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Memory card

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(Redirected from Memory cards)

Memory card or Flash Memory Card refers to solid-state electronic flash memory data storage devices used with digital cameras, handheld and laptop computers, telephones, music players, video game consoles, and other electronics. They offer high re-recordability, power-free storage, small form factor, and rugged environmental specifications. There are non-solid state memory cards that do not use flash memory, and there are different types of flash memory.

Flash cards have been suggested as a possible replacement for the floppy disk, though it has been USB Flash memory drives, which work on almost any computer with a USB port that have been filling this role instead.

There are many different types, and jobs memory cards are used for. Some common places include in digital cameras, in game consoles, in cell phones, and in industrial applications. PC Card (PCMCIA) were among first commercial memory card formats (type I cards) to come out in the 1990s, but are now only mainly used in industrial applications and for I/0 jobs (using types I/II/III), as a connection standard for devices (such as a modem). Also in 1990s, a number of memory card formats smaller then PC Card came out, including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and Miniature Card. In other area's Tiny embedded memory cards (SID) were used in cell phones, game consoles started using proprietary memory card formats, and things like PDA's and digital music players started using removable memory cards.

From the late 1990s into the early 2000s a host of new formats would appear, including SD/MMC, Memory Stick, xD-Picture Card, and host of variants and smaller cards. The desire for ultra-small cards for cell-phones, PDAs, and compact digital camera's would drive a trend toward smaller cards that left the previous generation of "compact" cards looking big. In digital cameras SmartMedia and CompactFlash had been very successful, in 2001 SM alone captured 50% of the digital camera market and CF had a strangle hold on professional digital cameras. By 2005 however, SD/MMC had nearly taken over SmartMedia's spot, though not to the same level and with stiff competition coming from Memory Stick variants, xD, as well as CompactFlash. In industrial fields, even the venerable PC Card (PCMCIA) memory cards still manage to maintain a niche, while in cell-phones and PDA's, the memory card market is highly fragmented.

Data Table of selected Memory Card Formats

NameAcronymForm factor
CompactFlash ICF-I43 × 36 × 3.3mm
CompactFlash IICF-II43 × 36 × 5.5mm
SmartMedia CardSMC45 × 37 × 0.76mm
Memory StickMS50.0 × 21.5 × 2.8mm
Memory Stick DuoMS Duo31.0 × 20.0 × 1.6mm
Multi Media CardMMC32 × 24 × 1.5mm
Reduced Size Multi Media CardRS-MMC32 × 24 × 1.5mm
Secure Digital CardSD32 × 24 × 2.1mm
miniSD CardminiSD-
microSD CardµSD11 × 15 × 1mm
xD-Picture CardxD20 × 25 × 1.7mm

Since many EEPROM devices only allow a finite number of write cycles, some of these cards incorporate wear levelling algorithms to spread the wear and to avoid wearing out specific places which are often written to.

Overview of Memory Card types


  • PCMCIA ATA Type I Flash Memory Card (PC Card ATA Type I) (max 8 GB flash as of 2005)
    • PCMCIA Linear Flash Cards, SRAM cards, etc.
    • PCMICA Type II, Type III cards
  • CompactFlash® Card (Type I), CompactFlash High-Speed
  • CompactFlash® Type II, CF+(CF2.0), CF3.0
    • Microdrive (max 6 GB as of 2005)
  • MiniCard™ (Miniature Card) (max 64 MB)
  • SmartMedia™ Card (SSFDC) (max 128 MB) (3.3V,5V)
  • xD-Picture Card™, xD-Picture Card Type M


  • Memory Stick, Magic Gate Memory Stick (max 128 MB); Memory Stick Select, MagicGate Memory Stick Select (max 2*128 MB)
    • Memory Stick Duo™ Card, Magic Gate Memory Stick Duo (max 128 MB)
  • Memory Stick PRO™ Card, Memory Stick High-Speed (max 32 GB)
    • Memory Stick PRO Duo™ Card, Memory Stick Pro Duo High Speed


  • MultiMediaCard™ (7-pin), MMCplus™ (7/13-pin) (MMC4)
    • RSS-MMC™, MMCmobile™ (RS-MMC4)
    • MMCmicro™ (aka S-Card)
    • SecureMMC™
  • Secure Digital (SD™ Card), Secure Digital High-Speed, Secure Digital Plus/Xtra/etc (SD with USB connector)
    • miniSD™ Card
    • microSD™ Card (aka Transflash, T-Flash)


  • MU-Flash (Mu-Card) (Mu-Card Alliance of OMIA)
  • C-Flash™
  • SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module)
  • Smart card (ISO 7810 Card Standard , ISO 7816 Card Standard, etc.)
  • UCF™ (USB FlashCard) (uses USB)
  • FISH Universal Transportable Memory Card Standard (uses USB)
  • Sony PlayStation Memory Card, PlayStation PocketStation memory card, PlayStation 2 Memory Card
  • Xbox Memory Unit (memory card)
  • Nintendo 59 Memory Card (GameCube) (Nintendo 251 Memory Card, Nintendo 1019, etc.
  • N64 Memory Card
  • Dreamcast VMU memory card (Visual memory unit)

See also

ja:メモリーカード pl:Karta pamięci simple:Memory card

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