Memory card health degrade over time?

2 weeks 1 day ago #730160 by Tom Henry
Let's say you have a 128gb SD card.  Will over time this card degrade and will that affect the size of the card?  For example would that card have an effective 119GB of usable space 10 years from now?  This question stems from camera  batteries degrade over time, so I was curious if memory cards share the same anomaly?  


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2 weeks 1 day ago #730161 by Nikon Shooter
Batteries degrades because it is based on electrochemical compounds.
With time, the suggested chemical reactions will exhaust and possibly
damage their container. Electrochemical compounds are not replaceable.

Known as electro-magnetic devices — that may fade too on the long run,
memory cards are recycled every time new suff is recorded. Made of zil-
lions of micro switches that work or fail "mechanically".

I use some cards since 12 years with no observable degradation. Go in
peace and doubt no more! :P

Light is free… capturing it is not!
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2 weeks 1 day ago - 2 weeks 22 hours ago #730173 by TCav
Flash memory fails.

Flash memory cards all immediately read back the data that has just been written to them, and if what's been read doesn't match the source, a card will automatically block off that sector, remap it to a spare sector, and try again. When a card runs out of spare sectors, it just stops working.

So, no, the card doesn't get a lower capacity over time, it just fails.

What distinguishes reliable cards from less reliable cards is the number of spare sectors the cards have.

In general, SanDisk and Lexar have more spare sectors than most other manufacturer's cards, which makes them among the more reliable brands, but it takes a long time to notice the difference.


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1 week 6 days ago #730205 by Patrick G
Agree, the card doesn't decrease  in size, but can become fragmented over time 


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1 week 6 days ago #730217 by TCav

Patrick G wrote: ... but can become fragmented over time 


True, but there are no moving parts, so fragmentation doesn't matter.


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1 week 5 days ago #730244 by CharleyL
Lo level reformatting the card, after you have removed any data that you wish to save, will eliminate the fragmentation, map and remove any bad areas from use, and restore the speed and usefulness of the card. If there are a significant number of bad areas, you will notice a reduction of card capacity. If it becomes a significant reduction, I would replace the card. They just aren't that expensive any more.

Charley 


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1 week 5 days ago - 1 week 5 days ago #730255 by TCav
Fragmentation is an issue with disk drives because the read/write head has to keep bouncing around to read what would otherwise be a contiguous sequence of sectors. Since flash memory doesn't have any moving parts, fragmentation is inconsequential, even if it did occur, but unlike disk drives, flash memory devices come with spare sectors that failed sectors are remapped to. A low level format will find any newly failed sectors and remap them, but if the card has used up all its spare sectors, the card will just fail.

I think people are confusing what happens with disk drives with what happens with flash memory.


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1 week 3 days ago #730394 by CharleyL
Flash memory isn't magnetic, like most hard drives, so don't decay with age. The memory cells either work or they don't. A low level reformat is the best way to clean it up and block any bad spots from use. A regular reformat won't work. You need the low level reformat to truly clean the card up and remove defects from use. 

We are going to solid state drives now in our computers to get the mechanical and magnetic problems out of the hard drives. A solid state hard drive is just a very big flash memory card and way more reliable than the old hard disk drives, but even solid state drives and flash cards can fail. Just not nearly as often as the mechanical and magnetic properties in the old drives.

Charley


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1 week 1 day ago #730508 by MYoung
I have memory cards that are 10 years or nearly 10 years old and they still work.  I don't use them much because they are smaller cards, but they still work.  


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1 week 4 hours ago #730543 by Stanly
Never had one degrade over time.  Had one that became fragmented, but that's that. 

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2 days 5 hours ago #730793 by Brody Kross
I don't think so, never had any card failures like this


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1 day 15 hours ago #730841 by CharleyL
Physical damage or inadequate capacity due to age is usually the more frequent cause of their demise.

Charley


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