SD memory card standard to hit 300MB/s transfer speeds

By on December 2, 2009, 11:57 AM
The Secure Digital (SD) memory card standard is reportedly slated for a major revamp next year, one that will boost max data transfer speeds from the current 104MB/s to a whopping 300MB/s. To accomplish this, version 4.0 SD cards will see the data transfer scheme change from parallel to serial, using low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and gain a new dedicated pin for high-speed data transfers.


The new standard will maintain similar external card dimensions to ensure backward compatibility. As a result, newer cards will be able to rely on parallel transfers when used on older readers, but you’ll need to update your hardware to make use of the higher speed. Keep in mind that the 300MB/s transfer rate is merely what the interface is capable of, so it remains to be seen if cards can actually push this number to the limit.




User Comments: 26

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Heretic said:

We shall see. If it's true, then 300MB/s off of an SD card is insane. But I guess it's necessary considering we have cameras and things that make video and photos at 1080p HD. A better transfer rate should help people that need to upload those kinds of things to their PC. Very cool!

Serag said:

Sweet, let's just hope its 300MB/s as they say..or at least near that..

UglyChild said:

I'll take CF card any day.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Great to see this coming. Although at current flash memory speeds they would need to have some sort of raid controller (like the SSDs do) to get that kind of speed.

WakeMO said:

This sounds awesome except for the insane price tag I know they will have.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If they can or not reach the maximum 300mbps still would be a lot more than actual cards can transfer, at least the standard ones.

I actually own a couple of this that are really far from that speed and it's a drag to wait for them to transfer!

Decimae said:

This seems great, only I doubt whether some cards will reach 300 MB/s, and whether it'll be backwards compatible(more than 9 card pins)

fref said:

Nice if the cards are backward compatible. I don't plan on changing my digital camera soon, but if I buy a new SD card, I might as well be prepared for when I do buy a new camera that supports it.

Styl said:

If it does reach 300MB/s, awesome. Won't come cheap, though.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm with Kibaruk on this, existing SD transfer rates can go from somewhat decent on the expensive high speed cards to downright glacial on the cheapo cards. I would be surprised if any card on the market today is actually capping out at the current SD transfer speed spec of 104 Mbytes/sec. I rather doubt any of the new generation would hit the cap for a while.

Makes you wonder if just the alternative serializing protocol alone will actually speed up the transfer rates. And will this apply to things like mini or microSD cards, which are becoming more and more common in the wireless realm and in small electronic gadgets.

Puiu Puiu said:

They are just making sure that when SD's which can manage those kinds of speeds are going to appear they have everything ready. Maybe we'll see them on the market in 2 years time.

alexandrionel said:

That's nice but too bad it will not be compatible with old hardware.

Maybe that should think about changing it's name even.

wcbert said:

The next generation will always be faster and the current generation will get cheaper when the next generation comes out and that is when I buy it. My last video card was not the latest/greatest video card but a year ago it was and now it was in my budget.

I think that is why I look forward new products for things to get cheapers. You can spend $500 on a video card a year later it is less than half that.

Hereimiz said:

It is alway impressive to see things made better than they were before.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Isn't the reason for using CF cards in higher end DSLR cameras because of the speed? So these fast SD cards could replace them. CF cards seem like they are from about 15 years ago (maybe they are), they even have the same pinout as IDE drives...

vangrat said:

So if the current theoretical limit is 104 then that means that the new standard will actually operate at the current limit at normal transfer rates XD

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Is this anything like the SATA 6 Gbps (3rd generation, 3.0) specifications that allow for 6 Gigabit connection speeds, but we're having a hard time finding a drive that can use 25% of that bandwidth?

kodrutz kodrutz said:

Sounds really interesting, especially if they'll manage to keep the prices low. It seems the era of "spinning stuff-powered storage" is getting to an end. After all SSDs will become really affordable in about a year, SDs are getting faster... now, if I could only see decent eye implants becoming available for those who need them, that would be great!

I know there's no obvious connection between the topic of this article and bionic eyes, but to me, there is - I really hope to be able to get some new eyes within 10-15 years, because they are my weak point, and things aren't getting better as time goes by...

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wonder what the max transfer speed of a top range camera is? A lot less than 300MB/s I bet. I guess these cards would only be useful once the cameras/hard drives are capable of those sort of speeds

ken777 said:

It doesn't hurt to have extra headroom, but I don't think I've seen any SD cards that are faster than 30MB/s.

ununpentium said:

The world of the storage hardware is making great strides!

The era of the grinding hard drives will definitively evolve, sooner or later...

The performance of these supports are becoming striking!

If this hardware was not beyond my means, first of all I'd have used it to host a swap-file dedicated drive. Not only for the OS, but apps. too.

Then, as Boot / OS / Apps drive.

Because memory cards adapters are growing too. eSATA-to SD, SATA-II to SD, to multiple memory cards in RAID configurations too...

Now with the new Sata III technology, a relatively cheap SATA-III (or eSATA-III) to multiple SD (2 or 4) as RAID (0, 1, 0+1,...) could let us have a very small and light "bomb" in our hands!

Noiseless, very fast, small... and maybe a very cool enclosure will give extreme sensations.

We'll see... hoping for a price drop soon... This stuff is still expensive... At the moment, in this market, the only thing that seems very slow in evolving is the price...

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Pretty cool if we actually see performance numbers like that in everyday use. I'm all for bigger and faster storage media.

RealXboxMaster said:

Don't be fooled by this technology. All this is a money making gimmick. Theres a saying, If it ain't broke don't fixit.

BlackIrish said:

I still haven't seen SD cards transfer at 104MB/sec, let alone 300MB!

buttus said:

For a photographer such as myself, this speed would be VERY much appreciated. Often it is the speed of the memory that holds back performance when shooting multiple exposures.

Hyperian said:

but CF cards max out at around 133MB/s.... and the fastest so far is 600x or 90MB/s

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