Sunday, March 23, 2008

SanDisk 8GB Memory Stick Micro M2 review

Sony and SanDisk's Memory Stick Micro M2 is one of the smallest flash memory cards in existence, almost nearly as small as a microSD card and half that of a standard SIM card. This 8GB version is my newest gadget acquisition. \(^_^)/

Blister pack must die!

The picture below says it all. On the top right is a generic CompactFlash card, first introduced in 1994 by Sandisk. See how much flash memory card has reduced in size over the years. Sony's Memory Stick card, introduced in 1998, was the size of a chewing gum. A year later, the SD card standard was introduced, based on the now dead MMC format. It was the size of a stamp. The competing companies continued releasing new cards and "standards", eventually coming up with nail sized micro cards that are smaller than a SIM cards. Amazing really to see how far technology has come. I remember buying a 128MB Memory Stick and a 128MB Toshiba SD card seven years ago, both costing above £80, and this 8GB card is 1/4th the size and costs half.

xD memory, :( :( :(

SanDisk provides adaptors for most of their products, and is no different in this case (Sony doesn't for their M2 branded cards). Included in the package is a Memory Stick Pro Duo adaptor for use on devices which contains a Pro Duo slot (e.g. Sony PSP), but not a USB card reader that is available as part of another package. However unlike their 2GB microSD multi-SD kit that I blogged about last year, an adaptor for the largest format in its family (in this case, the standard Memory Stick slot) was not provided. Not that I care anyway, as I can easily slip it into the provided M2-Duo adaptor and then slip it into a Memory Stick-Duo adaptor. But really though, who still owns or uses products that has the full size chewing gum slot?

Using ATTO Disk Benchmark, SanDisk's claim of sustained 3MB/s write speed is proven to be true. This was while using my PSP as a card reader. The average read speed is pegged at around 7MB/s with a maximum speed of 8MB/s. No doubt it would be faster using a dedicated M2 USB card reader, but either way, the M2 isn't the fastest card out there anyway. Not that it matters as M2 cards were not designed to be used in high performance devices that requires ultra fast writing speed (e.g. Digital SLR). Personally I am happy so long as it allows me to watch high quality videos without frame rate drop-outs - and in this case it does pass with flying colours.

8GB Duos and M2s are still pretty rare and expensive, although I was lucky to have managed to procure the 8GB M2 at the price I was comfortable with. Now on to converting my 72 episode DVD Futurama collection.


rznr said...

hi there,
wanted to know if the speed is good enough to play ps1 games or eg backups on the psp? i'm about to buy one, but i am a bit concerned about the speed :)

Jon said...

I have not installed any games on it (it is so far strictly for videos), but the write speed is genuinely slower than my Sony 4GB Pro Duo. Regardless the read speed is faster than a UMD, so I doubt there would be a problem playing games off it.

Pro Duos are faster though, so I might suggest getting those if speed is a requirement. But I will test a game with it later tonight.

rnzr said...

great :) then i'll wait for your testings and order it then!

thank you!

Jon said...

Works fine with Metal Gear Solid (PS1). Didn't notice any significance loading difference between when using a Pro Duo and this M2. I am going to assume the read speed between the two are almost similar.

Write speed is where I noticed the biggest difference.

Dr Indiflidual said...

I have a SanDisk M2 8GB card and cannot format it for 8GB. Have tried:

- Format in Win XP, maximum partition is 3.5GB, result is 3.5GB drive.
- Format using DOS prompt, will only format with options FAT32 and 32K allocation units, result is 3.5GB drive.
- Format in Mac OS X Leopard, maximum partition is 3.5GB, although in Finder it says drive is 7.5GB, but I can only copy 3.5GB worth of data, then it gives a write error.
- Using WinHex software in Win XP to examine the drive it says it's 3.5GB and there is no indication of any extra space.

I bought it from Amazon and looks like a genuine SanDisk product.

Any advice on how to successfully format it for 8GB?

Many thanks!

Jon said...

It is definitely a fake. Return to Amazon and demand a refund. If you bought from a third party merchant, report them.

Counterfeiters have a way of spoofing the amount of memory available. If you try to copy more than it can take, an error will occur.

If you have access to a PSP, you can check whether the stick supports MagicGate. To do so, press triangle on MemoryStick and press information. Genuine M2 supports MagicGate.

Good luck.

Dr Indiflidual said...

Thanks for the info Jon!

I've found that I can use the 8GB capacity while K800i is connected with USB cable. So I guess that means it's fine.

But this is slow to copy data and my old method of connecting to PC or Mac with a USB multicard reader doesn't work. (it does for 1gb M2 card)

Could this be linked to MagicGate copy-protection? Do I need a special type of card reader? Any idea what's different about the 8GB to cause this?

Jon said...

Sorry for the late reply. As far as I know M2 should work fine on any M2/Duo readers. It works on my girlfriend's laptop with a built-in SD/MS reader (I used two adaptors! LOL!).

To those visiting from hotukdeals, yes it works on the PSP and games works just fine running from it.