It's amazing even with the advancements in NAND flash, how much capacity can be crammed into the microSD form factor. In the last few months alone we have seen 256GB units come through the lab from Lexar, Patriot, and Samsung, and further SanDisk recently announced they have a 400GB card in their Ultra lineup.
With all of the hype around these large capacity increases, Transcend has slid in some high-performance solutions into their portfolio. The Ultimate lineup of microSD cards is offering capacity ranges of 16 to 128GB with 95 MB/s read and 60 MB/s write. The Ultimate is also our first look at a card that is V Class rated with the Ultimate having a V30 rating. Video Speed Class was created by the SD Association to identify cards that can handle higher video resolutions and recording features. This speed class guarantees minimum sustained performance the recording of multiple video streams, 360 capture, virtual reality content, or 8K+ resolution.
The MSRP of the Transcend Ultimate microSD in the 128GB capacity reached $139.99 with a lifetime warranty.
Packaging is the standard cardboard bubble pack you get with most cards. As you can see, marketing has been adjusted to accommodate the new V30 rating while maintaining the UHS Speed Class 3 rating. Capacity is listed at the top right with warranty details at the bottom.
The backside goes into detail about Transcends own RecoveRX software along with model number along the bottom.
We have all seen microSD cards and the Ultimate changes nothing. Here we have a 128GB card with SD adapter and gold black color scheme.
Backside shows connectivity pins for each card.
Useable capacity reaches 120GB for the Transcend Ultimate, formatted with the exFAT filesystem.
Pushing through a few benchmarks, we find the Ultimate to reach 90 MB/s pretty easily carrying that performance from 16M to 512K. Write performance touches 72 MB/s at 8M but holds 60 MB/s through 512K.
CDM showed similar, with read performance at 89 MB/s QD1 and 86 MB/s QD32. Write performance hit 81 MB/s QD1 and 76 MB/s QD32.
As far as memory cards go, I have always had solid luck with Transcend solutions. The Ultimate lineup has taken that experience further by offering higher performance out of the box. As you will find with most reputable vendors, build quality is perfectly acceptable with the Transcend and feels just as good as any high-end card.
I had no real issues with the performance of the card; I was able to just barely hit the 90 MB/s mark for read performance and exceeded the 60 MB/s write performance by a fair margin. If anything should be taken away from this, it's the level of sustained performance Transcend offers with this card holding 90 MB/s read and 60 MB/s write from 16M to 512K in testing.
Value additions to the Transcend Ultimate include, for this unit, an SD adapter for a wider range of compatibility and of course RecoveRX software, should you ever need to recover lost data from a memory card.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- Networking: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: Transcend's Ultimate V30 128GB mSD offers sustained 60 MB/s write and a lifetime warranty, but at over 1$ per GB, the price is on the high side, so it may scare some consumers away.
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