Reliability of off-brand memory cards

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Zen Cohen, May 15, 2006.

  1. Zen Cohen

    Zen Cohen Guest

    Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The card died
    after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a replacement but I am
    wary of using their memory now for anything important. Do these off-brand
    cards tend to be less unreliable than name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has
    anyone heard of PQI's reputation for reliability?

    TIA.
    Zen Cohen, May 15, 2006
    #1
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  2. Zen Cohen

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Zen Cohen" <> writes:
    > Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The card died
    > after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a replacement but I am
    > wary of using their memory now for anything important. Do these off-brand
    > cards tend to be less unreliable than name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has
    > anyone heard of PQI's reputation for reliability?


    PQI has in general been pretty respectable. I don't think Sandisk is
    all that great either, especially the non-Ultra line.

    I just got a Transcend 2GB card for $40.95 at newegg.com, wish me luck.
    Paul Rubin, May 15, 2006
    #2
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  3. Zen Cohen

    Mark² Guest

    Zen Cohen wrote:
    > Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The
    > card died after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a
    > replacement but I am wary of using their memory now for anything
    > important. Do these off-brand cards tend to be less unreliable than
    > name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has anyone heard of PQI's reputation
    > for reliability?
    > TIA.


    I'd never heard of PQI until someone mention it here a few days ago.

    I have to say...
    They offer an 8GB(!) CF card for only $199, and as much as I'd love to jump
    on that deal, I can't help but think they've GOT to be cutting corners
    SOMEWHERE.
    -That's just too dang cheap.
    Perhaps others here will provide evidence or statistics that can boost my
    confidence...(that means more than, "Mine works," btw). I just paid $199
    for a 4GB SanDisk Utra III, and that seemed cheap to me. I'm going to
    Ukraine in a few weeks, and guess which one I'm more confident in... When
    you up a creek due to memory card failure, it pays to pay...and be
    reasonably sure of reliability.

    -M
    Mark², May 15, 2006
    #3
  4. Zen Cohen

    Peter Guest

    > I'd never heard of PQI until someone mention it here a few days ago.
    >
    > I have to say...
    > They offer an 8GB(!) CF card for only $199, and as much as I'd love to
    > jump on that deal, I can't help but think they've GOT to be cutting
    > corners SOMEWHERE.
    > -That's just too dang cheap.


    Most likely it's slow as hell. I picked up 'ultra high speed 140x' GXT 4GB
    card for about $180, and it's much slower than 20x Kingston 1GB...

    Peter
    Peter, May 15, 2006
    #4
  5. Zen Cohen

    tomm42 Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > "Zen Cohen" <> writes:
    > > Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The card died
    > > after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a replacement but I am
    > > wary of using their memory now for anything important. Do these off-brand
    > > cards tend to be less unreliable than name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has
    > > anyone heard of PQI's reputation for reliability?

    >
    > PQI has in general been pretty respectable. I don't think Sandisk is
    > all that great either, especially the non-Ultra line.
    >
    > I just got a Transcend 2GB card for $40.95 at newegg.com, wish me luck.


    I have used Lexar, Kingston, SanDisk, Dane Electric and PNY cards. The
    only card that failed was a Lexar. That was several years ago, I could
    probably restore it now. If you write from a Mac to a card, several
    cameras won't recognize the card, so you reformat it on a PC and then
    again in the camera. Anyway a friend calls anything not Lexar or San
    Disk off brand, scoffed when I told him I had a Kingston 50X for my
    D200. So I think off brands are in the eye of the beholder. Transcend
    seems to be in the upper ranges of Rob Galbraith's data base, just
    below the fastest Lexar and SanDisk, so I wouldn't worry too much.

    Tom
    tomm42, May 15, 2006
    #5
  6. Zen Cohen

    Dan Guest

    It is possible that because nobody heard of PQI (me including) it cannot
    put a mark up on the price that others carry with that name (Lexar,
    Sandisk etc). For all we know they are made on the same factory and the
    only difference is the plastic they use. I clearly remember when Lexar
    had a spell of bad luck when they fat fingered a whole series of cards
    and nobody wanted to touch them with a barge pole.


    Mark² wrote:
    > Zen Cohen wrote:
    >> Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The
    >> card died after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a
    >> replacement but I am wary of using their memory now for anything
    >> important. Do these off-brand cards tend to be less unreliable than
    >> name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has anyone heard of PQI's reputation
    >> for reliability?
    >> TIA.

    >
    > I'd never heard of PQI until someone mention it here a few days ago.
    >
    > I have to say...
    > They offer an 8GB(!) CF card for only $199, and as much as I'd love to jump
    > on that deal, I can't help but think they've GOT to be cutting corners
    > SOMEWHERE.
    > -That's just too dang cheap.
    > Perhaps others here will provide evidence or statistics that can boost my
    > confidence...(that means more than, "Mine works," btw). I just paid $199
    > for a 4GB SanDisk Utra III, and that seemed cheap to me. I'm going to
    > Ukraine in a few weeks, and guess which one I'm more confident in... When
    > you up a creek due to memory card failure, it pays to pay...and be
    > reasonably sure of reliability.
    >
    > -M
    >
    >
    Dan, May 15, 2006
    #6
  7. Zen Cohen

    B. Peg Guest

    I had maybe 3 SanDisk go back once I gave them the serials (wouldn't
    write/format). One was a thumbdrive. They provided me with an online
    self-addressed pre-paid FedEx label. All were replaced and no problems
    since. Pretty good customer service, imo.

    I would hesitate against one large storage card over two smallers if you are
    traveling. When they die, it gets ugly.

    I did buy a CompUSA branded 512meg MMC card for the Nokia phone. The
    computer sees it as a Kingson or something like that. No problems...yet.

    B~
    B. Peg, May 15, 2006
    #7
  8. Zen Cohen

    y_p_w Guest

    Dan wrote:
    > It is possible that because nobody heard of PQI (me including) it cannot
    > put a mark up on the price that others carry with that name (Lexar,
    > Sandisk etc). For all we know they are made on the same factory and the
    > only difference is the plastic they use. I clearly remember when Lexar
    > had a spell of bad luck when they fat fingered a whole series of cards
    > and nobody wanted to touch them with a barge pole.


    The problem is that brand name doesn't always equate to the actual
    manufacturer. In many ways, basic flash memory cards are a
    commodity item. Resellers can simply take bids and decide who
    they want to purchase from. One lot from a certain brand may be
    from a different supplier than another lot. If there's a bad lot, they
    might eat the cost of returns. Even some of the large manufacturers
    like Lexar might buy commodity parts if their own factories can't
    churn out enough product to meet demand.

    Although SanDisk seems to have a better reputation for compatibility
    and reliability, I found that a circa 2002 red/blue 128 MB CF card was
    the slowest one I ever bought. I ran some Norton Utilities format
    tests, and CF cards with PNY or Memorex labels outperformed the
    SanDisk. However - the SanDisk Ultra II seems to have done well
    in speed tests - from many reviews.

    PNY seems to be one of the big relabellers. I bought a 512 MB SD
    card that was labelled as made in Japan. It clearly said "TOSHIBA"
    on the back, so there was no question as to who the manufacturer
    was.

    Possibly the most consistently reliable flash card standard is the
    xD Picture Card. It was basically one manufacturer (Toshiba) sold
    as two brand names (FujiFilm and Olympus). Even SanDisk
    resold Olympus labelled xD cards made by Toshiba at one time.
    I think SanDisk may now make xD cards.
    y_p_w, May 15, 2006
    #8
  9. Zen Cohen

    Bob Williams Guest

    Zen Cohen wrote:
    > Bought a 2GB SD card at Fry's -- PQI Memory is the brand name. The card died
    > after a coupla weeks. To its credit, PQI is sending a replacement but I am
    > wary of using their memory now for anything important. Do these off-brand
    > cards tend to be less unreliable than name-brand cards like SanDisk? Has
    > anyone heard of PQI's reputation for reliability?
    >
    > TIA.
    >
    >

    I buy whatever is the cheapest at the time I need new memory, from a
    reputable retailer, like Newegg.
    I have never been disappointed.
    They all work just fine.
    In 5 years I've only had one card fail.
    About 4 years ago I bought a 64MB DANE CF card on ebay that cratered
    after a few uses.
    Bob Williams, May 15, 2006
    #9
  10. Zen Cohen

    ASAAR Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 16:45:08 GMT, B. Peg wrote:

    > I would hesitate against one large storage card over two smallers if you
    > are traveling. When they die, it gets ugly.


    Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. That is, another way of
    looking at it is if your large card dies, you would replace it as
    quickly as possible with a beauty of a new card. On the other hand,
    if you had two of the same smaller cards and one died, you'd
    continue traveling, waiting for the other shoe ... card to drop. :)
    Now if you're traveling where camera/computer shops don't exist,
    making it difficult to get another card, you'd probably want to
    bring added protection in the form of a second camera.
    ASAAR, May 15, 2006
    #10
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