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SDHC vs SDXC: 4 talking points

Memory card capacities and their names are often described by the file systems they have on them. With SD cards being more and more popular with a vast array of devices these days, picking the right one can seem like a difficult task.

In this article, we’re comparing SDHC cards to SDXC cards to figure out which one’s the better of the two. 

Also read: SSHD vs SSD vs HDD: 3 talking points


What is SDHC?

SD cards are something we’re all accustomed to seeing. However, they’re limited in capacity to up to 2GB. As made abundantly clear by their name, SDHC cards, otherwise known as Secure Digital High Capacity, can hold up to 32 GB of data. These cards are also much faster in terms of data transfer speed as compared to older SD cards.


What is SDXC?

SDXC comes as the next step to SDHC cards. The term stands for Secure Digital Extended Capacity, and these cards can go as high as 2 TBs. Data transfer speeds in a similar fashion are higher than SDHC cards but so are the prices.

Also read: How to migrate the OS from HDD to SSD?


What is the difference?

The obvious differences lie in card capacities, data transfer speeds and prices. However, there are few other things you might want to keep an eye out for before you make a purchase. 

Capacities

Aforementioned, SDXC cards come in higher capacities as compared to SDHC cards. More specifically, SDHC cards come in 4, 8, 16 and 32 GB capacities, while with an SDXC card, you can go as high as 2 TBs in the same increments. 


Data transfer speeds

While data transfer speeds largely depend on the class of the card, generally speaking, even a lower class SDXC card will have slightly higher if not similar data transfer speeds as the corresponding lower class SDHC card. 

SDHC cards can go as high as 10 MB/s, while SDXC cards can achieve read speeds of up to 300 MB/s. Note that these numbers are in megabytes per second and not confused with megabits per second (represented as Mbps). 

Some cards show speeds as a number followed by an ‘X’. The ‘X’ here is purely a marketing trick. 1x represents 150kbps. Hence a card rated at 600X would give you read speeds of 90 MB/s (600 x 150 = 90,000). The speeds indicated on the cards are almost always read speeds, which are usually higher than write speeds. 


File systems

SDXC cards use the exFAT file system, which better suits their higher file capacities. On the other hand, SDHC cards use the traditional FAT32 file system, which works better on smaller capacity cards that can’t take advantage of exFAT. 


Price

Keeping their obvious advantages in mind, SDXC cards are prices significantly higher than their SDHC counterparts. Of course, the price of an individual card is influenced by its size and class (2, 4, 6 or 10), but as a general rule of thumb, you can safely assume that an SDXC card, on average, will be more expensive than an SDHC card. 

FeaturesSDHCSDXC
CapacityUp to 32 GBUp to 2 TB
Storage SpeedRead Speeds up to 10MB/s.Read Speeds up to 300MB/s.
File SystemFAT32exFAT
PriceGenerally cheaper.More expensive than SDHC cards.

Also read: How to install a second SSD or HDD in your laptop?


Which one should you buy?

The decision comes down largely to where you’re planning to use the card and your purpose. If you’re planning to get a better card for your DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can most probably get away with a good SDHC card unless you have a top of the line product.

That is, as long as you’re shooting photos. If you’re thinking of recording videos, especially above 1080p, consider an SDXC card. Not only will the higher capacity give you more recording time, but it also will work with your camera better as higher resolutions require faster speeds to be recorded properly. 

Also read: SATA SSD vs PCIe SSD: Which one should you buy?

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