We all have products that use the Secure Digital Cards. SD has been adapted by nearly all consumer product makers in one form or another. Which form is another story entirely, as there are so many and within each category there are speed ratings. Some devices need to be able to operate above a certain speed to be able to handle the tasks given. This is where the class structure comes in.
Most storage products are rated at a maximum speed, the highest peak performance possible under ideal conditions. This works out well when everything you are doing is well within specifications, but there can be times when a minimum speed is required. SD products are rated at a minimum speed, the Speed Card Rating. A Class 2 SD card can write at least 2MB/s, a Class 4 SD card can write at least 4MB/s and so on. Devices like HD video recorders require a minimum sustained write throughput. If your device needs to be able to write at 6MB/s but can only write at 4MB/s, then your video will suffer from dropped frames, lost audio or be completely corrupted. Currently Class 10 is the fastest available on the market and it has a minimum speed of 10MB/s.
Today we are looking at the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 with 32GB of capacity. This capacity size makes it perfect for photographers or those looking to record high definition video. Let's take a look at the specs first up.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
I have to admit I really like the new class standard that measures the minimum performance and glad they got off of the 'x' standard. Silicon Power has released their new Class 10 SDHC cards in four capacities; 4, 8, 16 and 32GB. To go larger in this format you have to look towards SDXC (eXtended Capacity) standard.
Silicon Power isn't in the US market as heavily as it once was. We were only able to find one US seller of the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 32GB and it was a specialty shop catering to professional users. All Pro Sound lists the 32GB model like we are reviewing today for 134.99 USD. They also list the rest of the Class 10 SDHC cards; 4GB (17.49), 8GB (32.34) and 16GB (58.06).
I really wish Silicon Power would import more of their products to the US since they are well made and it would bring the costs down. In relation, we went shopping at Newegg and found other 32GB SCHD Class 10 cards for as low as 59.99.
It should also be noted that Silicon Power offers a lifetime warranty with their SDHC products.
The Packaging and Class 10 SDHC
Silicon Power used a premium blister pack for the package. On the front we clearly see the class rating, capacity and at the bottom right side some of the uses for this class of SD card.
The back of the package shows us some generic capacity storage information and a few features in different languages.
The Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 32GB
The card itself conforms to the standard SD size specification. On the left side we found the lock tab so you can keep the card from being written to easily.
On the back we found the recessed connector tabs.
Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance
We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, Cooler Master, LSI and Noctua.
You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.
For this test we whipped out our trusty Lenovo T61p and used its built in card reader that is capable of reading up to 35MB/s.
ATTO Baseline Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34
ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.
In ATTO we found that the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 32GB to be capable of reading up to 21MB/s and writing nearly as fast, 19.5MB/s. This is well over the rated speed of 10MB/s.
Benchmarks - Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark
The results were confirmed in CDM; here we see the same 21MB/s read, but the write went down to 17.56MB/s. Both are well over the Class Rating of 10MB/s.
Benchmarks - AS SSD
AS SSD Benchmark
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358
Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9
AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.
In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).
Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.
- Copy Benchmark
Putting images and video on is a set speed, but when you are trying to get the data off you want to be able to get to it as fast as possible. In this set of tests we are looking at how fast the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 card is able to move data from one area of the card to another. Since the card is both reading and writing at the same time, the results are a little lower than they would be if you were just reading the data back from the card.
This is the first SDHC card I have ever reviewed which is really quite amazing since I own close to 20 of these cards. Unfortunately I am moving and they are all tucked away in a box somewhere. The product I was planning on reviewing for today actually expired during testing, not a good way to end the month, but luckily the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 32GB card was right on top of a box I just packed. In the future we will run more tests on these products and get an annual round-up started. Till then the Silicon Power SDHC Class 10 will be our baseline.
Silicon Powers lack of a US network of resellers really hurts their products when it comes to pricing. The card we tested today cost twice as much as their competitor's product. In this economy spending 2x for a product isn't very likely even if that product comes with a higher build quality. Silicon Power does make very high quality products, they just need to get that whole price thing in line with the competition in the US. In Europe and the rest of the world Silicon Power products are priced a lot more competitively.
Silicon Power's SDHC Class 10 proved in testing to be around twice as fast as the minimum specification calls for. With that in mind the card should give users room to grow and carry this card onto their next SD using product. 32GB is a lot of storage space and it will allow many photographers to keep their images on the card a lot longer before peeling them off in an archive. I know my wife loves having a lot of pictures on her point and shoot so she can show off the boys on demand.
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