SD Cards by the pound?
October 24, 2007 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Surely I can buy 128 or 64mb SD cards for ridiculously low prices, now that they are so out of date. Right?

I'm tired of sending around mix CDs--I'd much rather send out mix SD cards. And I could make a nice mix of 12 or 24 songs, with album art, &c., and put it on an old, old, out of date flash card. (Or, less optimally for me, an old 128mb USB drive, which I also have been unable to find for as low a price I want).

Now, these days twenty bucks gets you two gigs of storage, so I just can't believe that anyone really uses 128meg cards anymore. I would have thought that I could buy them by the pound! But the best I've seen is on eBay, where they seem to be about $5 or $6, after shipping charges if you buy in bulk.

Any suggestions?
posted by Squid Voltaire to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
sad to say, this is the kind of thing already making its way into landfill these days...

and yet, due to the nature of the thing, goodwill/salvation army/random thrift store/ is also going to ignorantly overcharge for it.

post want-ad on craigslist?
check your local transfer station?
posted by dorian at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2007

You might want to try for the USB drives, you can get custom-printed 128mb drives from several vendors there. I get handed these (near-useless) things at conferences and tradeshows all the time now, so they can't be more than a couple bucks each.
posted by Oktober at 1:22 PM on October 24, 2007

Yeah, it's either a case of going direct to the Chinese factories still making them, or finding some memory supplier in SoCal (or a Chinatown) with a pile of NOS (new old-stock) cards in the warehouse. Craigslist may be your friend.

Most flash production is now around the 1gig level, and the low-end cards that you still see on the shelves of CVS are designed for customers who don't know better.
posted by holgate at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2007

Also, I'd recommend USB drives over SD cards, as any computer made in the last 10 years can use the former, while you need non-ubiquitous readers to use the latter
posted by Oktober at 1:30 PM on October 24, 2007

You're not going to get them cheaper than blank CDs. The energy focused on blank CD production is incredible, thus cheap costs. The focus on building small (by today's standards) flash drives is pretty much nonexistent.

Part of the problem is, if the old flash cards exist, they exist scattered around the country. I personally have a 32MB compact flash card and a 32MB SD card that I'd give you, but I'm not going to spend money mailing them to you. It's much easier for me to just throw them away. I'm sure that's the case with most owners of these old media.
posted by knave at 2:09 PM on October 24, 2007

I don't get it. Why would you prefer to use these things, versus just using CD-Rs? Given how much time you're going to spend obtaining them, there's no way they can end up being as cheap as bulk mini-CDs (which I see are going for something like a quarter each on Meritline).

They're still small enough that you can mail them in a regular #10 envelope (with the extra $0.07 or whatever it is for non-machinable rigid objects), and are pretty robust.

Plus, SD cards are in no way as widely-readable as CD-Roms. If you gave me an SD card, it would be a major annoyance. If I really wanted what was on it, I could get to it, but it would mean digging through my bag of photo junk to get a reader, and I can guarantee you I'm the only person in my household who had one of those. I don't know what your target market is, but I'm positive that the number of computers with SD card readers is a minuscule fraction of those with CD-Rom drives, and you're restricting your audience accordingly.

Unless your method of distribution is smuggling stuff into fascist countries in shoe insoles, I don't see the advantage. If you want to do Flash distribution, you need USB sticks so that most people can use them without thinking, and although you can get them relatively cheaply (I get the darn things as corporate giveaways all the time), they're never going to be as cheap as disposable media.

Despite this, if you're hell-bent on the idea, you should probably contact the big online dealers of memory cards and see what they'd sell you some old ones for. I suspect they must have a lot of them sitting around in inventory that they'd like to be rid of. If you weren't picky and basically said "I'll take everything!" maybe they'd cut you a deal. Here's one's bulk-order inquiry page. Also, look into companies that provider stuff for corporate branding and trade-shows.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:12 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that I had a "target market" or that I was mass distributing anything, I'm just mailing five or ten mix cds to friends.

The problem with CDs is that the standard format (CDDA?) doesn't support all the lovely modern frills, such as album artwork, meta information &c.

Of course I could just burn a CD full of .mp3s, but then it would no longer be a mix tape, it would be a data dump. The size limitations are crucial to the art form, don't you know!

Sure, there are plenty of other options (I could burn a regular audio CD with a data track full of mp3s at the end, for example) but I think that there are lots of cool possibilities for artfully sending someone an SD card (and, as Kadin points out, perhaps a reader as well. Those are $4 or so, it seems).

It looks like this is a doomed project, since the major impetus was, "Wow, getting five or ten 128mb cards should be as easy as getting five or ten floppy disks!"
posted by Squid Voltaire at 8:59 AM on October 25, 2007

Best answer: For 3 cents plus $5 shipping you can get 12 64MB Memory sticks from (October 26th only). Is that cheap?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:25 PM on October 25, 2007

Response by poster: ARGH!!!! Yes, BrotherCaine, that is exactly what I was looking for. What a pity I didn't notice until now. ):
posted by Squid Voltaire at 8:14 AM on October 29, 2007

Sorry, I forgot to email you :(.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:57 AM on October 30, 2007

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