Western Digital is showing off an SD card at Mobile World Congress that’s faster than many SSDs. It can handle sequential read speeds up to 880 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 430 MB/s.
The only catch is that your PC, phone, or tablet probably can’t use it… and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Still, Western Digital’s technology demonstration could point the way toward a future where some computing devices could use removable SD cards for storage instead of embedded UFS, eMMC, or SSD storage.
The folks at AnandTech got to check out WD’s demo of the new SD card system which is designed to connect to a PCIe 3.0 x1 interface. Since UHS-III tops out at 624 MB/s, it wouldn’t be possible for a computer to actually read or write data any faster than that using existing SD card standards.
But here’s the problem: most PCs and phones don’t even support UHS-II or UHS-III today. You only really see those kinds of speeds in high-end cameras and other premium niche devices.
Since most users don’t expect or need super-fast (and expensive) SD cards, most PC and phone makers don’t support the faster technology. So there’s not much point in buying a super-speedy (and expensive) card if your computer can’t read it.
Given the slow adoption of existing technologies, it’s not surprising that WD doesn’t expect to bring its PCIe SD card system to market anytime soon.
But while your next laptop might not support the tech WD is showing off this week, it’s possible we could eventually see it show up in specialized products that typically have solid state storage soldered to the motherboard, but which could benefit from a removable solid state solution like SD cards.