What is SDHC memory card? 10 Things to know

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You have probably heard the terms SDHC and SDXC memory cards a lot. Here we are to answer the question of what is SDHC memory card? We explain 10 things to know about SDHC memory cards. And we will deal with SDXC memory cards in another post.

SDHC stands for “Secure Digital High-Capacity” and is the newer generation of
flash memory cards compared to SD cards.

1- Difference between SD memory card and SDHC memory cards

Old SD cards have a capacity range of 128MB to 2GB. Currently, only 2GB SD cards are sold
in the market.

But SDHC memory cards have the least capacity of 4 GB. The largest capacity of SDHC
cards is 32 GB. Thus, SDHC cards can have a capacity of 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB.

SDHC cards provide high capacity, removable storage for devices that are compatible with it. Such as cameras, smartphones, and computers. Some older devices do not support SDHC memory cards.

2- Why SDHC memory cards

These memory cards offer ample storage for your important data such as HD videos and
images. They also offer higher speeds for reading/writing data.

SDHC memory cards were established to meet the demand for HD video and high-resolution
images. It is now used in many SD-enabled devices. Basically any SD-enabled device manufactured after summer 2007 supports SDHC memory cards.

3- The size and shape of SDHC memory cards vs old SD cards

The physical size and shape of an SDHC card are the same as a standard SD card. They fit the same slot made for SD cards. The only difference is that these memory cards implements SDA 2.0 specification.

4- The standard classes for SDHC data transfer speed

SDHC cards have much higher performance compared to old SD cards. The speed and performance of SDHC cards can vary from 2MB/s up to 10MB/s. According to new SDA Specifications, manufacturers should specify the data transfer speed of SDHC memory cards. The data transfer speed should be displayed on the SDHC card.

SD Card Association, or SDA for short, has established standard speed class ratings (Class 2, 4, 6, and 10) for the data transfer speeds. These speed classes are mandatory for SDHC cards.

Below you can see the SDHC standard data transfer speeds:

  • CLASS 2 – a guaranteed write speed of at least 2MB/s or higher
  • CLASS 4 – a guaranteed write speed of at least 4MB/s or higher
  • CLASS 6 – a guaranteed write speed of at least 6MB/s or higher
  • CLASS 10 – a guaranteed write speed of at least 10MB/s or higher

5- Minimum speed for an SDHC-enabled device

Basically an SDHC-enabled device should support all speed classes of SDHC memory cards.

But, sometimes an SDHC-enabled device may suggest a minimum speed. In such cases, the speed class of the SDHC memory card should be at least equal to the suggested speed or higher.

6- Backward compatibility of SDHC memory cards

Are SDHC memory cards backward compatible? Unfortunately, SDHC memory cards are not backward compatible with older SD-enabled devices. They will not work in older digital cameras or USB Memory Card Readers manufactured before summer 2007.

Devices that require the new SDHC format, will display the SDHC logo on the product near the card reader, or its user guide.


Since SDHC is a relatively newer standard, devices that are not designed to support SDHC will not recognize these memory cards. Except if that device has the ability to be updated via firmware, a driver update, or other means. But SDHC compatible devices support older SD cards, although with lower performance.

7- How to know if your SD-enabled device supports SDHC memory cards

Generally, any device manufactured after summer 2007 should support SDHC memory cards. So if your camera or memory card reader is built after the mentioned date you can almost be sure that it supports SDHC memory cards.

On the other hand, devices that support SDHC memory cards will display the SDHC logo near the card reader.

In summary, if the SDHC logo is displayed near the card reader, it definitely supports SDHC memory cards. Otherwise, you should check its manufacturing date.

8- File formats for SD and SDHC memory cards

The default file format for old SD cards is FAT16. FAT16 supports drives up to 2GB in size, which is the maximum capacity of old SD cards.

But SDHC cards have the default file format of FAT32. FAT32 supports drives up to 32GB, the maximum size for SDHC memory cards.

SDHC memory cards can not be formatted with FAT16. This is one reason for older SD-enabled devices not being able to read data from SDHC memory cards. They are not designed to work with FAT32 and SDHC memory cards.

9- What about microSD, microSDHC, miniSD, and
miniSDHC memory cards?

The same rules and information that applies to SD and SDHC, applies to microSD and microSDHC and also miniSD and miniSDHC.

The only difference between these memory cards is their sizes. That is SD and SDHC are the same size and shape, microSD, and microSDHC are the same size and shape and miniSD and miniSDHC are the same size and shape.

So all new microSD-enabled devices will also support microSDHC memory cards. And the same is true for miniSD and miniSDHC memory cards.

The speed class information and compatibility issues are the same for these memory cards.

10- Is SDHC memory cards the latest technology?

SDHC memory cards are superseded with higher capacity and better performance SDXC memory cards. But they are still used extensively in digital cameras, personal computers, tablets, mobile devices, and gaming consoles.

It is a long time passed since 2007 when the SDHC memory card specification was released. Almost all the SD-enabled devices in use today, support SDHC memory cards.


And finally, we have answered the question of what is SDHC memory card. I hope it gives you the information you need.

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