Skip to main content

375 MB/sec. SD Cards Coming Your Way

During CES, the Secure Digital Association announced a new storage standard that would allow for as much as 2 TB of data to be stored on a single memory card. Called SDXC, or Secure Digital "Xtreme" Capacity, the cards would give compatible devices unprecedented amounts of truly mobile storage.

Fast forward to the present, and Pretec is using CeBIT to announce the world’s first SDXC memory card.

The initial offering from Pretec will be a 32 GB SDXC card, but the company promises that a 64 GB version will be available in the coming months. This new SDXC card boasts a transfer speed of 50 MB/sec., blazing past older SD and SDHC cards. While 32 GB of storage and 50MB/sec. transfer speeds are impressive, 32 GB is already available with SDHC (High Capacity) cards. Plus, the 50MB/sec. speed is far below the 300MB/sec. that the SDA said was possible with this new standard.

SDXC is off to a good start, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The new cards, while offering more storage and faster transfers, will not work with most SD/SDHC compatible devices. The new SDXC cards use the exFAT file storage system, while older SD and SDHC cards use the original FAT32 system, meaning SDXC cards can only be used in SDXC compatible devices. Also, while Pretec says its new cards will be available in 2009, concrete ship dates and pricing are nowhere to be seen.

According to the Pretec press release, SDXC cards are 100 percent incompatible with SD and SDHC compatible devices. But if one decided to reformat an SDXC card using the older FAT32 file system, it may yet work with older devices.

We called up the SD Association and spoke with Kevin Schader, the SDA's Director of Communications he clarified that while the newer cards could work with older cameras and phones, the results of reformatting are very unpredictable. "The behavior of an altered card could vary depending on the device the card is used in," said Schader. "Possible outcomes include the card not being recognized at all, only being recognized up to a certain capacity point, or it may even recognize the entire card. The bottom line here is that the behavior is unpredictable." While the results may be up in the air, having up to 2 TB of storage for your camera or PMP without shelling out cash for a new one is an exciting prospect. Just make sure you back up those photos before trying anything!

SDXC isn't the only thing Pretec is showing off at CeBIT this year. The company also unveiled a new CompactFlash card, which can transfer data up to four times faster than its predecessors. The "666x" CF cards, which will be available in sizes ranging from 4 GB to 64 GB, have a transfer speed of 100 MB/sec., which is coming close to the maximum speed of the current CompactFlash standard. Pretec said its 666x cards would likely be the last series based on the current CF specification. However, a new standard called CFast is waiting in the wings, which can allow for transfer speeds up to 375 MB/sec.