back to article SanDisk launches 200GB microSD card

The new SanDisk 200GB microSD card costs $399, making it more valuable weight-for-weight than blue sapphire. This capacity gives SanDisk's little gem the ability to store up to 20 hours of HD video. Moreover, the company explained to El Reg that the only reason this is a 200GB device and not 256GB is that at 15nm, the die had …

  1. Ben Rose
    Megaphone

    Not much use...

    Not much use for the new Samsung Galaxy S6 though, is it?

    1. Owain 1

      Re: Not much use...

      I think the MicroSD card slot is just underneath the battery actually.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Not much use...

        Is there a Leopard guarding it too...?

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: Not much use...

          Yeah just beware that the Lights have probably gone, and the Leopard is currently residing in a disused Lavatory...

      2. King Jack

        Re: MicroSD card slot is just underneath the battery actually

        Not on the S6 and S6 edge. Where have you been?

        1. bluesxman

          Re: MicroSD card slot is just underneath the battery actually

          Not on the S6 and S6 edge. Where have you been?

          Off somewhere appreciating sarcasm, I'd imagine.

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: Not much use...

      Or any of Google's Flagship Nexus range, eiter. Or for those running Kit-Kat, or Lollipop either. That is if you actually need to be able to actually let your Apps write directly to it. Or, you know move your Apps over to the External SD, to make room for some more Apps.... 'Cause thats a BIG NO NO!!

  2. GregC

    Sounds great..

    ..until the tiny thing gets dropped/lost/eaten by the dog and your 200GB of data is gone.

    But it's ok, as we know everyone has a backup process in place, right?

    1. FartingHippo
      WTF?

      Re: Sounds great..

      Huh? Is it sausage flavoured or something?

      1. tmTM

        Re: Sounds great..

        You obviously don't own dogs.

        Taste is not an issue, mostly it's governed by what can physically fit down their neck.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds great..

          Our family Westie when I was but a boy could strip peas out of mashed potato and leave them behind with ease. It hated peas.

          However ... it WAS stupid enough to assume that if given a smartie then the next smartie sized item would be another smartie. This way dog pills were administered ...

          1. Michael Habel

            Re: Sounds great..

            Our family Westie when I was but a boy could strip peas out of mashed potato and leave them behind with ease. It hated peas.

            However ... it WAS stupid enough to assume that if given a smartie then the next smartie sized item would be another smartie. This way dog pills were administered ...

            Not, cool feeding a Dog Chocolate, ya know...

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: Sounds great..

      Most of what's going to be on a phone's microSD card is already a copy of a copy anyways.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's that in RPs?

    It's about time El Reg started expressing things like this in terms of ZX81 RAM Packs*.

    * 16KB and don't touch it, else the machine will crash.

    1. TechicallyConfused

      Re: What's that in RPs?

      Wasn't it a 32K RAM Pack to boost the 16K model to 48K hence allowing it to play the "Champagne of spectrum games" - Manic Miner.

      1. Aggrajag

        Re: What's that in RPs?

        @TechnicallyConfused AC said ZX81 and not ZX Spectrum.

        1. TechicallyConfused

          Re: What's that in RPs?

          Ahh yes, so he did. I just not quite old enough to lay claim to having had a ZX81. I cut my teeth on the Spectrum.

      2. ColonelDare

        Re: What's that in RPs?

        Or my first OS - based on ´MinMon´ published in issue #1 of Personal Computer World (Oct 1978). It was 1kB long (in bytes) and 7 metres long (on papertape - I recently got it out of the attic and measured it!)

        If my sums are right - a big if I know - this new card backed up on papertape would reach to the moon and back 1.9 times, would weigh about 2,800 tonnes and would take some 67,000 trees to make it.

        But then at least the dog wont eat it ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's that in RPs?

          But then at least the dog wont eat it ;-)

          Correction: But then at least the dog won't eat all of it ;-)

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What's that in RPs?

      I don't think it will be easy to envision over 12 million ZX81 RAM packs. Beyond a certain point, the quantity gets lost and just becomes "lots".

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: What's that in RPs?

        If you can't imagine 12 million RAM Packs then how about 3 million instead? Those 64KB behemoths that covered the whole backend of the machine totally wobbled rocked.

        Or so I heard. I never actually saw one outside of the pages of a magazine myself. <sniff!>

    3. Michael Strorm

      Re: What's that in RPs?

      Yes, as others have commented, it's circa 12 million ZX81 rampacks (*)

      If we conservatively assume a RAM pack is 6.5 x 5 x 2 cm in size, then:-

      A stack of 142 (long) x 185 (high) x 462 (deep) RAM packs will be

      142 x 0.065 = 9.23 metres long

      185 x 0.050 = 9.25 metres high

      462 x 0.020 = 9.24 metres long

      So we're talking a cube over 9 metres high of rampacks to match that thumbnail-sized MicroSD card.

      (*) 12,207,301 assuming that's 200 ad-man's gigabytes (**) (i.e. 200,000,000,000 bytes) versus 16 x 1024 = 16,384 bytes.

      (**) To anyone thinking of saying "wah, wah, SI units were always standard and 1024 is wrong", bear in mind I've taken the Paul Calf "dissertation" route and trained a dog to attack anyone who says "gibibyte". (^_^)

      1. Lusty

        Re: What's that in RPs?

        "ad-man's gigabytes"

        You mean real GigaBytes? I believe that memory cards, like memory actually use GibiBytes hence the 8, 16, 32 sizes. Say what you like but these are both standard units and are represented properly in all major SAN vendor kit as well as operating systems which are not called Windows. My Mac, for instance, correctly declares my 8GB memory card as 8GB with 8GB capacity which I can use to put 8GB of data on. Windows shows the same card incorrectly as 7.4GB when it actually means 7.4GiB. It's not rocket science, and it's not just marketing, and it's certainly not "formatting losses".

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: What's that in RPs?

          "8GB memory card as 8GB with 8GB capacity which I can use to put 8GB of data on. Windows shows the same card incorrectly as 7.4GB when it actually means 7.4GiB."

          I've always been of the impression that ANY capacity listed on a package is listed as its RAW capacity (that is, the capacity prior to formatting). After-formatting capacity cannot be used because reformatting it under a different filesystem can change the overhead (and thus the amount of free space on the device afterward).

          As for the Windows under-reporting the size, I actually appreciate this since I prefer conservative measurements when calculating "Will It Fit?"

        2. Looper
          FAIL

          Re: You mean real GigaBytes?

          Lusty: An argument like swiss cheese. The rabid dog must be let loose on you.

          All RAM memory uses binary version of kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte. All operating systems including Mac OSX v10.5 (Leopard) and earlier, along with Microsoft Windows, and all bar one version of Linux use the Base 2 system. In fact Apple are one of the very few of the hipster brigade to jump on the decimal prefix marketing bandwagon, and they are blatantly incorrect.

          Binary calculation is the proper form and the only correct one with respect to anything based upon a bit or a byte, since data is inherently binary and NOTHING the marketing twats can do will ever change that. Or maybe you would like to change the laws of physics to suit your metric notion of the computer bit?

          Data is always in binary and since the beginning of computing 8 Bits=1 Byte and 1 KB = 1024 B. The Metric system is not and never was used in anything computer/electronic based including anything related to the binary nature of the data itself. The notional decimal figures used in various devices is purely marketing claptrap, since the devices themselves are binary based and all store binary data.

          The metric translation of 1 KB= 1000 B, which is entirely incorrect, started as a marketing scheme by storage media companies as the average buyer had no idea on the subject and the "bigger number is better" mentality sells. The terms GiB, TiB, etc are quite recent and were coined up by the same storage media companies when various groups (programmers etc) started complaining about the incorrect use of MB,GB, etc.

          Nowhere, except at Apple, are the terms MiB, GiB, etc used because they are simply bogus.

      2. Stu J

        Re: What's that in RPs?

        Or to put it another way, if you took your cube of rampacks, and filled the same volume with 200GB microSD cards, you'd have a shade over 4.75 billion of the critters. Which would give you storage of 950 exabytes.

        Based on Cisco's previous projections, you'd be able to store the entire global IP traffic for 2015 in your microSD cube.

        But, to put it all into context, it's only about as much storage as 2 grams of DNA would theoretically let you store(!)

  4. Simon 15
    Gimp

    Too Small?

    Now that we're reaching the point where such large amounts of data can be saved on something smaller than the size of my thumbnail I have to question if MicroSD is actually too small in terms of physical dimensions.

    I know that smaller is usually better in technology but the diminutive size of MicroSD means that they are just *too* easy to lose. Normal SD cards are better but still a bit too small in my opinion whereas the old smart media cards were just about right. I've lost so many MicroSD cards over the years and suspect that they've ended up in the hoover.

    It is just me or would a physically larger memory card actually be a good idea? Keep it thin and light but make it big enough so that it doesn't get lost in all the sharp & painful drawing pins and other assorted cr*p at the back of my draw. I really don't want archaeologists 200 years from now finding part my pr0n stash.

    Gimp mask just because...

    1. thesykes

      Re: Too Small?

      Micro SD card holder, a few quid from Amazon or eBay.Size of a credit card, holds 8 SD cards. Sorted.

      No, I don't have one, I keep my spares in the various Micro to full size adapters, all in a cash bag. Even cheaper.

      1. Simon 15

        Re: Too Small?

        Ah you see that's just too organised for me! It's a pain in the backside switching microSD cards between phones, taking them out, storing them in the full sized SD 'caddy' putting that somewhere safe, finding the correct MicroSD from the draw, taking it out the caddy inserting it in the phone etc. I just want to be able to eject one card (preferably without having to take the phone apart) and slot the new one in without having to feel like I'm playing Russian dolls with my storage. As I get older I'm also finding it increasingly harder to manipulate such tiny and fiddly components and usually end up dropping them at least once.

        Why not just make the card a reasonable size in the first place? If we continue our obsession with this sort of miniaturisation then before long you'll be able to fit 1TB on a card the size of a pinhead but not be able to find it amongst the lint in your shirt pocket!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Too Small?

          "If we continue our obsession with this sort of miniaturisation then before long you'll be able to fit 1TB on a card the size of a pinhead"

          This is a bad thing?

          " but not be able to find it amongst the lint in your shirt pocket!"

          That "lint" is the other 1TB cards making up your raid1 array :D

    2. Electron Shepherd

      Re: Too Small?

      For one card that you have in your pocket, too small is inconvenient. But imagine a standard 1U rack case full of these...

      By my back of the envelope calculations, and admittedly not leaving any room for actual connections to the cards, you could get 75,000 of them in 1U. That's 14 EB, or 650 EB for a standard rack!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too Small?

      The thing is, the use case for microSD cards is for electronics where even a regular SD card is physically too large. MicroSD cards tend to get used for things like phones that simply aren't big enough to fit anything else into. They could make the phones bigger, but then the manufacturer couldn't proclaim that they've made the thinnest phone in the world again. Larger things like tablets and cameras, there's a better case for using regular SD cards as the larger capacity is often useful there as well.

      As for replacing the formats with something altogether larger, that seems unlikely. SD managed to outcompete Sony's format by being built into more hardware. Unless the next generation of hardware requires a different size slot that can't be made backwards compatible with SD, it's unlikely that the SD formats are going anywhere soon. And as before, the real benefit to having memory cards in those sizes is that they fit into the current generation of electronics. If electronics continue to shrink physically, then we may get to the point where even microSD cards are too big and it's unlikely that we'll reverse course and electronics will get larger.

      We could potentially make a memory card that's four times the size of a microSD card, but just as thin. That would "merely" require rearranging parts on the device to allocate a large space for the slot. There would be other tradeoffs with that approach, as the cards would be more susceptible to damage and most devices would either leave something out or shrink the battery to accommodate the larger card. And I'm sure someone will throw out the excuse that old farts don't use modern technology, only people under 30 do and they can see the individual pixels in their QHD phones!

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Too Small?

        "We could potentially make a memory card that's four times the size of a microSD card, but just as thin."

        Alternatively we could simply stack 4 flash devices inside the existing microsd case (or use 3d flash) - and don't think for a moment that Toshiba and Samsung aren't working on it.

        The thickness would still be at least 80% inert plastic.

        FWIW, microsds tend to be where SSD reject memory goes (the controllers map out bad blocks) and my suspicion is that the lack of larger microsd sizes and the fact that prices are holding up on them is more down to SSD demand far outstripping supply than memory chip sizes.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Too Small?

        "And as before, the real benefit to having memory cards in those sizes is that they fit into the current generation of electronics. If electronics continue to shrink physically, then we may get to the point where even microSD cards are too big and it's unlikely that we'll reverse course and electronics will get larger."

        Except, as the article notes, we're approaching the physical limit of just how small we can pack these things. Think why the device is 200GB and not (as tradition would dictate) 256GB. So IOW we're reaching the point where they couldn't make it smaller even if they wanted to. So an about-face may be forced upon an industry clamoring for more portable storage.

    4. ilmari

      Re: Too Small?

      Am I the only one who never swaps sd cards?

      I put in a card in my phone, and it stays there until it is obsolete or upgraded to the next faster, bigger, affordable version.. The old one's data copied over and never used again.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Too Small?

        "Am I the only one who never swaps sd cards?"

        No. If it's rightsized in the firstplace you don't need to.

  5. Alistair Silver badge

    200Gb in a MicroSd.

    Tiny tiny

    Encryption?

    Terrists/Paedos/(left/right/climatechange/noclimatechange)types!!!!

    OMG BAN THIS RIGHT NOW!

    (sorry - that was my government controlled brain speaking)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 200Gb in a MicroSd.

      Well, as far as it goes, imagine a paedo packing two or three of these in a condom, swallowing them, then slipping them past the checkpoints while flying who knows where. If it can work for drugs, why not MicroSD cards?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 200Gb in a MicroSd.

        I'd hate to go fishing for those chips! I'd be battered!

  6. The_Idiot

    Looks...

    ... sideways at his Raspberry Pi 2 and ponders.... :-)

  7. Chris Evans

    SDHC can't read 64GB either

    "However, phones which only support the SDHC standard of five years ago will not be able to [read this 200GB card]."

    SDHC can't read more than 32GB

    I use a 64GB microSD on my Pi and I've heard of people using 128GB cards and this 200GB should be no problem. But using a memory card that costs about ten times the computer, does seem a bit of over kill.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

      >But using a memory card that costs about ten times the computer, does seem a bit of over kill.

      The price will fall when the 300Gb version comes out this time next year ... imagine a 2.5" ssd full of these ... cannot calculate how much storage you would get ...

      It does mean that it fits in my Z30, though ...

      1. Lusty

        Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

        "imagine a 2.5" ssd full of these"

        Kind of makes you wonder how the SSD manufacturers are so slow at getting better densities doesn't it? Oh that's right, a vested interest in keeping spinny disks around for a while, silly me.

        I realise that the chips are different, but they aren't THAT different that a MicroSD can be 200GB and a 2.5" can only get to 1.9TB!

        As you say, if someone made a handy caddy it would force their hand PDQ and we'd all benefit. Anyone have a 3d printer and a soldering iron handy? Almost worth buying a 3d printer to make a caddy, patent it and then get bought out by WD or Seagate :)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

          Actually, in the SSD sphere, reliability is a key metric, so the manufacturers use more conservative tech and include better redundancy to ensure the SSD lasts for a while. They also include stuff to better manage heat. SSDs are expected to keep running for years, even when at full tilt. Do we expect the same from a high-capacity MicroSD card? I know with my phone I only employ the external SD occasionally.

        2. channel extended

          Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

          Nobody really wants to slow their computer down that much. Remember these are only class 10, 10Mb/s not 500Mb/s like SSD's.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

            But with a whole bunch of them running at once, can't they run in parallel, aggregating their bandwidth?

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: SDHC can't read 64GB either

          "Oh that's right, a vested interest in keeping spinny disks around for a while, silly me."

          The only vested interest they have is that they can't keep up with demand for SSDs.

          "I realise that the chips are different, but they aren't THAT different that a MicroSD can be 200GB and a 2.5" can only get to 1.9TB!"

          The _only_ thing stopping 2.5" 2TB consumer drives right now (Samsung 850Evo) is that Sammy didn't believe enough people would be willing to pay for them - and specifically said so when the 850s were released. If you pop the case, the 1TB devices only use 1/3 of the internal space.

  8. D@v3

    obligitory

    http://xkcd.com/691/

  9. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    Re. memory cards

    Pretty neat, 5 of these would equal 1 terabyte.

    Wonder what the long term storage reliability would be like?

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