Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Cheapest Authentic 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ in town!

About Memory Stick™
Currently in the market, there are three brands for Memory Stick™: Sony, SanDisk® and Lexar™. Sony invented the first Memory Stick™ (MS) in 1998. Later, the MS evolved into different forms as the Memory Stick PRO™ and Memory Stick™ Micro (M2) in a joint-venture with flash memory giant SanDisk®. Different forms of Memory Stick PRO™ were released in the form of Memory Stick PRO Duo™ (MSPD), Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ (MSPD-HG) and Memory Stick PRO™ MARK-2. Lexar™ is the next to join the league.
This proprietary storage media is gaining more popularity as Sony expanded their product range such as Cyber-Shot® digital still cameras, a digital SLR cameras, Handycam®, Sony-Ericsson mobile phones, Playstation® 3 and PSP™.

About 'FAKE' Memory Stick PRO Duo™

With Sony's market share of consumer I.T. products and the strong alliance in controlling the development of Memory Stick™, prices are rather controlled and a notch above the popular Secure Digital (SD) of the same capacity. It is no wonder that 'pirates' found lucrative business in making counterfeit Memory Stick PRO Duo™. These counterfeits are made to look like the real card from packaging to even the "authentic" hologram sticker! It sure takes more than a trained eye to identify a counterfeit MS or MSPD. Currently in the market, it is only known there are counterfeit Sony MSPD. Nevertheless, SanDisk® has also been a target of the 'pirates'. These counterfeit cards are known to suffer from inferior quality, performance and durability, unlike the original product.


How to identify a 'FAKE' Memory Stick PRO Duo™?
1. Authentic MSPD is packed in a blister pack which is heat-sealed properly and neatly, while the counterfeit is clamped together with flimsy-looking blisters.
2. Authentic MSPD have well-printed white fonts on the surface of the card, while the counterfeit is poorly-printed with low ink density.
3. Authentic MSPD have engraved product ID and country of manufacture on its back, while the counterfeit are usually printed.
4. The best method to test its authenticity is by testing for its "MagicGate" support. Only authentic MSPD supports "MagicGate". This can be checked with a PlayStation Portable™ (PSP™). *Read more about this below

Why I needed an 8GB Memory Stick™ PRO Duo?
My father-in-law just got himself a complimentary
Sony Cyber-Shot® Digital Still Camera S730 from his insurance agent. The DSC-S730 is a low-end 7.2MP digital camera with very basic specifications. This model uses 2 'AA' batteries and Memory Stick PRO Duo™ memory card. Since this is a budget 'toy' for beginners, hence the contents do not include any memory card. Thus, I started hunting for a good place to buy a Memory Stick PRO Duo™ card at I.T. show prices. With a lot of counterfeit MSPD in the market, I have to make sure that when I am searching for a cheap MSPD, I do not land myself with a 'fake'!
We are know that 'Be5t Bargain' at Sim Lim Square sells the cheapest memory cards. However, their SanDisk® products are not warranted by the authorized SanDisk® local distributor, Vector Magnetics Pte Ltd. I have had a bad experience with their SanDisk® products and swore never to return. However, their price for an 8GB SanDisk® MSPD is only S$75, comparable to the price offer by Vector Magnetics Pte Ltd, during the recent Comex 2008. Nevertheless, I rather get more warranty from an authorized dealer than one year warranty offered by then shop.
Since MSPD are used frequently by gamers for their PlayStation Portable™ and PlayStation® 3, I started to look at game retailers for their MSPD. I had to be careful, since many unscrupulous game retailers sell 'fake' MSPD at original prices. Nevertheless, I found by 'word-of-mouth', an online-shop-turned-retailer that sells the CHEAPEST authentic gaming products and even better, CHEAPEST MSPD! This shop sells both SanDisk® and Lexar™ MSPD. The cheapest being Lexar™ Platinum II MSPD, followed by SanDisk® MSPD Gaming Edition and most expensive being SanDisk® Ultra II MSPD.
While I was hunting for the best price for MSPD, I was contemplating on upgrading the 4GB MSPD in my PSP™. I then thought that it was more worth it to buy an 8GB MSPD than a 4GB MSPD, hence I decided to get an 8GB MSPD for my PSP™ and give my current 4GB SanDisk® MSPD for the DSC-S730. Furthermore, my father-in-law has no need for 8GB of storage capacity when the 7.1 mega-pixel DSC-S730 can already store 1314 photos or 563 minutes of video in a 4GB. After all, my father-in-law ain't a photo-bug like myself.

Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ 8GB
(Sim Square Cheapest Price with 1 year shop warranty = S$75 for SanDisk™ 8GB)

While SanDisk® and Sony offer 5 years warranty for their MSPD, Lexar™ provides LIFETIME WARRANTY!! Assurance guaranteed with the authorized local distributor, Convergent Systems' sticker.

Comparing the Lexar™ MSPD 8GB to my authentic SanDisk® MSPD 4GB, all the physical signs show that this is a 100% authentic MSPD.

In the PSP™

*Testing "MagicGate" Support
Inserted the Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ and formatted it using the PSP™ main console. To perform the test to check authenticity, go to any mode (Music, Photo, Video or Game), highlight the memory card icon, press "?" and click "Information". It shows 7624MB after formatting and "MagicGate" supported!
"MagicGate" is a content protection and data security technology developed for the Memory Stick™. Currently termed the "Access Control Function" is a sophisticated locking device combined with a unique encrypted electronic key. Users will be able to protect their personal data from unauthorized access and falsification by making use of this function, which provides control over access to and recording of data inside the media. When it is necessary for more than one person to access the same data, the key can be duplicated from one locking unit to another. The "MagicGate" technology is currently still under development.


It definitely rocks with more 'juice' with in my PSP™ Slim & Lite. I was warned that an 8GB Memory Stick™ will definitely be slower in transfer rate as compared to a 4GB. Furthermore, the 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ is actually the 'basic' Memory Stick™ and Lexar™ recommends the Lexar™ Gaming Edition Memory Stick PRO Duo™ for gaming-related usage. Hence, replacing my current 4GB SanDisk® Memory Stick PRO Duo™ with the 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ might seem not a good idea. However, I was reassured that the difference in speed during gaming will not be significant. So I decided to score the 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™. During my real-life testing, there is indeed a difference in the transfer rate in-between my PSP™ and PC. The 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ is about 1.5 to 2 times slower than the SanDisk™ 4GB MSPD. I must not be confused by the "Platinum II" of this MSPD with the Lexar™ Platinum II SDHC, as they do not share the same speed rating. The 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ also showed "MagicGate" supported. After formatting using the PSP™, the capacity reads 7624MB. This is definitely an authentic MSPD. During the game, there is indeed no difference in game loading/writing speed.
I am glad that I have scored this authentic 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™ at S$68, the cheapest price in town. Furthermore, I get Lifetime warranty from the authorized local distributor, Convergent Systems; all Sony and SanDisk® MSPD, as well as Lexar™ Gaming Edition MSPD have only 5 years limited warranty. It sure rocks to get lifetime warranty from the distributor than phony shop warranty!
Be sure to get yourself an authentic Memory Stick™ for its maximum compatibility, capacity and durability. Do not get fooled into buying counterfeit Memory Sticks™.
If you want more 'juice' for your Sony device, make the right choice choosing an 8GB Lexar™ Platinum II Memory Stick PRO Duo™.

NOTE: I do not provide free advertisement for retailers unless I am sponsored :p

Related Websites
Memory Stick™
Convergent Systems (Singapore authorized Kingston™ and Lexar™ distributor)
Vector Magnetics (Singapore authorized SanDisk™ distibutor)

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Laurens said...

dat rocks.....if only im still playing wif my psp.....


dun juz say for fun lah.
dunno why u PS like that, PS2 like that, PSP like that, XBOX360 also like that.
you better stop buying anymore consoles.
ur bro's birthday coming, need an XBOX360 LOL!

Laurens said...

u can hoot for urself ps3 mah...