Best Mac SD Slot Cards For High PerformanceCombining both speed AND high capacity - those owning more recent Mac mini, Apple MacBook and Aluminum iMac SD Slot enabled models, Sandisk's SDHC (Secure Digital High-Capacity) flash memory cards are the #1 choice.
Big And Fast SD Card For mini, iMac or MacBook ProFor top performance, a Class 10 SDHC card use the fastest flash memory chips and can reach peak out at 30MB/Sec transfer rates. Ideal for using as a bootable SD card for Mac OSX diagnostics and emergency startup - or faster transfers of large video files and tons of photos. Class 6 SDHC cards are the next tier down in performance peaking around the very respectable 20MB/Sec range.
Best Bang For The Buck
Class 10 High-Speed
16GB SDHC Card
Sandisk EXTREME SDHC Card
Top Performance, High Capacity
Which Macs Have SD Card Slots?Beginning in 2009 Apple has added a high-speed SD-SDHC slot to these Macintosh computers:
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009), iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009), iMac (27-inch, Late 2009)
Mac mini (Mid 2010) features a rear SDXC slot, backward compatible with SD-SDHC cards.
What Are The Specs of SD Cards for Mac?See this article at Apple's website for a very good overview of Secure Digital card use on the iMac and MacBook Pro: About the Apple SD Card Slot FAQ
Formatting SD Cards For Mac OSXSD cards are plain block storage devices and don't imply any specific partition type or file system. As such, other partition schemes than MBR partitioning and DOS/Windows FAT file systems can be used. Under Apple's Mac OS X, SD cards can be partitioned as GUID devices and formatted with the HFS+ file system. Under MS-Windows and some Unix systems, SD cards can be formatted using the NTFS -- and on later versions -- exFAT file system. However most consumer products will expect the default MBR partitioning and FAT16/FAT32 filesystem.
Creating A Bootable SD Card For OSXWhen using SD - SDHC flash memory card exclusively for fast Mac backup, optimal Mac to Mac file transfers, or for creating a bootable OSX Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard SD startup disk for diagnostic uses, it's important to re-format the card using Apple's Disk Utility. On Intel based Macs you MUST set the partition table type to GUID, and format the card to use the Mac OS Extended format.
Ideally you need a 16GB or 32GB SDHC for both the speed and capacity you'll need to install OSX. Leopard needs about 8-12GB depending on Install options chosen. You may opt to do a custom OSX install to minimize Printer Drivers and if installing iLife: omit GarageBand - it's audio files add several Gigs to an OSX install. Once the install completes, to boot OSX off the SDHC card: Restart and hold down the OPTION key to select the icon for the card as the startup volume.
Using an SD Card As An OSX Boot DiskPros:
SDHC cards offer cheap storage without the need to open up your laptop
Compact and removable: you can take important applications with you
Fast Class 6 and higher SDHC cards have rapid data access times
Data transfer rates remain mostly constant
Your Mac's built-in card reader might be too slow
Slower SDHC cards aren't really fast enough
Even a fast SDHC has slower transfer rates than most hard drives
Apple Secure Digital Card Specs : SD vs SDHCSD means Secure Digital which is a non volatile flash memory card. This memory card is developed by different companies like Panasonic, Toshiba and SanDisk. They are increasingly being used in portable devices like video games, digital cameras, DV camcorders, handheld computers and PDAs. They're vailable in many brands, data transfer speeds, and in different capacities currently from 1MB to 32 GB. This card is proven very successful in the market because of its wafer-thin postage stamp size.
The original maximum 2 GB capacity defined by the SD 1.1 standard wasn’t enough as card sizes grew, so the SD 2.0 or SDHC standard was added. It allows for capacities of up to 32 GB. It is potentially ready for capacities of up to 2 TB. SDXC will be the next iteration of the SD spec, as 32 GB may remain the limit for the SDHC standard. Note that SDHC and SD cards are physically identical from the outside, so be sure your device supports SDHC before purchasing such a card (4 GB and up).
SD was invented by SanDisk in 2001 - and is based on the Multi-Media card (MMC) standard. Technically, SD is similar to MMC, but added digital rights management, and also features a sliding write protection switch. OSX is smart enough to detect the position of the write-lock switch.
It's important to note that SDHC cards are designed for use in SDHC-enabled devices and are not backwards compatible with standard SD-only legacy card readers and devices such as Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, Cell Phones and whatnot. More recent devices support SDHC and its higher capacity and speeds - check the specs of your devices owner's manual to be sure. The iMac's and MacBook Pro's however do support BOTH standard SD and SDHC card reader functions.