own website (www.sandisk.com) where you can see photos of true SanDisk cards.

    If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is not a real SanDisk.


    Always format your cards in the device...
    Another issue can arise from not formatting your flash memory cards in the device in which they will be used. In my experience, it is never a good idea to write to a card until after it is formatted in the device where it will be used. In the case of our Note II phones, launch the Android System menu and go to "Storage". Scroll to the bottom and tap "Format SD card".

    Note: Formatting the microSD card will "delete" any files that are presently on it. So, if your memory card came from the factory with an app or other files that you want to keep, copy them to a computer or the internal memory in your Note II before you format the card.

    Formatting the microSD card resets its FAT (file allocation table) and makes sure that it perfectly matches the expectations of your Note II phone. It also initializes a few system folders and files onto the card. Once the card has been formatted in your phone, do not allow it to be formatted anywhere else (like a computer).

    I also reformat the microSD cards in our phones every time we accept an OTA update of Android. I'll copy all of the files from my cards to a PC first. That way I can copy them back after the Android update has been installed and the card has been formatted. This includes backup files (made with Titanium Backup Pro) and lots of music and photo files. It's an inconvenience to do this, but our phones have worked very reliably and, in my experience, saves more time in the long run.

    ------------------------------------------------

    SanDisk is not the only manufacturer of good microSD cards. And, while my experience with flash memory is much larger than most, it is not all-inclusive. So I would never say that SanDisk is the only brand to buy---it's just the brand that I've settled on. A general rule would be: Buy microSD cards that are made by a manufacturer with an established excellent reputation and buy from a seller who also has a good reputation and is authorized by the manufacturer. You won't get the cheapest price, but ask yourself this: "How much is that once-in-a-lifetime photo or video or audio recording worth?" It will probably be worth more than the $10 or $20 or $30 you "saved" buying a cheap memory card from the grey market.

    Kind regards, David

    P.S. I buy a lot of stuff from both eBay and Amazon. I've been a member of eBay since 2001. They now have a buyer protection plan that guarantees you will get your money back (including shipping cost) if the buyer misrepresents his/her product. So, even though there are a lot of counterfeit SanDisk cards on eBay, it is still a good place to shop if you do your due diligence. I'm an Amazon Prime member and like Amazon.com a lot, too. Whenever I can, I purchase stuff that is sold by Amazon, themselves, because they are also very good about correcting problems. But Amazon also has their "Amazon Market" where third-parties can sell on Amazon.com and you have to watch the ads carefully to see who you are buying from before you click the "Buy" button. The Amazon Market does not have the buyer protections of eBay so you need to be extra careful when buying on Amazon from any seller other than Amazon, themselves.
    Last edited by FirstLight; 05-15-2014 at 10:15 AM.
    buchrob likes this.

  3. #33
    Senior Member madtrucker's Avatar
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    Since I'm rooted I need reformat my 64GB card to fat32. Scandisc cards do not work well for that. I find that the Samsung cards work better for this. I've never had a problem with a scandisk in a pure stock application.

  4. #34
    Member FirstLight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madtrucker View Post
    Since I'm rooted I need reformat my 64GB card to fat32. Scandisc cards do not work well for that. I find that the Samsung cards work better for this. I've never had a problem with a scandisk in a pure stock application.
    Hi madtrucker,

    Are you using a custom ROM? My family's two Note II phones have no trouble using the exFAT with our 64 GB SanDisk cards and both phones are rooted. However, we're using the stock ROM and have not unlocked the bootloader.

    Using FAT32 for a 64 GB card seems like a waste because you can't use the full capacity of the card on many devices and operating systems (many limit FAT32 to 32 GB even though it can technically handle much more). If you're using a custom ROM, it might suffer the 32 GB limit with FAT32. If you take a 64 GB card formatted to FAT32 and try to read it in some computers, they won't recognize it (for example, some versions of Windows cannot handle FAT32 with a partition volume larger than 32 GB).

    If you need FAT32, the safest thing to do may be to downgrade to a 32 GB card where FAT32 is still the norm. Personally, I wouldn't use an OS that can't handle exFAT for a large microSD card.

    Kind regards, FirstLight
    Last edited by FirstLight; 05-15-2014 at 12:48 PM.

  5. #35
    Super Moderator ggrant3876's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstLight View Post
    Hi madtrucker,

    Are you using a custom ROM? My family's two Note II phones have no trouble using the exFAT with our 64 GB SanDisk cards and both phones are rooted. However, we're using the stock ROM and have not unlocked the bootloader.

    Using FAT32 for a 64 GB card seems like a waste because you can't use the full capacity of the card on many devices and operating systems (many limit FAT32 to 32 GB even though it can technically handle much more). If you're using a custom ROM, it might suffer the 32 GB limit with FAT32. If you take a 64 GB card formatted to FAT32 and try to read it in some computers, they won't recognize it (for example, some versions of Windows cannot handle FAT32 with a partition volume larger than 32 GB).

    If you need FAT32, the safest thing to do may be to downgrade to a 32 GB card where FAT32 is still the norm. Personally, I wouldn't use an OS that can't handle exFAT for a large microSD card.

    Kind regards, FirstLight
    I'm using SanDisk 64Gb card also running a custom rom with an unlocked bootloader and use fat32. Formatted in fat32 I have access to 59.36Gb of storage.

    Note 10 Plus
    OnePlus6T


  6. #36
    Senior Member madtrucker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstLight View Post

    Hi madtrucker,

    Are you using a custom ROM? My family's two Note II phones have no trouble using the exFAT with our 64 GB SanDisk cards and both phones are rooted. However, we're using the stock ROM and have not unlocked the bootloader.

    Using FAT32 for a 64 GB card seems like a waste because you can't use the full capacity of the card on many devices and operating systems (many limit FAT32 to 32 GB even though it can technically handle much more). If you're using a custom ROM, it might suffer the 32 GB limit with FAT32. If you take a 64 GB card formatted to FAT32 and try to read it in some computers, they won't recognize it (for example, some versions of Windows cannot handle FAT32 with a partition volume larger than 32 GB).

    If you need FAT32, the safest thing to do may be to downgrade to a 32 GB card where FAT32 is still the norm. Personally, I wouldn't use an OS that can't handle exFAT for a large microSD card.

    Kind regards, FirstLight
    Yah I'm using custom rom & custom recovery too. There are some roms that don't recognize the card, if it is exFAT, & some of the recoveries too. It's been so long I forget exactly what was the reason. I think FAT32 is open source while Microsoft owns exFAT.

    Like ggrant386 I have use of, whatever he said 59 GB. Windows will see it & work with it, but I had to format it with some other program. My card is full of nandroid backups & roms ready to flash. I noticed Scandisk started putting on the packages formatting to other than exFAT may cause failure. It's true too. Samsung cards are more expensive but seem to work better for this.

  7. #37
    Member FirstLight's Avatar
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    Thanks ggrant3876 and madtrucker, that's good to know. I'm glad it works for your applications. Still, for the general "public" I would recommend staying with exFAT for any card bigger than 32 GB for compatibility. The extensions made to the "open" FAT32 standard are not supported very well as far as I can tell.

    As for why SanDisk has trouble with FAT32 formatting, my guess is that their data distribution algorithms may get in the way. I'm just guessing here, but SanDisk uses some of the most sophisticated techniques to cause all data cells of their flash memory cards to be used equally. For readers who aren't familiar with the limitations of flash memory, it can only sustain a fixed number of writes before it begins to fail. On a traditional hard drive, the inner tracks (including the FAT area) is the most heavily used portion of the platter(s). If flash memory was used this same way, you'd burn out the first cells quickly because they would see the heaviest use and then the entire memory card would be useless. In fact, solid-state hard drives would have shorter lives than the old style with spinning platters.

    As I understand it, flash memory overcomes this, in part, by avoiding the use of static "sectors". Instead, logical sectors, including the FAT, itself, are continually being moved to new cells with each write so the writes are distributed evenly over the entire storage capacity of the card. That way the user gets the maximum life from the card. Perhaps SanDisk's latest techniques for this make it difficult or impossible to change the FAT type.

    By the way, this is also why it is nearly impossible to truly erase a flash memory card. Forensic software can still pull an amazing amount of usable data from a card even if the user attempted to clear it by writing it full. I've tested some of the "eraser" apps that claim to overcome this and I have not found a single one that can actually erase all of the data!!! We're truly living in a "new day" with regard to data security thanks to solid-state memory. And it ain't purdy! :-)

    Kind regards, FirstLight

    P.S. I agree 100% Samsung makes good stuff. Their SSD drives are my top pick! And their displays are excellent.
    Last edited by FirstLight; 05-16-2014 at 12:01 PM.
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