Using SD cards on a netbook as a memory expansion
Q I am quite keen to buy a laptop like the Asus Eee PC, but I wonder about the use of SD cards for memory expansion. On the Panasonic home page there is a formatting tool available for SD cards. Apparently Windows does not do it properly. Is that an issue with Linux systems as well? And is it a general problem or just related to the use of SD cards in cameras?
A To clarify things first of all, the Eee can use an SD card as storage space, but not as memory (unless you use it as swap of course, but that would be very slow). Memory is expanded by replacing the SO-DIMM memory stick inside the computer. As for using SD cards for storage, they generally come preformatted with a standard FAT filesystem, but my preference is to format them in whichever device I intend to write to them in, such as my camera or PDA. I have never come across a problem reading such a card in Linux. If you want to use an SD card as an extra drive in an Eee PC, you would be best off reformatting it using a Linux filesystem.
Ext2 is probably best for this, as the lack of a journal reduces the number of writes to the card as well an increasing the space available for storage. The Eee can use SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards; I've used an 8GB card in mine. Beware though that these are different from normal SD cards, even though they look the same, so while you can use one in your Eee, you would need a compatible card reader (and most of them are not) to transfer data from your desktop computer using one.
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