Most people know OCZ for their performance memory modules, but the company does actually produce several other things. Besides the traditional memory for PC enthusiasts they also provide performance memory modules based on USB 2.0 or SD standards for use in cameras and MP3 players.
Today we are taking a look at yet another innovative piece of hardware from OCZ, namely the OCZ Secure Digital Dual. This little piece of hardware combines the SecureDigital form with a USB 2.0 connector, making it extremely versatile. Because of the USB 2.0 connector you don't need an SD card reader in order to get access and decent speeds from your SD card.
Specifications from OCZ Technology:
- Available in 80X and 133X Speeds
- Dimensions: 32 x 24 x 2.1 mm (L x W x H)
- Official Secure Digital™ (SD)Compliant
- High-Speed USB 2.0
- Write-Protection Switch
- Lifetime Warranty
The SD-cards from OCZ are available in several different speeds, the one we are taking a look at today is the 80x speed version of the 1GB card.
The OCZ 1GB SD memory card comes enclosed in plastic, the only accessory bundled with the card is a protective plastic carrying box.
On the back of the package OCZ lists some of the specs of the memory card and the equivalent of 1 GB in number of pictures at different resolutions, it's quite easy to judge how many pictures you can store on the card according to the tabel.
This card is what manufacturers like to call 80x referring to the speed of the card, this way of labeling cards is not very intuitive because it means that the card can produce the equivalent bandwidth of a 80x CD-ROM drive. So generally speaking this means that a 1x SD-card has the theoretical bandwidth of 150KB/s, by using this method of calculation a 80x card should be able to produce a bandwidth of 12MB/s (80 x 150KB/s :1000 = 12MB/s).
One of the nice things about most OCZ products is that they have a life time warranty meaning that you can exchange your card if it breaks under normal use, this of course doesn't include physically breaking the card.
On the front of the package you can also see some illustrations of the card and the USB 2.0 port which is built into the card.
Above you can see the card in its container box.
One of the things that makes this card special is the integrated USB 2.0 connector that allows this card to connect to a PC without an SD-card reader. As you can see the card looks just like a regular SD-card with the protective cap on. If you remove the protective cap the USB connector becomes visible, compared to a normal memory stick it lacks the metal shell that helps the user insert it correctly.
As you can see the card looks pretty standard with the protective cap on. The construction of the card seems pretty sturdy even though the card can be split up into two pieces.
With the protective cap off this card looks like a fusion between a USB memory stick and an SD-card, which of course is exactly what it is. I really like the concept of the Secure Digital Dual, because it can be used as an SD-card while still maintaining functionality of a USB memory stick. It's very convenient because you don't need a SD-card reader in order to get information out of the card, all you need is a USB 2.0 port on your PC or laptop.
Besides from being able to transform into a USB memory stick the card also has a write protect function which can be enable by manipulating a little bar on the side of card. This is a pretty standard feature, but it's nice to have if you have some important stuff on the card that you want to keep.
The card looks standard with the protective cap on, also the layout with the write lock placed towards the top on the left side of the card is standard.
On the picture above you can see how the card looks when inserted correctly into a USB port. Inserting the card rotated into the USB port is possible, but it will not harm the card, it will simply not be detected.
This card offers two ways of connecting it to a PC, you can either go for the classical way by inserting it into a SD-card reader or you can choose to remove the protective cap and insert it into a USB 2.0 port. I have benchmarked this card in both scenarios and put it up against my A-DATA reference card and the new A-DATA infoSD 512MB SD-card.
To test the capabilities of it connected via the SD port I have used a SanDisk 12 in 1 card reader which is isn't a bottleneck for performance since it can cope with almost 40MB/s bandwidth. To bench the memory cards I have used HDTach 2.7 which is a really good benchmark program that not only measures the bandwidth of the card but also calculates CPU usage and access time of the card.
In order to test the cards with different transfer sizes I have used ATTO benchmark system which generates multiple scenarios with different chunk sizes and measures the read and write performance of the card.
The average read speed of the OCZ card is almost as good as my ADATA 1 GB reference card. It's close to performing the acclaimed bandwidth of 80x (12 MB/s) in the HDTach benchmark.
When it comes to latency the OCZ card falls a bit behind its A-DATA rivals, whether this is due to the implementation of a USB port is unknown but the latency is high compared to the other SD cards.
Above you can see the complete performance analysis after my HDTach 2.7 test of the card. The read speeds across the entire medium are uniform and the latency is average for a SD-card.
One of the nice things about the OCZ Secure Digital Dual 1 GB is that it offers roughly the same performance whether it's connected via USB or an SD port.
The left image shows a screenshot of the ATTO benchmark while the card was connected through an SD-card reader. The read speed tops out at about 14 MB/s which is good for a card rated 80x. The right picture shows the same benchmark done while the card was connected through a USB 2.0 port, the results were almost the same but the write speed was a full 2 MB/s under what the card is capable of connected via an SD-card reader. On the other hand the read speed is a bit better when the card is connected via USB 2.0 but it's with such a little margin that nobody will ever feel the difference.
Value & Conclusion
- The OCZ Secure Digital Dual 1GB 80x retails for about $40.
- Read/Write Performance
- Works as both SD and USB2.0 memory card
The OCZ Secure Digital Dual 1 GB is a really good SD-card that can also function as a USB2.0 memory card. What I really like about the card besides from the general performance is that you can access its data anywhere with every PC because of the USB2.0 capability. This is quite handy because you do not have to carry a card reader on you which is quite handy for a student like me.
One of the neat things about this card is the write performance, which is way better than most SD-cards. This means that you won't miss that second all important shot because your camera is still writing to the memory card. I have tested this with my 10 MP camera and there was actually a substantial reduction in write time over my A-DATA 1GB card.
Now the only thing that I disliked about the card is the access time which is way above that of my two A-DATA cards. This of course isn't that important unless you plan on using it as a Vista ReadyBoost memory.