New SD card standard boasts insane transfer speeds

The SD Association has announced the SD 8.0 specification for SD Express memory cards, which boasts support for significantly improved transfer speeds.

These faster speeds are made possible by the PCI Express 4.0 specification and result in a data transfer rate of nearly 4GB/s.

SD cards which use the SD 8.0 specification continue to use the NVMe storage protocol and are backwards-compatible with readers that use previous specifications.

“By dramatically increasing the speeds for SD Express we’re giving device manufacturers and system developers more storage choices,” said SD Association president Hiroyuki Sakamoto.

“SD 8.0 may open even more opportunities for extra high-performance solutions using removable memory cards.”

The new specification provides two faster transfer rate options for SD Express memory card, using either PCIe 3.0 x2 or PCIe 4.0 x1 architecture to deliver 2GB/s data transfer rates.

Through PCIe 4.0 x2 support, the specification supports a data transfer rate of 3,940MB/s – four times faster than the original specification.

Cards which use the new specification will support storage capacities up to SDUC, which means that they could be available in capacities of up to 128TB.

8K video capture and playback

SD Express cards which support SD 8.0 will be able to power data-hungry applications, including 8K video capture and playback and RAW continuous burst mode photography.

SD Express gigabyte speeds bring new storage opportunities for devices with demanding performance levels, across a variety of industries,” the SD Association said.

“The cards can move large amounts of data generated by data-intense wireless or wired communication, super-slow-motion video, RAW continuous burst mode and 8K video capture and playback, 360-degree cameras/videos, speed-hungry applications running on cards and mobile computing devices, ever-evolving gaming systems, multi-channel IoT devices, and automotive to name a few.”

The Association added that SD Express will be offered on SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards.

As the core specification has just been published, it will be some time before SD cards and readers are built which support this technology.

Now read: The most reliable hard drives in the world

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New SD card standard boasts insane transfer speeds