Well, it looks like SD cards of the future are going to be mind blowingly fast -- with the SD Association announcing the new SD 8.0 specification and speeds of up to an insane 3.9GB/sec. Yeah, nearly 4GB/sec from an SD card.
The SD Association announced the new SD 8.0 spec which has support for PCIe 4.0, and speeds of up to 3940MBps (just shy of 4GB/sec). What are SD card speeds now? The current SD Express card spec sees speeds of up to 985MBps, while UHS-III SD cards provide up to 624MBps.
if you want those super-fast 4GB/sec speeds then you're going to need a new SD card reader that has 2 x PCIe 4.0 lanes, because if you don't those glorious speeds will be halved, down to just under 2GB/sec (1920MBps) over PCIe 3.0.
In a press release, the SD Association explains that the new SD 8.0 standard "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".
- How are the new SD Express cards able to achieve these speeds? A new pin layout on the back of the SD cards themselves, which can now use either single or dual PCIe 4 lanes, but they'll also be backwards compatible with older SD card readers.
- Why do we need these super-fast SD cards? Well, with the big pump of smartphones and TVs with 4K resolutions, and the upcoming 8K wave (with smartphones capable of shooting 8K video already on the market) it should come as no surprise. 8K video is gigantic, coming in the many hundreds of gigabytes -- so you're going to need a super-fast SD card to keep up.
- Don't worry, they're backwards compatible: Just in case you have some precious files and want to grab them from your SD card on an older-gen SD card reader (and don't have your super-fast SD 8.0-capable card reader with you) the new standard is backwards compatible.
- When is it coming? Not until late 2020 at the very earliest, as we will need SD card makers to you know, actually make new SD cards. We should expect some news from the likes of Samsung, Sony, and other SD card makers about their new SD 8.0 cards towards the end of the year.
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