Micro SD card to Memory Stick Pro Converters - For use in Sony PSPs
Sony memory sticks are overpriced in terms of cost per gigabyte of capacity. They're almost always more expensive than an equivalent size SD or SDHC card. Adapters exist to allow the use of cheaper SDHC cards in Memory Stick devices, but how well do they perform?
- Price differences between Memory Stick Pro and SDHC Micro
- The cost of an adapter
- Most importantly - Performance
Price differences between Memory Stick Pro and SDHC Micro
The first question to consider is whether the pricing of the different flash formats justifies the use of an adapter when adding capacity to your PSP. Generally I have found that Memory Stick Pro cards are amongst the most expensive types of memory card, but specifically the current prices from one supplier are:
- SanDisk 8GB Memory Stick PRO Duo: £27.26
- Kingston 8GB Micro SDHC Class 4 Memory Card: £16.56
So in this case the Memory Stick carried a premium of about 65%. Obviously prices vary with time and from supplier to supplier but generally speaking Memory Sticks are far more costly, especially in large capacities.
The cost of an adapter
If you search for "memory stick" sd micro adapter on ebay you'll find hundreds of cheap adapters offered from Hong Kong and China for £2 to £3. These are "buy it now" prices and include shipping. So even if you have to buy an adapter you'll still be saving money.
Most importantly - Performance
This section is the reason I'm writing this page. This is the information I found lacking when I was considering an adapter - Do they work reliably in a PSP? And how fast are they?
The key point to remember is that Micro SD cards and SD cards are electrically compatible. They have the same connections and work in the same way, they're just different sizes. So an adapter that turns a Micro SD card into an SD card isn't doing anything clever, it's just changing the shape of the card.
However - A memory stick is not electrically compatible with a Micro SD card. So the adapter needs to perform some translation logic. The translation is handled by a tiny chip within the adapter, and incredibly cheap and tiny logic chips off ebay don't have great reputations for performance or reliability. You'll also lose any MagicGate functionality you use on your PSP. I don't have any licensed files so it isn't a problem for me.
I've had one for about 6 months now and can happily report that it has been bulletproof for reliability. It is also very slow. Very, very slow.
I bought a Class 4 SDHC card, but the "Class" speeds are based off write performance and I'm not particularly interested in that. The annoyance is that when you open the Video folder or load a game it stalls for several seconds while it opens and buffers the directory / file. It isn't a really long time, but it's long enough to be annoying and certainly slower than my ancient Memory Stick manages.
This slowness is caused by the translation happening within the adapter. It becomes the slowest part in the chain.
For comparison here are a couple of benchmarks performed with my Micro SDHC card:
- Connected natively to my PC: 7,968,530,432 bytes (8.0 GB) copied, 488.685 s, 16.3 MB/s
- Connected via the Memory Stick adapter: 7,968,530,432 bytes (8.0 GB) copied, 935.7 s, 8.5 MB/s
So you lose approximately half your read performance. Disappointing, but it is half the price ;)
Overall I'd still recommend the adapter route for anyone that wants to carry a large library of videos or games on their PSP. Its easily the most cost efficient route to go down, and if you can cope with the loss of speed you'll be more than happy with the reliability.