The Difference: TF Card vs micro SD Card

TF Card vs micro SD Card

Help! Is a TF card or microSD card required for my device? What IS the difference?

When it comes to memory cards, the market offers a plethora of options aimed at various devices. TF cards and microSD cards are two of the most well-known of these options. These cards are used as primary or secondary storage devices in a wide range of devices.

Having said that, there is some misunderstanding about what a TF card is. Is there a distinction between a TF card and a microSD card? Is it the same thing? Which one should I choose?

What Is a TF Card?

In 2004, Motorola and SanDisk introduced TransFlash (TF) cards as a replacement for SD cards. Secure Digital cards (SD cards), as you know, are memory cards used in digital cameras and other devices which require portable storage. Although SD cards are the most widely used storage format, they are larger and more cumbersome than a TF card.

TF cards were designed to be smaller and more compact than SD cards while still retaining SD card functionality. This means you can use a TF memory card in your digital camera or any other device that accepts an SD card with the help of an SD card adapter.

What is a MicroSD Card?

MicroSD cards are simply rebranded TF cards. When Motorola and SanDisk released the TF card in 2004, it was released as a separate standalone product. Aside from the fact that TF cards supported the same standard specifications as SD cards (except for the size), they were a distinct, non-standardized product class.

The SD Association, which is the governing body over the Secure Digital specifications and compliance guidelines, adopted TF cards as microSD cards to standardize these flash memory cards.

So, microSD cards are TF cards in disguise.

TF Card vs. microSD Card: What’s the Difference?

There are no distinctions between TF cards and microSD cards. Both can be used interchangeably. For example, if you have a TF card but your smartphone only supports microSD cards, you can use your TF card. It will work perfectly because it adheres to the same standard.

Which Card to Pick Up?

If you need a memory card for your digital camera or older gadgets but don’t need one for your smartphone, a full-sized SD card is the way to go.

On the contrary, if you need a card for your smartphone alone, you have no other option than a microSD card.

Finally, get a microSD card with an SD adapter so that you can use your card in both your smartphone and other devices. Because MicroSD cards use the same standard interface as SD cards, they can be used in place of SD cards with the help of an SD card adapter.

TF Card vs micro SD Card, adapter

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SD Card Duplicator With Unique Data Streaming

You’ve heard the quote “the devil is in the details” and when it comes to duplication of data to SD cards, nothing can be more true. Today we talk about an SD Card Duplicator which provides the ability to data stream unique content to each card.

Typically a user would duplicate the same content to SD cards because they intend to make many copies of the same content. However, my companies who use SD media (or microSD media) want to not only copy the same content to each card, but also copy unique data to each card.

Let us dig a little deeper with an example:

It is very common for companies who generate map data also want to protect their mapping information. Maps are expensive to make and often times hold proprietary information that company wants to protect. So when it comes time to use an SD Card Duplicator to make hundreds or thousands of copies, it is required to have a protection scheme included with the duplication solution.

A common method to provide protection on SD card media is using the CID number of the card. The CID number is a value which is put into “read only memory” of an SD card and that CID number is unique to each card and follows the card around. It is not possible to copy or duplicate the CID number… it is a value which is designed to only be read. In addition to the unique number, there takes specific vendor commands to read the CID number from the card itself.

With an SD Card Duplicator from Nexcopy it is possible read the CID number because Nexcopy uses the special vendor commands to read the CID value.

So this is what a mapping company can do:

  • Encrypt the mapping data
  • Include a text file with the decryption code for the maps
  • Include the CID number of the physical card in the text file mentioned above
  • Since CID numbers are unique to each card, write the unique key code text file to each card

With the SD Card Duplicator the user can export the CID numbers in bulk during the duplication process. When the CID numbers are exported in bulk, the company can write a script to generate key code text files which can only be decrypted by the card which holds the correct CID value.

The final step of the SD Card Duplicator would be writing the encrypted map data to all the SD cards (or microSD cards) and make a second duplication pass to perform the unique data stream of the encrypted file which holds the CID number and key code to each individual card.

There is certainly some custom scrips or batch files which the end-user would need to write, but the bulk of the duplicator process would be done by the Nexcopy SD Card Duplicator.

SD Card Duplicator

Secure Digital (SD) is a proprietary non-volatile memory card format created by the SD Association (SDA) for use in portable devices.

The standard was introduced in August 1999 as an improvement over MultiMediaCards (MMCs) by a collaboration of SanDisk, Panasonic (Matsushita), and Toshiba, and has since become the industry standard.

In January 2000, the companies also established the SD Association (SDA), a non-profit organization, to promote and develop SD Card standards.

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The Difference Between a TF Card and microSD Card

In general terms the TF card and microSD card are the same. They are the same in physical size and same in most technical terms. The two devices may be used in exchange with each other.

There are some technical differences between the two which will be explained later, for now, the biggest difference between a TF card and microSD card is the history of the name.

The TF card came out first. TF card or T-Flash or TransFlash was first to market from SanDisk in 2004. SanDisk, in partnership with Motorola, created the TF card specification. The TF card was the smallest read/write memory form factor and was designed for mobile devices (thus the small size).

TF cards are based on NAND1 memory. The TF card did not last long. At the end of 2004 the Secure Digital Association, which is the governing body over Secure Digital media, absorbed the TransFlash technology and re-branded as: microSD.

This implies, the life of the TF card ended in late 2004 and the microSD card has been available ever since. This will explain why you cannot find a “TF” branded card today (2020). The other reason you cannot find TF cards today is the maximium size of only 16MBs or 32MBs at the time of production. Today you cannot find any memory device with that small of gigabyte capacity.

Here is the technical difference between the two: Micro SD cards can support SDIO mode, which means they can perform tasks unrelated to memory, such as Bluetooth, GPS, and Near Field Communication. Whereas a TransFlash card cannot perform this kind of task.

SDIO mode stands for Secure Digital Input Output, a type of Secure Digital card interface. It may be used as an interface for input or output devices.

The SD Association devised a way to standardize the speed ratings for different cards. These are defined as ‘Speed Class’ and refer to the absolute minimum sustained write speeds. Cards can be rated as Class 2 (minimum write speed of 2MB/s), Class 4 (4MB/s), Class 6 (6MB/s) or Class 10 (10MB/s). It’s important to note that these are the minimum, so it’s entirely possible a card can achieve faster speeds.

NAND is not an acronym. Instead, the term is short for “NOT AND,” a Boolean operator and logic gate. The NAND operator produces a FALSE value only if both values of its two inputs are TRUE. It may be contrasted with the NOR operator, which only produces a TRUE value if both inputs are FALSE.

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Short Review of Windows 10 Computer Stick

In 2015 Intel introduced the Compute Stick or Computer Stick – the item has been around from that point onward. The idea is simple and elegant. Intel wanted to create an HDMI dongle computer which can run Windows 10.

There is no confirmation, but our suspicion is that Intel wanted a ultra-cheap and portable solution to run Windows for embedded applications like set-top boxes (DVRs) and other IoT (Internet of Things) products. If our assumption is correct, it’s a wonderful product and is a great solution for its intended purpose.

PCWorld did an incredible overview of the Compute stick in 2016, and a connection link to that article is at the footer of this post. The PC World review outlined the specifications and performance levels of the Intel based product. We will let that article do the heavy lifting for the tech people out there, but today we want to talk about the applications one might have for a computer stick.

For only $120 (ish) off Amazon, this is an excellent solution to run Windows 10 for a host of specific applications.

computer stick

Several bullet points worth mentioning right out of the gate:

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The new iPad OS Supports Flash Drives and SD/microSD Cards

Today Apple announced the new iPadOS will support USB thumb drives. The iPad has long been toughted a workers tablet from Apple, but the relaity is their iPad didn’t provide much functionality. In addition, the devices have limited storage.

With today’s announcement the above argument could get a little muted.

Update: We learned the iPad will allow other storage devices such as external hard drives and SD or microSD cards (with USB adapters). The USB port will also allow for HID devices, such as a USB mouse and keyboard. We are not sure if the iPad will support Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, but we’ve got to assume, right!

There is no word about the connection. The connection could be one of three; an adapter, USB-C socket size or the classic USB type A socket size.

iPad accepts usb drive

Source: GetUSB.info News Site.

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The Micron c200 is 1TB of microSD Beastly Data Storage

Micron, with the corporate office based in Boise Idaho, introduces the c200 microSD card with a data storage range from 128GB to 1TB.  No that wasn’t a typo, One Terabyte of storage.  The card was designed to address the demand around 4K video recording and playback. 

The card has read speeds near 100MB/s and write speeds of near 95MB/s.  The c200 card collection can reach these speeds because of Dynamic SLC cache; which is intelligent maintenance during idle time for sustained peak performance.  The Micron microSD card uses the UHS-1 Speed Class 3 for capture and Video Speed Class 30 for support.  Meaning to get these transfer rates, the host device must also be UHS-1 compliant.

c200 microSD 1TB

In case you are wondering, the card uses Micron 98-layer 3D QLC NAND memory, which is cost effective for both consumers and commercial customers.

If you have an Android device, you can be even happier with the card meeting the Application Performance Class 2 specification which is built-in memory expansion for compatible Android devices.

The Application Performance Class 2 (A2) is defined by the Secure Digital (SD) Physical 6.0 specification. A2 makes SD memory cards higher performance devices than A1 devices by using functions of the Command Queuing and Cache framework. The Application Performance Class can be applied to UHS SDHC/SDXC Memory Card product family.

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How To: Turn Nook into Android Tablet – For Non-tech Peeps too!

If you have a Nook color or Nook tablet and have dreamed about hacking it into a full-on blown Android tablet, it’s actually possible! Take things into your own hands with the latest release from the fellows over at Nook 2 Android. It’s a lesser known fact among its general user base that the devices run Android at their core. Even less apparent to the B&N crowd is that you can make those tablets boot and run a stock Android experience. Previously limited to the Android 2.3 Gingerbread experience, Nook 2 Android (N2A) microSD cards now allow the aforementioned devices to boot directly to the same Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience that comes with phones and tablets.  Specifically, this is a Cyanogenmod port of Android, or the preferred stock UI and features that many modders prefer to employ. In a nutshell, these cards turn the e-readers/tablets into Android tablets, complete with widgets and access to Google Play. If you own one of these two devices and wish to get in on the standard Android love, there are a number of options at your disposal. On one hand you can buy a microSD card already loaded with the bootable OS, with capacities ranging from 8GB ($29.99) up to 64GB ($69.99). On the other hand, you can opt for the $19.99 method which lets you download and install the image on your existing microSD cards. Note that not all cards and capacities may be supported. Whichever route you go, the process of booting to Android 4.1 is not far off! Continue Reading 5 Comments

SanDisk With 90MB/sec microSD Card

SanDisk is launching two new microSD memory cards today. They are officially called the “SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDHC UHS-I cards.” What makes them special? They let you capture photos and videos at up to 90 megabytes per second which is incredible fast for any application. And as for the read speeds, they’re slightly faster at 95 megabytes per second, which isn’t going to max out a USB 3.0 connection (625 megabytes per second) anytime soon, but it’s still incredibly impressive. The 8 GB card will cost $60, while the 16 GB card will go for $100. Both should be in stores quite soon, and if you can’t wait you can buy them straight from SanDisk’s website today. Continue Reading 15 Comments

Read PSN or CID From SD Media

GetUSB.info just posted a nice article on how to read the CID (or PSN) from an SD card, or product serial number.  Some also call this reading the CID number from an SD card.  The CID number is a unique identifier number or serial number created on the SD or microSD media at the time of manufacturing.  This is a number which cannot be changed or manipulated by the host computer.

The CID number is most often used for vendors or manufacturers to lock in software to a specific device.  Since the CID number cannot be changed or modified, it’s a great way to prevent unauthorized distribution or content or software.

Some manufacturers require to read the CID number from SD media before the software is published and this is what GetUSB.info talks about.  For a full description of the article, make the jump:  How to read CID number from SD media.

Here is a snap shot of the CID reading tool for 20 SD devices:

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microSD Problems – Good Chance It’s the Media

Bunnie’s Blog had a great post about the different quality of microSD media.  I think he’s gone into more detail then any other I’ve seen on the internet.  What is worth noting in his article is the brand names that he investigated and the results that he found.  I don’t want to repeat what has already been said, but if you’ve ever been in doubt about a microSD card you’ve purchased, this article will shed some light. Take a read… . Continue Reading 15 Comments

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