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Samsung has unveiled the first microSD cards with support for sequential read speeds as high as 800 MB/s later. That’s two to three times as fast as the speediest UHS-II SD cards available today, and even faster than a SATA SSD.

So why are Samsung’s new microSD cards so fast? Because they’re the first to microSD cards to leverage SD Express technology, which brings PCI Express and NVMe interfaces to SD cards, enabling SSD-like speeds on a removable SD or microSD card.

The SD Express standard was actually first adopted way back in 2018, and supports theoretical speeds as high as 985 MB/s. But adoption of the new standard has been very slow.

So far the only SD Express cards you can actually buy are full-sized SD cards from ADATA, which support sequential read/write speeds up to 800 MB/s and 700 MB/s, respectively. They aren’t cheap: a 256GB card sells for nearly $100 and a 512GB version costs twice as much.

Samsung hasn’t announced how much its SD Express microSD cards will cost, but the answer is probably a lot. The company says it’s begun sampling 256GB cards and plans to bring them to market later this year.

One reason it’s taken so long for SD Express cards to hit the market is that they present new performance and thermal management challenges, but Samsung says it’s using “Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology” that “maintains the optimum temperature for the SD Express microSD card, even during long usage sessions.”

Another challenge? It’s unclear what you’ll actually be able to use these cards in. Most existing laptops, tablets, phones, cameras, and other devices that use microSD cards for removable storage don’t yet support the SD Express standard, which has led to a bit of a chicken and egg problem. While SD Express cards are backward-compatible with older SD card readers, data transfer speeds won’t be able to exceed 104 MB/s if you’re using a UHS-I card reader.

But Samsung says its development of its first SD Express cards “was the result of a successful collaboration with a customer to create a custom product,” which suggests that maybe there will be at least one device that supports these cards by the time they go on sale later in 2024?

press release

 

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  1. Imagine if Samsung or Hardkernel for that matter, releases an RpI compatible or Odroid that supports UHS-II in coming year…

    1. Imagine if they released a phone that did.
      They probably won’t, flagships are too cool for card slots and they can’t have mid and low tier phones with a premium feature like this.

  2. I’m thinking Samsung will unveil a product line incl. laptops, cameras, phones that support this. Who cares if the rest of market lags, if it can be a selling point.

  3. Too bad none of my devices even have a UHS-II microSD reader. Not even the fairly new ones.

    It might be years before I can use an SD Express card.