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Season for Storage: 32GB SD Cards

'Tis the season to bulk up on storage for the holiday season -- for your digital camera, camcorder, game player, or other portable devices.

After all, why worry about carrying extra cards to swap in when one fills up, when you can just get a bigger card that can hold all your stuff -- even the full set of your holiday photos or hours and hours of video.

The SDHC format (SD card, High Capacity) blew away the now-pathetic 1 or 2 GB capacities of just a couple years ago, expanding the SD card format to 4 to 32 GB, with the bonus of faster data rates to support the demands of fast-shooting 10+ megapixel digital cameras and high-def video.

And as storage continues to re-double in size, that promise has come to fruition this season with 16 and now 32 GB SDHC cards, plus 8 and 16 GB microSDHC cards, from SanDisk and Kingston.

The new Kingston 32 GB Elite Pro SDHC card is listed at a premium of $293, as 16 GB cards have fallen to around $40 to $60, and 4 and even 8 GB have fallen under $20 (even for some higher-speed cards).

Meanwhile, the ridiculously small microSD cards, designed for use in tiny mobile phones, are only a step behind. The SanDisk 16 GB microSDHC card lists at $99, with 8 GB for $49, 4 GB for $29, and 2 GB for $19.

While the highest-capacity cards may not be generally available yet, they help continue to drive ongoing price reductions. While 1 GB cards were priced around $60 two years ago, we're now looking at under $10. Prices vary dramatically this season, so stay alert for better deals. For example, the SanDisk CyberMonday sale is running through, well, Monday, on memory cards, USB drives, and MP3 players.

One interesting byproduct in this dramatic growth in storage capacity is that the SDHC format already has hit its limit of 32 GB after just a couple of years on the market. But there's still some time to adjust as these new sizes become more popular. In addition, just as the new SDHC format required changes to devices to support the higher capacity, some current devices still may require driver upgrades to handle the new 16 and 32 GB sizes.

See my Portable Storage Gallery for more on storage formats and devices.

    Find Kingston SDHC cards and
    SanDisk microSDHC cards on Amazon.com

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