Difference Between SD Card and SDHC

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 07, 2023


Difference Between SD Card and SDHC

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Most people are bewildered when they search for the best SD card to buy, as they are presented with numerous options. Apart from the standard SD cards, many other types are commercially available in different sizes (standard, mini, and micro). It can be disorienting to see SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards when searching for a standard SD card. So, how should people decide which one to buy?

Usually, people refer to SD cards with standard capacity/SDSC cards when using the term SD card. Colloquially speaking, SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC are also SD cards; they are merely the advanced versions. So, people must decide whether they need a standard capacity card or a more advanced version. In most cases, standard capacity SD cards are more than enough due to their versatility. Unfortunately, the SDSC cards are less common than the advanced versions. SDHC cards can be handy to have around, especially if people are unsure how much storage they need.

SD Card Vs. SDHC

The main difference between SD cards and SDHCs is their storage capacities. SD cards can store up to 2GB, whereas SDHC’s storage capacity ranges from 4GB – 32GB.

Difference Between SD Card And SDHC In Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonSD CardSDHC
Full formSD stands for Secure Digital. This memory card is the most basic form of SD card.SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity.
CompatibilitySD cards are compatible with any device with an SD host. They can be used in devices built to host SDHC cards, too.SDHC cards can be used only in devices that support SDHC. The reason is host devices are not forward compatible. A host meant for an SD card cannot host an SDHC card. However, a host device built for SDXC can host an SDHC card.
SpeedTypically, the write speed of an SD and an SDHC card does not vary. However, SDHC cards with UHS are faster than standard SD cards.SDHC’s write speed class ranges from 2 – 10 (the same as standard SD cards). A class 10 card writes at the speed of 10 MB/s. However, SDHC with Ultra High Speed goes above these write speeds. An SDHC UHS class 3 card writes at 30 MB/s.
File SystemTypically, an SD card is formatted using the FAT16 file system.SDHC cards are typically formatted using the FAT32 file system.
PopularitySD cards were popular because of their affordability and versatility. However, the emergence of SDHC and SDXC cards drove them out of the market.SDHC cards are even more popular than traditional SD cards, as they allow people to store data (photos, videos, etc.) in HD quality.

What Is An SD Card?

SD cards are flash memory cards compatible with portable devices such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, tablets, etc. The advantage of buying a regular SD card instead of an SDHC or SDXC card is that it works in any host device model. Its storage capacity is a mere 2 GB, but for many people, it is more than enough. A 2GB SD card can store 250 songs or 1200 photos; what more could most people want? Regular SD cards are compatible with beginner cameras and medium-end cameras.

Furthermore, some people find it prudent to hang on to multiple less expensive memory cards than one high-capacity SD card. Why? Because the chances of losing data due to corruption are low when using multiple SD cards. Some data will be lost if a card is corrupted but not everything will go up in fire if data is stored in more than one card. After all, explaining to the boss that the deadline was not met because of a malfunctioning SD card is not something to look forward to.

Micro SD cards are a blessing to those with smartphones, portable cameras, drones, or other low-power devices. The best thing about these cards? They can be used in host devices supporting standard-size SD cards with an adapter. Micro SD cards are merely a miniature form of the standard ones. These cards were so popular that the miniSD cards, launched before them, went out of production.

People do not have to worry about buying an SDHC or a more advanced version unless they are professional photographers or mundane people interested in shooting high-resolution photos and videos that would rival any professional’s work. Some people scoff at 2GB SD cards and advise people to switch to advanced versions. However, if people have only older devices that support the basic SD version, there is no point in switching to an advanced SD card.

Checking which SD card type their devices support will help people narrow down their choices. Though standard SD cards have decent storage capacity, they do not have Ultra High Speed or Video Classes. They are only available in standard speed classes: C2, C4, C6, and C10. The higher the speed class, the faster the writing speed. So, people must take that into account when purchasing regular SD cards.

What Is SDHC?

If a standard 2GB SD card is so useful, then think about what people can do with a 32GB (the maximum storage capacity) SDHC card. SD cards with high-capacity have the mark HC on them. Having a device supporting an SDHC card will prove fortunate if people find themselves in a situation that forces them to downgrade to a standard SD card. People can use 2GB SD cards as the host devices are backward compatible.

An SDHC card may be certified in any one of the three speed classes: standard speed class (denoted by a C), Ultra High speed (indicated by a U), and Video Speed class (marked by a V). C10, U1, and V6 cards have the same writing speed – 10MB/s. A standard SD card does not have a writing speed above C10. On the other hand, SDHC cards have UHS and Video speed classes. While A C10 or U1 SDHC card is enough to comfortably shoot HD videos, U3 or V30 (30 MB/s) is required to shoot 4K videos.

A V60 or V90 card is essential for shooting 8K videos. Professional photographers will be better off with this one, as they spend the day trying to capture fascinating things in high definition. Writing speed is important as it indicates the speed at which data is transferred back and forth from the SD card.

Sometimes, people confuse maximum writing speed with sustainable writing speed. The former is of no use, no matter how high it is. People should focus on a card’s sustainable writing speed. What is the use of having a 170 MB/s maximum writing speed if the card does not have a sustainable writing speed of even 30 MB/s? The maximum sustainable writing speed a card can support is V90 (90 MB/s).

Some manufacturers specify all three of the speed classes in the SD card, making people’s heads swim. Even those who know about the speed classes are taken aback when presented with all these specifications. Think about what happens to those who do not know what a speed class is let alone its types (poor souls!). The trick is to know which speed class to pay attention to. People need to only look at the video class speed if they see the word V on the SD card.

A V30 is the same as a U3 and indicates 30 MB/s writing speed. A V10 card has the same writing speed as a U1 card – 10 MB/s. In short, people need not bother looking at the Ultra High Speed or standard speed class if the SD card has a video class speed mark. Most people prefer a V30 or U3 SDHC card, as it allows them to record in or switch between HD, 4K, or 8K resolution as they wish.

That is not to say a V60 or a V90 is not popular. They are the preferred memory cards of professional photographers but may be overkill for beginners or those only beginning to experiment with photography. People must have a UHS I or UHS-II bus interface to use the SDHC cards with UHS speed class at full capacity. Using SDHC UHS cards is not a good idea without the necessary bus (communication pathway between CPU and memory). The host device without the bus will limit the card’s speed.

Bus speed (the speed at which data moves from memory to the system) must not be confused with an SD card’s writing speed. A bus interface with default speed transfers data at 12 MB/s, and a high-speed bus interface transfers data at 25MB/s. Both support all SD card types (though the maximum data transfer speed will only be 12 and 25 MB/s). However, UHS I (50 or 104 MB/s) and UHS-II (156 or 312 MB/s) are better options for those with SDHC or SDXC cards.

Now, things may get a bit confusing, so hold on. A UHS II card though compatible with a UHS I bus interface can only work at a limited capacity of 104 MB/s instead of at full capacity (312 MB/s). The reason – the UHS I bus interface cannot support the maximum capacity of a UHS II card. However, a UHS I card will work at full-speed capacity when used with a UHS-II bus interface. That is, a UHS50 will transfer data at 50 MB/s, and a UHS104 will transfer data at 104 MB/s.

People must carefully check which SD card type and size their devices support, as SD cards slot seamlessly only into the slots designed for them. A microSDHC card will not fit into the slot designed for a standard-size SDHC card. Of course, they will work if people use adapters, but people must be aware they need an adapter to buy one. Purchasing a microSDHC card without knowing this will only lead to frustration.

Main Difference Between SD Card And SDHC (In Points)

  • SDHC cards are advanced versions; therefore, it is no surprise that they are more expensive than standard SD cards. However, they are still affordable.
  • SD cards (introduced in 1999) have been around longer than SDHC cards (introduced in 2006). So, people do not feel the need to switch to SDHC cards unless they specifically need it.
  • Using traditional SD cards in high-end cameras will cause the images or videos to be recorded in lower resolution. SDHC cards are ideal for high-resolution pics and videos. (People go through so much trouble to get their hands on a high-end camera. So, why not buy a memory card that makes the purchase worth it?)
  • People can purchase an SDHC card easily, but they will find it challenging to get their hands on an SDSC card, as the technology has become obsolete.


Buying the most advanced SD card commercially is not a good idea if people barely need all that storage capacity or writing speed. It makes sense to buy an SD card with Video speed class 60 or 90 if people are shooting 4K or 8K resolution videos. A regular SD card will be more than enough to store a few photos people snap now and then or the music they listen to frequently.

Therefore, people should think about why and for what they are buying an SD card to determine which type will best suit them. The right SD card will prevent data loss and technical malfunctions. Ultimately, people have to think about the type, size, and writing speed they require for their devices. However, the process does not end there. People must also think about their devices’ compatibility and the bus interface they own.

It may sound complex, but it does not make people’s heads spin if they start searching for an SD card armed with the right information. So, people need to think about whether their device needs an upgrade and their budget. If people decide they are happy with the 2GB SD card that is lying around at their home, there is no shame in that. After all, people need not buy something they do not need (do not let anyone tell otherwise).


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"Difference Between SD Card and SDHC." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 20 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-sd-card-and-sdhc>.

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