New SD Express Card Spec is Nearly Four Times Faster Than the Current One

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The SD Association, the group that sets the standards for memory cards has announced today a new SD 8.0 specification for SD Express memory cards. In this announcement, the association says that transfer speeds for SD Express cards will now top out at four gigabytes per second, thanks to new support for PCIe 4.0.

This improved transfer speed can be very useful as new technologies, like 8K video, create ever-larger files, which in turn require a faster transfer rate if you want to transfer data in a timely manner. To be precise, the 8.0 specification allows for transfer speeds of up to 3,938 megabytes per second. This is a huge jump from the maximum transfer speeds of 985 megabytes per second you’d find in cards built to the SD 7.0 and SD7.1 specs, which utilized the slower PCIe 3.1 interface.

As for the availability, this new specification will be available on SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards. This means, this technology could be used on a 128TB SDUC card, which is currently the highest amount of memory supported by an SD card.

The way new SD Express cards achieve these speeds is through a new pin layout on the back of the cards, which can utilize both single or dual PCIe 4 lanes. But perhaps more importantly, like previous versions of the official SD spec, SD 8.0 cards will also be backward compatible with older card readers, you just won’t get their full listed transfer speeds.

Although the spec was announced today, we still have to wait a bit more to get a new card with the SD 8.0 specification as memory card makers need some time to implement the specification into upcoming products. In addition to that, you’ll also need devices that read the cards on the hardware end like laptops, cameras, and card readers to support the spec.

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