Next-gen SD cards are blisteringly fast


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The association has announced that the SD 8.0 spec will bring a maximum transfer speed of almost 4 gigabytes per second (3,398 MB/s), which is about four times faster than the 985 MB/s found in current SD Express cards, and a huge boost over the 624 MB/s used by the fastest UHS-III SD cards.

The new SD 8.0 spec can hit those dizzying speeds by utilizing the PCIe 4.0 and the latest NVMe (up to version 1.4) interfaces—cards that fall under the 7.0 and 7.1 specs use the PCIe 3.0 interface, which is slower.

The association says that the new specification will be available across SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards. Taking advantage of its top speed will require a card reader that supports two PCIe 4 lanes, but even using PCI 3 will allow for a transfer speed of around 2 GB/s (1,920 MB/s).

The new SD Express cards can hit these speeds through a new pin layout (three rows) on the rear, allowing them to support single and dual PCIe 4.0 lanes.

“With SD8.0, anyone taking a slow-motion video of their surroundings or taking burst photos of an athletic event, SD Express helps capture the moments at the highest qualities,” says SD Association President Hiroyuki Sakamoto. “That means 4K and 8K video capture and playback, as well as 360-degree videos can be recorded and played back flawlessly.”

It’ll be a while before we’re all using these new cards, with manufacturers unlikely to start implementing the spec until later this year, and we’ll also need devices to support them. Thankfully, SD 8.0 cards will be backward compatible with older card readers, though they won’t reach the maximum speeds.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 6,936   +5,219
But let's not forget that they MUST increase speeds to keep up with processor, board, and other peripheral improvements otherwise they get labeled as the one's that slow everything down. Not knocking the improvements, just saying this is the normal evolution of the gear ....


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If they are based off PCIe 4.0, then why limit at 4GB/s, and not 8GB/s like M.2 Gen4 does? Waiting for SD 9.0, to add the extra 2 lanes to use PCIe properly?


Posts: 3,284   +2,681
If they are based off PCIe 4.0, then why limit at 4GB/s, and not 8GB/s like M.2 Gen4 does? Waiting for SD 9.0, to add the extra 2 lanes to use PCIe properly?
It looks like each lane requires its own set of pins making the choice that of realestate on the SD card.


Posts: 1,292   +513
Do any devices actually support anything above UHS-II?
Even the most modern phones don't seem to even support UHS-III let alone SD Express.
I ran into this problem when I was expanding my memory on a Moto phone. They couldn't tell me if I could put anything higher rated than what was listed. I asked because I wanted to know if the higher speed card was backwards compatible in the phone even though it wouldn't be able to take advantage of the card.
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Posts: 1,036   +93
That is quick but is not much faster than UFS 3.0 standard used in latest flagship phone you can buy. I love having removable storage and all, but the failure rate of SD cards in my household is just disappointing. I had total of 4 failed microSDs from reputable manufacturers (incidentally most of them 32GBs) despite using it on android phones for about 2 years, not on a dashcam with extreme write/read ratio.

in the end after considering the price of fast microSDs versus larger onboard storage, I went with the latter. once you're on UFS2.0 and above (not eMMC) you have more speed than most "fast" microSDs supported by your phone. not to mention the smaller power consumption used by UFS compared with microSDs.

I get that most professional photo/video gear will appreciate these crazy SD specs. but for most of us average joe with a smartphone, SD still needs alot of catching up to do beside just speed.