SD Express 8.0 Memory Card Spec Unveiled, Can Hit Blistering 4GB/s Transfer Speeds

Earlier today, the President of the SD Association unveiled the new SD Express 8.0 specification. Built on the PCIe 4.0 standard using NVMe technology, SD 8.0 will “set a new standard for memory cards,” with theoretical data transfer speeds of up to 4 gigaBYTES per second.

SD Express 8.0 represents the bleeding edge of high-speed non-volatile memory. Like CFexpress cards and the M.2 NVMe SSDs you see in many computers these days, SD Express 8.0 is a form of PCIe NVMe storage. In this case, the new spec is taking advantage of the PCIe 4.0 standard to reach speeds of almost 2GB/s per lane, with the fastest cards giving you two lanes to work with.

You can see the speed breakdown in the chart below:

As with previous SD Express specs, the form factor of the cards will stay the same, allowing for backwards compatibility with older devices. However, if your device—say, an upcoming ultra-high-megapixel mirrorless camera—takes advantage of the PCIe 4.0 bus, you could hit real world transfer speeds of well over 1GB/s.

“With SD8.0, anyone taking a slow-motion video of their surroundings or taking burst photos of an athletic event, SD Express helps capture the moments at the highest qualities,” says SD Association President Hiroyuki Sakamoto. “That means 4K and 8K video capture and playback, as well as 360-degree videos can be recorded and played back flawlessly.”

As with all brand-new standards, it’ll be a while before we see these speeds realized in real life. One thing is certain though: the recent rise in popularity of CFexpress cards doesn’t mean SD cards will disappear… it just means they’ll get faster.

To learn more about the new specification, you can read the full announcement on the SD Association website.

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