Expert opinion needed--backup to sd card?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Honey Badger, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Honey Badger macrumors 6502a

    Honey Badger

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    #1
    Thanks in advance for your opinion. I have an external hard drive and a time machine for backing up my files. The external hard drive goes in my safety deposit box so if my house burns down with my computer and time machine no big whoop. Was thinking of putting my macbook air SD card slot to use by getting rid of the big external hard drive and putting my backup files on a 32GB SD card. It seems to me that I can put any file I want on there including Word docs; however, when I shop around to buy an SD card, the advertisements and reviews only talk about storing pictures or video on these cards...is it okay to store documents and other non-video or non-photo files on the SD card? Am I missing something here? Also, if I can go ahead and store my docs on the SD card, does anybody know the difference between Class 4 and Class 10 and the speeds and which card you might suggest I get for backup?...need a little expert direction here....thanks!
     
  2. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    #2
    Store whatever you like there. To save space, tell Time Capsule to exclude stuff you might not be bothered with to backup.
     
  3. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #3
    You can use an SD card to backup anything. I believe speed increases with class. Still, I don't think SD cards are very fast. I haven't had pleasing success using SD cards to store data. I've tried them as a disk cache in Photoshop and it was slow. I backed up some new projects to an SD card once or twice. That would have worked well but my SD card was stolen with my computer. 32 GB is small but there is enough space to save important documents. I assume you don't need to backup very large files or a lot of files so the SD should be ok. I chose to get a full-size SD for convenience regarding the built in slot but micro SD cards are about the same price. I recommend formatting with FAT because it is the most widely supported file system and will remain so for a long time. If you are storing this in a safe deposit box then I wouldn't bother using Time Capsule on the SD card. It's unnecessary for an infrequent backup of just important documents; you can manage that manually. Your idea is good and should work well. I hope you find something to do with your big external drive. I recommend recycling it.
     
  4. wjlafrance macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #4
    A few years ago, flash based storage (CF card, SD card, flash drive) had a terribly high failure rate. Some instructors at my college actually put in their syllabus that flash-based storage failure is not an excuse and the drives should not be trusted.

    Of course, it's moved forward especially with higher-class devices (such as full-blown SSDs), but if you need "if my house burns down it's no big whoop" type reliability, a SD card is not for you. Not to mention, the physical card itself is prone to damage if you're moving the computer around while it's plugged in. I don't consider myself overly abusive to my computer, but I do keep it in a shoulder bag. Even getting shoulder-checked in a hallway will jostle your computer, and that's not good for a SD card.

    If your doc files are so big that an SD card is in order, you may want to just move up to the good old external platter drives.
     
  5. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #5
    I've heard of people swallowing SD cards and after sitting in stomach acids they still work. SD cards are very resilient. I'm also at a lack of understanding for how they are prone to physical and mechanical damage. SD cards are robust in a lot of ways. Jostling, vibrating, and impacts aren't going to affect them at all. Maybe worry about someone snapping one in half or it getting sheared off of your computer, but the OP sounds like an easy-going person that just wants to store some documents in their safe deposit box. I think solid state media like an SD card is more reliable than a spinning disk.

    I don't think there is an issue with the OP's document sizes. I think the point is moot because he/she isn't getting an SD card because other options don't have enough capacity. SD has little to do with capacity. I think the OP just appreciates the form factor of the SD and using the card slot in their MBA.
     
  6. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    #6
    Have to concur with you. Solid State storage is pretty reliable. Ive seen crashed USB drives and SD cards that have been rained on and they still perform. Do that with a good old fashion spinny drive and all is lost.
     
  7. Honey Badger thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Honey Badger

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    #7

    OP here...Thanks everybody for your responses, they were very helpful. Treestar accurately described what my intentions are...I don't expect to put my whole hard drive on the SD card. I just want to put a handful of financial, legal and medical documents from my hard drive on to the SD card along with some irreplaceable family pictures and have it on the small SD card using my Macbook Air SD card slot, which would be so much better than having to lug around the big external hard drive I have now for that purpose. I can then put that little card in my safe deposit box. For backing up my whole computer with all the software and big huge files, the time machine fits my needs nicely. So if my house burned down so to speak and my computer and the time machine were history, it would be a hassle, but at least I would have my valuable files in a safe place and on a convenient little card (that external drive takes up a huge chunk of my safe deposit box drawer).

    The advertisements and reviews I read for the 32GB SD cards I looked at confused me and left me with the impression that I should only store pictures and videos on these cards, but you guys cleared it up so thanks again!
     

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