Industry News

Industry News: SD Express Delivers New Gigabyte Speeds for SD Memory Cards

SAN RAMON, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The SD Association announced today the SD 8.0 Specification for SD Express memory cards receives even faster transfer speeds by using the popular PCI Express® (PCIe®) 4.0 specification delivering a maximum of nearly 4 gigabytes per second (GB/s) data transfer rate. These full-sized cards continue to use the NVMe Express™ (NVMe™) upper layer protocol enabling advanced memory access mechanism. As always SD Express memory cards using SD 8.0 specification maintain backward compatibility.

“SD Express’ use of even faster PCIe and NVMe architectures to deliver faster transfer speeds creates more opportunities for devices to use SD memory cards,” said Mats Larsson, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource. “This combination of trusted and well-known technologies makes it easier for future product designs to leverage the benefits of removable storage in new ways.”

SD Express gigabyte speeds bring new storage opportunities for devices with demanding performance levels, across a variety of industries. 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. SD Express will be offered on SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards.

“By dramatically increasing the speeds for SD Express we’re giving device manufacturers and system developers more storage choices,” said Hiroyuki Sakamoto, SDA president. “SD 8.0 may open even more opportunities for extra high-performance solutions using removable memory cards.”

“PCI-SIG® is pleased to see that SDA is continuing to adopt even faster PCIe technology configurations using PCIe 4.0 interface and dual lanes for one of the top leading removable memory cards – SD,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG president, and chairman. “PCIe specification conformance tests are available today by major test vendors, offering a significant advantage for any new PCIe technology adopter.”

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“NVMe is the industry-recognized performance SSD interface from the client to the datacenter, shipping in millions of units,” said Amber Huffman, NVM Express™ Inc. president. “Consumers will benefit by SD Association continuing the adoption of the NVMe base specification for their latest SD Express cards.”

SD Express uses the well-known PCIe 4.0 specification and the latest NVMe specification (up to version 1.4) defined by PCI-SIG and NVM Express, respectively. SD 8.0 specification provides two transfer speed options for SD Express memory cards. The two transfer speeds are accomplished by supporting either PCIe 3.0 x2 or PCIe 4.0 x1 architectures with up to ~2GB/s and with PCIe 4.0 x2 technology with up to 4GB/s. SD Express cards offering PCIe 4.0 x1 architecture use the same form factor as defined for SD 7.0 specification cards with the second row of pins to deliver transfer speeds up to 2 GB/s. SD Express cards supporting dual PCIe lanes (PCIe 3.0 x2 or PCIe 4.0 x2 technologies) have three rows of pins.

The SDA makes adoption of SD Express easy allowing companies to use existing test equipment and saving in product development costs. The SD 8.0 specification continues giving system developers access to PCIe and NVMe technologies, such as Bus Mastering, Multi Queue (without locking mechanism), and Host Memory Buffer.

Two revised white papers, “SD Express Cards with PCIe and NVMe Interfaces,” and “SD Express and microSD Express Memory Cards: The Best Choice for Your Future Product Designs” provide an in-depth look at the opportunities created by SD Express. More information is available on our website.

Visit the SDA Virtual Tradeshow to learn more about SD Express solutions offered by our members.

SD Association

The SD Association is a global ecosystem of nearly 900 technology companies charged with setting interoperable SD standards. The Association encourages the development of consumer electronic, wireless communication, digital imaging, and networking products that utilize market-leading SD technology. The SD standard is the number one choice for consumers and has earned more than 80 percent of the memory card market with its reliable interoperability and its easy-to-use format. Today, smartphones, tablets, drones, IoT devices, HDTVs, audio players, automotive systems, computers, digital cameras, and digital video cameras feature SD interoperability. For more information about SDA or to join, please visit the Association’s website, https://www.sdcard.org.

SD Logos are trademarks licensed by SD-3C LLC.

PCI-SIG

PCI-SIG is the consortium that owns and manages PCI specifications as open industry standards. The organization defines industry standard I/O (input/output) specifications consistent with the needs of its members. Currently, PCI-SIG is comprised of nearly 800 industry-leading member companies. To learn more about PCI-SIG, and for a list of the Board of Directors, visit www.pcisig.com. PCI Express® is a registered trademark of PCI-SIG.

About NVM Express, Inc.

With more than 100 members, NVM Express is a non-profit organization focused on enabling broad ecosystem adoption of high performance and low latency non-volatile memory (NVM) storage through a standards-based approach. The organization offers an open collection of NVM Express (NVMe™) specifications and information to fully expose the benefits of non-volatile memory in all types of computing environments from mobile to data center. NVMe-based specifications are designed from the ground up to deliver high bandwidth and low latency storage access for current and future NVM technologies. For more information, visit http://www.nvmexpress.org.

PCIe®  PCI Express, is a standard developed by PCI-SIG® and PCIe® is a trademark owned by PCI-SIG.

NVMe™ – NVM ExpressTM, is a standard developed by NVM Express Inc. and NVMe™ is a trademark owned by NVM Express Inc.

Antono Refa

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 26, 2014
967
196
Has any manufacturer made cards / devices supporting UHS-III or SD Express with PCIe Gen 3x1, that the standards committee is churning out new standards?

I don't see any point in releasing UHS-III cards / slots at this time. Nobody would buy UHS-III cards, as it would be limited to UHS-I speeds when SDExpress comes out. For anything larger than a smartphone, I doubt anyone would care about the size advantage, esp as manufacturers solved all the kinks in CFExpress.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
2,203
280
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
Would this remove the bottle neck for people that are concerned that if you want to write to both cards at once that the SD card would present a bottleneck?

Just curious.

C
 
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Codebunny

EOS RP
Sep 5, 2018
305
236
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
Would this remove the bottle neck for people that are concerned that if you want to write to both cards at once that the SD card would present a bottleneck?

Just curious.

C
SD Express and CF Express are quite comparable in speed. It'll be a long time before any application can outrun ether card, that includes 8K video. Though I don't think you'll see a camera that has SDE and CFE slots in it as duel slots of ether would be cheeper to shove in.
 

raptor3x

EOS 7D MK II
Jan 26, 2012
574
75
State College, PA
whumber.com
Has any manufacturer made cards / devices supporting UHS-III or SD Express with PCIe Gen 3x1, that the standards committee is churning out new standards?

I don't see any point in releasing UHS-III cards / slots at this time. Nobody would buy UHS-III cards, as it would be limited to UHS-I speeds when SDExpress comes out. For anything larger than a smartphone, I doubt anyone would care about the size advantage, esp as manufacturers solved all the kinks in CFExpress.
We're still only using about half of the UHS-II capability. Maybe we'll see these new SDExpress cards in 2040.
 

RayValdez360

Soon to be the greatest.
Jun 6, 2012
460
233
38
Philadelphia
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
Would this remove the bottle neck for people that are concerned that if you want to write to both cards at once that the SD card would present a bottleneck?

Just curious.

C
no, the circuits would have to be engineered to transfer data that fast.
 

koenkooi

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
885
664
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
[..]
Only if Canon has already added support for PCIe mode to its DIGIC, these kind of specifications aren't forward compatible. It won't make existing slots faster. Quite to opposite, SDexpress cards drop down to UHS-I speeds when they can't do PCIe.
So for the R/RP/R5 a regular UHS-II card would be the fasted option for the SD slot.
 

Jasonmc89

EOS 80D + 100-400mm mkii
Feb 7, 2019
204
170
UK
Would a card such as this provide any performance improvement in an 80D? Or has it reached its write speed limits with the Sandisk extremes?
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,809
941
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
Would this remove the bottle neck for people that are concerned that if you want to write to both cards at once that the SD card would present a bottleneck?

Just curious.

C
The R5 uses technology available at least 2 years ago when the camera was designed. Just like most products, a DSLR is technically out of date when it ships, but its the latest tech that is ppractical to build.

When a new card is announced, it takes years for controllers and reliable software and hardware to get to the market in quantities and at a reasonable price. There may be limited quantities of very expensive hardware a little sooner, but its not mature and it costs a bundle. I suspect a lot of finance people winced at the CFE specification.
 

Sharlin

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 26, 2015
1,237
914
Turku, Finland
Would a card such as this provide any performance improvement in an 80D? Or has it reached its write speed limits with the Sandisk extremes?
The camera only supports UHS-I protocol, which is several generations behind these new-fangled cards. Even if the hardware were faster (it isn't) the protocol limits the maximum speed. These cards would still work, because they're backward compatible, but would give no speedup compared to the fastest UHS-I card on market. Indeed, they could be slower due to having to emulate the legacy protocol.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,809
941
SD card speeds are advertised for new unused cards or those which have low level formatting. People buy the cards, take a video or fill them up, then format them and the next time they want to take a video, it won't work because the card is far too slow. That's because it is first erasing a block of memory before you can write to it.

So, if using a SD card for video and it has been mostly filled before, or you intend to fill it, do a low level format first. It resets all the memory to as new status. You don't want to do it unless needed, memory does wear out, and resetting every memory cell each time you format does add up.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
2,203
280
SD card speeds are advertised for new unused cards or those which have low level formatting. People buy the cards, take a video or fill them up, then format them and the next time they want to take a video, it won't work because the card is far too slow. That's because it is first erasing a block of memory before you can write to it.

So, if using a SD card for video and it has been mostly filled before, or you intend to fill it, do a low level format first. It resets all the memory to as new status. You don't want to do it unless needed, memory does wear out, and resetting every memory cell each time you format does add up.
Oh..that's interesting.

I've got a 5D3....I always format my cards before use (after I've unloaded them to computer)....in the camera. I'd assumed this was a low level format?

Cayenne
 

neurorx

EOS T7i
May 12, 2015
90
50
I'm a complete noob when it comes to memory card specs, etc....BUT.....since I believe the new R5 will be coming out with 2 slots and one of them is a SD slot, would fast SD cards like this be able to carry the weight of 4K and 8K video?
Would this remove the bottle neck for people that are concerned that if you want to write to both cards at once that the SD card would present a bottleneck?

Just curious.

C
 

Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
339
30
All those pins in the back make me nervous. The more rows of pins they add the more flimsy the card becomes.
Sony Tough SD cards have the contacts sitting flush with the card with virtually no chance of damage. I experienced a 7D that bent a pin in the CF card slot. I've broken the ribs separating contacts on regular SD cards. Won't happen with Sony Tough.
 
Mar 13, 2020
6
4
I've got a 5D3....I always format my cards before use (after I've unloaded them to computer)....in the camera. I'd assumed this was a low level format?
There's 2 format options. One is a quick format which just resets all the file headers meaning the space on the card is free. The other is a low level format that takes a lot longer comparatively.
 

Antono Refa

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 26, 2014
967
196
So the take-away is that the R5 has yet to be released, but is already obsolete. How depressing...
"Available at least 2 years ago when the camera was designed" is not the same as "obsolete".

E.g. the four years old 5DmkIV has a UHS-I slot. UHS-I cards are very much in stock, as are SD card readers, and Canon will fix the slot if broken. Nothing obsolete about it.