Month: April 2020
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Categories: News & Resources, Tips & Tricks

In order to minimize data loss and ensure the best results from your Kingston Flash storage device, follow these simple recommendations:

1. Replace or recharge batteries in devices after getting a low-battery warning.

Battery discharge is one of the most common problems causing the loss of pictures or other data on Flash storage devices. If a battery dies in the middle of a write operation to the Flash storage device, not only can the file being written become corrupted, but the entire device may be damaged as well. It may be possible to repair the Flash storage device using commercially available disk recovery software. To avoid these problems, carry a spare battery if possible or stop using a device when battery power gets low.

2. Properly remove your Flash storage device from the host device.

It is important to wait until all operations are completed before removing a Flash storage device from a digital camera or other host device. If the Flash storage device is removed during a write operation, for example, the Flash storage device may be corrupted and data loss may occur.

Most digital cameras will show a blinking light during Flash write operations, so it is important to wait until all operations are completed. 

3. Properly store Flash cards in their plastic cases and close the cap on USB drives.

Flash storage devices, while quite reliable, can be damaged when dropped on hard surfaces. When they are not in use, store Flash storage cards in their clear plastic cases. USB drives should be stored with their caps on.

4. Do not force Flash storage devices into connectors.

Flash card or USB Flash drive connectors are unidirectional. This means that the Flash storage device must be inserted in one direction only; if you cannot insert the drive or card, do not force it in. This will prevent damage to the Flash storage device or the socket. For more information on proper insertion of Flash cards or USB Flash drives, consult your host device’s user manual.

5. When Traveling, Pack Flash storage devices into carry-on luggage if possible.

Tens of millions of Flash storage devices are in use worldwide and there have been no verifiable reports of Flash storage damage due to airport X-ray scanners. However; as a precaution, drives should be treated just like unprocessed film and stored in carry-on luggage, as the passenger screening radiation levels are much lower than those used by newer luggage scanning machines.

6. Always make backups of your data.

Flash storage devices are not infallible and can have their data damaged due to factors mentioned above. It is important to backup important information on multiple media for long-term storage.

7. Do Not Edit Files Directly On The Flash Drive

Yet another simple but often forgotten rule when it comes to using flash drives is to not edit files directly on them. If you have to make any edits to your files, copy them to your computer. Afterward, unplug your flash drive properly, make the necessary edits, then copy your files back. 

8. When Not In Use, Do Not Leave The Flash Drive Connected To Your Computer

Leaving your flash drive or card on for too long not only increases its usage rate, but also heats up the device. Additionally, it is prone to data corruption especially if the flash drive is suddenly yanked out.

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Categories: News & Resources

MicroSD cards are becoming more widely adopted, on everything from action cameras to phones to video game consoles. But it’s a good idea not to use one in your dedicated camera, at least not if it doesn’t have a MicroSD card slot.

Why? It’s all about the “sleeve,” the little plastic adapter that comes with a lot of MicroSD cards sold. It’s handy if you need to read the contents of the MicroSD card on a laptop or desktop with no dedicated MicroSD slot, but it isn’t designed for constant use.

Let’s step back a bit. Modern cameras deal with huge amounts of data: 15+ megapixel images, as well as HD and 4K video at 60 frames per second or higher. Full-sized cameras, unlike smartphones, don’t have much in the way of internal storage—they have to write it all to a flash storage card right away. The more images and video you’re taking every second, the faster you need your camera to write data.

That’s why the “performance” of a memory card is so important: those extra labels like “Class 10” and “UHS-3” all deal with the maximum amount of data the card can handle for reading and writing at any given moment. When you buy a speedy and expensive MicroSD card, the card itself can handle that data throughput without any problems, but the same can’t be said for the SD adapter sleeve that came in the package.

The sleeve should technically be able to handle the same speedy data transfer as the tiny card—the electrical contacts are basically just miniature extension cables. And indeed, some of the sleeves that have been tested can score the same on drive speed tests as the unaided MicroSD cards that they’re housing. But when used with a high-performance camera, the extra steps in the writing process slow down the performance.

A practical example: A Sony Alpha A6000 (which we use here at ebs) can shoot six 24-megapixel images per second. At high shutter speeds, it sounds like a little plastic machine gun. But that’s an enormous amount of data, somewhere between 20 and 100 megabytes every second, depending on the contents of the image and the quality setting. When the relatively small memory buffer of the camera’s own hardware runs out, it needs a super-fast SD card to take full advantage of the hardware’s capabilities.

We have a full range of SD Cards available for your DSLR and Mirrorless Camera equipment. After you check the specs of your camera model, check out our inventory for the best prices for your SD Cards. A great option is PNY’s 64GB SDXC Elite Performance SD Card.

There’s nothing wrong with using MicroSD cards in devices that are designed for them. And to be honest, most who use the smaller cards with adapter sleeves won’t notice the difference, or won’t notice often. But if you bought your DSLR or mirrorless camera for fast, reliable performance, you should buy a separate card that’s made specifically for its format—full-sized SD for most models on the market today. They’re quite inexpensive at the moment, and the more reliable performance is worth it.

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Categories: News & Resources

Flash memory is a rapidly evolving market with new innovations hitting just as rapidly, from new kinds of storage itself to new packaging types that are intended to solve emerging problems. Flash memory is moving beyond top-tier performance solutions to storage tiers with more moderate performance needs. Not understanding how flash memory and storage can benefit your business may be hampering your success in the market. It’s important to understand the facts and dispel those popular myths so that you can make the best possible decision for your specific needs. So here are a few myths and rumors circulating about several types of flash memory. 

Myth #1: Unplugging a USB from a Computer Without “Safely Removing the Hardware” Results in Damage

It is a popular belief that unplugging a USB directly from a computer will result in damage. This is a complete myth with the exception of one instance. The only time you can really cause damage to your drive or to the host computer is removing a flash drive when it is in use. This can actually cause severe damage to a computer. So as a tip, never remove a USB while it is in use! For all other occurrences, it is completely safe to remove your USB with no further protocol. 

Myth #2: When a USB breaks, Your Data is Lost Forever

Unlike a CD or DVD that breaks, when a USB breaks your data is not 100% lost. USBs have been blown up with explosives and data has survived, so the likelihood that your data is still on the drive from a more common failure is actually pretty good. The method for data retrieval may be out of the skill knowledge for the average computer user, but it is certainly possible. There are programs on you can buy or download that will help you retrieve deleted or missing data off a flash drive, as well as there, are professional computer forensics companies that specialize in data retrieval in the event that traditional programs don’t work. So is it possible to lose your data permanently; yes, but it could be potentially saved through other means.

Myth #3: SSDs are Too Expensive

When SSDs (Solid State Drives) were first introduced, they were priced so much higher than HDDs. However, flash memory technology has already matured, and prices are falling and becoming more comparable with HDDs (Hard Disk Drives). Over the long-term, SSDs can narrow the price difference through other factors that lead to lower total costs. SSDs do not have movable or mechanical parts, so they can withstand strong shocks and vibrations without any functional interruption or danger of data loss, translating to fewer costly service calls and fewer drive replacements. Faster data access leads to greater productivity, and lower power consumption generates substantial power savings. 

Myth #4: Flash Memory is OK for USB keys and maybe consumer devices like laptops, but I can’t trust it with my more valuable data.

USB key design is completely different from consumer SSDs for laptops, and those are different from enterprise-grade drives. All these denominations of flash memory are designed to meet certain needs, both with respect to capacity and performance. Enterprise flash devices such as SSDs have been engineered with unprecedented reliability, end to end protection, temperature throttling technology, and groundbreaking Quality of Service. In fact, they are far more reliable and offer greater performance than the HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) our industry has relied on for years!

Myth #5: SSDs are Not Big Enough to Be Effective

When choosing a storage solution, capacity is almost always among the top considerations. For data-hungry applications, the advent of 3D NAND technology is a welcome boost. 3D NAND technology is able to achieve higher densities at lower costs per bit. This simply means that there can be more bits per cell causing more storage capacity in a smaller frame.  Without overcomplicating things, the more technology evolves, the more capacity a relatively “small” SSD will be equipped with. Size is not always an adequate structure for evaluating capability and compatibility to your needs. 

Myth #6: The USB Connector on a Flash Drive is Very weak

This is one of those myths that got things completely backward! The USB connector on all standard USB flash drives is made from metal and is quite resistant to damage or bending. The rest of the USB drive, however, is not. Most USB drive cases are made from plastic or other materials and are vulnerable to breaking or bending as compared to the USB connector itself. Even on the inside of a USB, the PCB board is more fragile than the metal USB connector. So can a USB connector break; absolutely, but it is far stronger than we often think.

Myth #7: SSD Management is Complicated

SSDs (Solid State Drives) write and erase data differently from HDDs(Hard Disk Drives). The basic unit for storing data on an SSD is called a page; several pages make up what’s known as a block. To write new data on pages where old data currently resides, valid pages need to be relocated and the entire block has to be deleted. The process of constant moving and relocating data is called garbage collection. This function ensures optimum performance and better endurance. Another way to ease SSD management is ATP’s Life Monitor/S.M.A.R.T. Tool which provides a user-friendly interface for monitoring the health status and life expectancy of a flash product.

Myth #8: USB Drives are Vulnerable to Magnets

This myth more than likely originated even before USBs were created, but it is still a myth nonetheless. USB flash drives are completely resistant to magnetic fields as they themselves are not magnetic! USB drives are built with none magnetic materials. However, USBs store data in such a way that it wouldn’t matter if it’s materials were in fact magnetic. This, of course, extends to all types of flash memory such as SSDs, SD cards, etc. and as a side fact, even traditional hard drives are immune. In fact, a traditional hard drive uses a very powerful magnet to move the head.

Myth #9: All USBs are destroyed when Dunked in Water

This particular myth does have some truth to it. It is a well-known fact that if you put a standard flash drive into water, and then plug it in, you will more than likely break your flash drive. However, simply putting a flash drive into water does not hurt it. It is only when the USB is wet and plugged into any device that gives it power does it short out. So as a tip, if your drive gets wet, put it in a jar of uncooked rice or silica gel for 24 hours and make sure it is 100% dry before plugging it back in. As long as there is not an electrical current passing through the drive when it is wet, the drive will most likely survive.

Myth #10: Flash Memory is not field-tested, and represents a bigger risk than traditional storage

Flash memory has no moving parts. Physical wear and tear is a key cause of failure in traditional disk storage. In stress tests, Flash memory failure rates are much lower because of this and other variables. The lack of moving parts also makes them less vulnerable to changes in environmental factors, such as temperature, moisture, and so on, which are key points of vulnerability for traditional IT systems. It also makes it better suited for use in more varied scenarios – on ‘mobile’ computing resources, hence its rapid adoption in cell phones.

Like all myths, it’s important to get clarity and proper information in order to make the best possible decisions for you and your business. The main thing to remember when it comes to the tech space and flash memory specifically is that change is a certainty. Technology will constantly evolve, prices will almost always fluctuate based on demand and Everything But Stromboli will always be here to help severe you in all of your flash memory needs.