Data Storage Tips

When it comes to Data Storage, we've been there, done that, now serving 120 tips in 12 categories ranging from Card Readers to PDA storage.

Be Patient -- New Systems Delayed

Waiting for next-generation video game consoles with massive storage and next-generation DVD player-recorders? You may end up waiting for a while. Sony announced recently that its long-awaited PS3 will include a 60GB hard drive and Blu-Ray DVD format (offering 5x more capacity than current DVDs). But it's not coming until November 2006. The Nintendo Revolution, which is set to abandon hard drive technology in favor of 512MB of flash memory, may now be delayed until 2007.


DS with Hard Drive Doubles as Media Center

The Sony PSP isn't the only gaming portable that can double as a music and movie player. There is a 4GB hard drive available for the Ninetendo DS as well. The hard drive plugs into the GBA slot and the Max Media software into the game slot. It includes a conversion application that converts movies to a format your Nintendo DS can understand. It also resizes your digital photos so they fit on the Nintendo DS screen. And it plays MP3s as well.

It's not exactly an iPod killer. You should be buying a Nintendo DS as a game player first and a portable media center second. But for anyone who's going to buy the Nintendo DS strictly for gaming, these are some nice added features.


Pay for Premium XBox Bundle

If you're shopping for an XBox 360, make sure you pay extra for the premium bundle, rather than the core set-up. Why?

The premium XBox set-up includes a detachable 20GB hard drive. The core set-up has no hard drive, forcing XBoxers to buy memory cards to add and remove content from the box. Currently, the premium XBox bundle retails for around $399, $100 more than the core XBox bundle and it includes a wireless game controller. The hard drive would cost approximately $100 if bought separately.


Hub of the Card Reader Universe

It's the curse of the gadget hound -- you have an iPod, a DSLR, a Treo and a digital video camera. But no central place for connecting everything. You end up storing music on your hard drive, and your digital videos on an expansion hard drive. You also send some photos directly to the printer. Still you need to hook everything up to work together.
Consider a hub with a built-in digital storage card reader. You can purchase a hub with six USB ports and a 12-in-1 card reader. This will allow you to pop in a mini-SD card from the Treo, a CF or SD card from your camera, etc., and then direct them all to your peripherals through the USB connections.


Consider a Built-In Card Reader

If you're in the market for a new computer, look for one that has a multi-card reader built in. Since the digital storage card reader is built into the front of your desktop or laptop, it makes downloads and usage more convenient. Of course, you still need to make sure that the digital storage card reader reads your specific card format -- most are fine with CF I and II, SD, MMC and Memory Stick formats. It can be tougher to find one that reads xD or older format cards.


Options For Digital Card Readers

If you're thinking about getting a digital card reader, your main concern is going to be getting one that works with your digital storage card -- CF, SD or Memory Stick. in this case, you have two options:
A single digital storage card reader, which currently retails for around $20, or pay a little more and get one that reads multiple types of digital storage cards. A multi-card reader is more versatile, but digital card readers are generally will result in more long-term benefits.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran