Well, we’re getting down to the final weeks. Actually, I think there is roughly 4 weeks left (give or take a few days) before we depart for SE Asia. So each weekend (at least for me) I will be slowly getting my stuff together. I need to figure out the logistics of carrying my clothes etc in a 70L backpack and then figure out what bag I want to use as a carry-on for my Macbook Air and camera gear.
First though, I have been looking at memory and storage for the trip. With my Mackbook Air (MBA) I have a 128GB SSD which really isn’t all that much, in terms of storage. I did manage to free up an extra 40GB as I deleted my Windows Bootcamp partition. Since I am not doing any Win32 programming right now, I can sacrifice running Windows.
The two things I have been looking at in terms of memory and storage; External Hard Drive and extra Camera Memory.
Camera Memory: SDHC
With my Canon XSi, it uses SDHC, or Secure Digital High Capacity, cards. I currently have a Lexar Professional 8GB SDHC and it’s awesome. So what makes it a “Professional” SDHC? The read/write speeds. This particular card is 133x or 20MBps. This is what they would say is their guaranteed minimum read speed, the write speed will be a little lower. Even if my Canon XSi (with its DiGiC 3 processor) cannot get up to the top speed, it does help when off-loading the photos to the computer. I’ve seen a variety of forum posts that seem to agree that the Canon XSi can reach up to about 11-13MBps with its write speed so this card is just about right. I loaded up a little benchmark utility to see how fast my MBA can read/write data to and from the Lexar Professional 8GB SDHC, here are the results:
As you can see, it did manage to hit the 20MBps read speed, with showing the write speed being a little slower. All the benchmarks I have done have been through USB2.0 as I currently do not own any Thunderbolt card readers (wish I did!). USB2.0 has a theoretical read speed of up to approximately 42MBps and the write speed about 30MBps, so if I had a higher quality SDHC, I still have some room to maximum my read/writes.
This is where the Kingston SDHC 8GB cards come in. I did not want to spend lots of money on new memory cards and I actually have been having a hard time trying to find the 8GB Lexar Professional or the SanDisk Extremes for a decent price or even a place that has them in-stock. It’s much easier to find 16GB and higher cards, but then the prices start to increase dramatically. Over at NCIX, I managed to find the Class 10 (10MBps) Kingston 8GB SDHC on sale (at the time of this post $7.99), so I bought 3 of them. I will have a total 32GB of memory (4x 8GB) to use with my Canon XSi which can work out to be approximately 1,800 RAW photos. I thought about getting the 16GB cards, but then with being able to shoot 900 photos on a single card, I didn’t want to chance the losing of that many photos.
So how does the Kingston 8GB SDHC Class 10 cards stack up against the Lexar Professional card I currently use? Here’s how:
The Kingston’s write speed is lower and in the range that these particular Class 10 cards are spec’d to, the 10-11MBps range. I might run into the issue of my Canon XSi displaying the annoying ‘BUSY’ message when I’m trying to capture moving objects, but I think I’ll still be able to get up to the 6 RAW frames before that happens. It does make me miss my Canon 7D with it’s dual DiGiC4 processors and the UDMA CompactFlash (CF) cards I still own. The 7D would never give me a ‘BUSY’ message while in continuous mode, oh well.
So with 4x 8GB SDHC in my arsenal for our 3 month adventure, I should hopefully be ok when we are out and about and I cannot dump photos to my MBA. I might look at picking up a couple more 8GB cards or even another 16GB card for our little Nikon AW100 as it currently has one 16GB card.
Even though I cheaped out a bit on my SDHC cards, for my Canon XSi they should still be decent to use. If I were to use a new camera body, I would probably looked at budgeting more money for Lexar Professional or SanDisk Extreme as they will perform better in new camera bodies. If you shoot HD Video, I would also recommend looking at the faster cards too.
Another Purchase Today: WD Scropio Black 750GB drive
Another item I picked up today was the Western Digital (WD) Scorpio Black 750GB 2.5″ SATA3 hard drive. I put this into one of my little 2.5″ USB external enclosures and will primarily use this for my photos while we’re away. 750GB is quite a bit of room and I doubt I will fill it up on our trip, but who knows, it’s nice to know that I will have enough room to dump photos from my memory cards.
With my MBA having USB2.0 ports, I cannot maximum the read/write speeds of this particular drive. I do have a Thunderbolt port, but Thunderbolt adapters are quite expensive and at the moment, I cannot justify spending the money on Thunderbolt accessories. The size of the adapters, say the Sonnet Echo ExpressCard Pro + card reader, is larger than the 2.5″ enclosure I will be using. Trying to save space and weight while we travel, or at least that’s the initial idea.
Here is how the 750GB drive holds up as a USB2.0 external drive:
Not bad, close to the maximum of the USB2.0 port. It will have to do when working with photos. I could work off of my MBA’s SSD and then use the external as backup. We’ll see what I decide to do when it comes to actually working with my photos on our trip.