Flash memory cards are tougher than they look.

This is surprisingly good news for the more absent-minded of us out there. Seems the folks at Digital Camera Shopper magazine wanted to find out how tough the digital memory commonly used in digital cameras really is so they put several types through a torture test:

BBC NEWS – Digital memories survive extremes

The formats were CompactFlash, Secure Digital, xD, Memory Stick and Smartmedia.

Even some of the thinner cards that appear to be fragile fared well in the trial.

They were dipped into cola, put through a washing machine, dunked in coffee, trampled by a skateboard, run over by a child’s toy car and given to a six-year-old boy to destroy.

Perhaps surprisingly, all the cards survived these six tests.

Most of them did fail to get through two additional tests – being smashed by a sledgehammer and being nailed to a tree.

Even then, data experts Ontrack Data Recovery were able to retrieve photos from the xD and Smartmedia cards.

Considering that CDs were first touted as being damn near indestructible and would last forever and then turned out to be susceptible to scratches just like you old LPs and prone to breaking own within a decade or two, it was probably safe to assume that Flash memory wouldn’t be a whole lot more robust. There’s no word for how many years Flash memory can hold onto its data before breaking down, but it’s good to know you can abuse them a little without fear of screwing them up. If they hold onto data for long periods without corruption then they may end up being the archival format of choice before too much longer. Especially with monstrous cards holding up to 14 GBs coming onto the market these days.

2 thoughts on “Flash memory cards are tougher than they look.

  1. I learned this for myself a while back, when I dropped a Compact Flash card onto the gravel parking lot where I parked my car and then spent two days literally running over it, while it was getting rained on. I found it all dented and soaked, dried it out, and it still worked. I still use that card every day.

  2. Considering how easily most things break these days it does my heart good to know that something “new” is also relatively tough.

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