Think again before buying a high-capacity memory card

There I was, sitting at my computer sifting through the day’s deals on consumer electronics. I came upon‘s deal for the day: a 64GB SDXC card for only $49.

I was extremely tempted to go for it. 64GB in one small package was enticing, and I would no longer have to carry around so many memory cards and keep switching them out all time while on vacation taking photos.

However, I got to thinking: memory cards fail. They just do. There’s no 100% guarantee that a memory card will never burn up. That’s why we back up our computers, tablets and smartphones, and why we (should) have an emergency fund available in case our vehicle’s break down or a large home appliance needs repair.

Since you can’t really back up a memory card when you’re out in the field shooting photos and video, how do you protect yourself against bad luck? Well, there’s obviously no way to fully protect your memory card data if you can’t back it up, but there’s still a way to lessen the disaster level when a memory card takes the plunge.

Instead of getting just one high-capacity memory card and risk losing all of your photos, have multiple low-capacity cards. That way, if one craps out, you’ll still have a majority of your photos that are safe, instead of having all of them go down the drain at once.

This isn’t only a good practice for casual photo snappers, but it’s even more important for professional photographers who are getting paid big bucks to take those photos that are stored on those precious memory cards. They literally can’t afford to lose photos, and I know most photographers are constantly upgrading their cards to a larger capacity to lessen their memory card footprint. However, I can only suggest that anyone who takes photos or shoots video carry around multiple low-capacity cards instead. It’ll save your butt in the end when bad luck strikes.

HP and Hynix are Creating the Next Generation of Memory

HP is currently working with Hynix Semiconductor to develop the next generation of computer memory.  This new non-volatile memory, dubbed Resistive Random Access Memory, or ReRAM for short, will be built upon memristor technology.  Memristor technology has been considered only theoretical since 1971, but changed in 2006 when HP Labs was able to develop the technology.

Memristor technology has the potential to create some great things in the PC world.  It works on a material that changes resistance when a voltage is applied to it.  Not only is memristor technology thought to work as memory, but the companies also believe it has the potential to perform logic functions.  This would allow storage devices to perform functions that would normally take place in a central processing unit (CPU).  This combination allows for the possibility of great speed improvements in PCs.

HP and Hynix would eventually like to make ReRAM a standard for all types of memory, including long-term storage medium such as hard drives.  While the future goals for this new memristor based ReRAM are high, the near future has more basic goals.  HP and Hynix are currently working to make ReRAM as a replacement for flash memory.  The memristor technology allows for the potential production of flash memory chips that run ten times faster and use ten times less power than current flash memory chips.  The companies also say that the ReRAM will be able to be rewritten more times than is possible with flash memory.

The companies believe that they can have the memristor-based ReRAM into the market by 2013 – within half of the normal research and development time if the companies were working independently.  This is in part to the combined forces of both reputable companies, HP being one of the largest PC manufacturers and Hynix being the second largest memory chip maker in the world.

I have to say that I’m quite excited about this new memory technology.  Finding better and faster ways to store our data is becoming more important to all PC users.  If this new-found partnership does succeed, the possibilities are exciting.  We could see faster RAM, higher capacity drives, improvements in portable technologies using the compact sized flash memory, and generally faster computers.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on HP Labs as they continue to develop this technology.

[via HP Labs]
Image Credit: Pete