'SSD Performance levels': New generation of microSD cards could help transfer an entire Blu-ray movie in less than 15 seconds, paving the way for mainstream 8K recording

Somebody holding a microSD card with their thumb and forefinger
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The SD 9.1 standard will double the speeds of the best microSD cards out there today, with the next generation of SD cards hitting speeds of up to 2GB/s.

With SD 9.1, unveiled by the SD Association (SDA), the next cohort of SD Express memory cards uses PCIe Gen4 that can deliver 1,969MB/s – more than double the maximum speeds introduced with the first microSD protocol in the SD 7.1 spec. By contrast, the best portable SSDs usually land at roughly 1GB/s.

Currently, SD Express memory cards come in four varieties, including SD Express Seed Class 150, 300, 450 and 600 – with these numbers corresponding with minimum read and write speeds measured in MB/s. This means these microSD cards can range anywhere from 0.15GB/s to 0.6GB/s. 

The fastest microSD cards ever

What that means, in real terms, is the ability to transfer a Blu-ray movie, which is roughly 25GB, in 12.5 seconds. Speeds like this will also be fast enough to handle transferring 8K video files, which are relatively massive, with ease.

The SD Express Speed Classes, which are available on SDXC, SDUC microSDXC and microSDUC memory cards, rely on changes to memory technology used in creating the storage standard.

“By defining minimum assured sequential performance standards for SD Express memory cards, the SDA helps both device manufacturers and consumers ensure the best recording and playback of all types of content,” said Hiroyuki Sakamoto, SDA president. 

“We doubled the speed of microSD Express to 2GB/s to give product manufacturers more storage options capable of handling the most demanding storage uses making SD Express memory cards a compelling, ecologically sound choice making it easier to repair and upgrade devices.”

SD Express uses NVMe specifications and offers various power management settings through maximum power levels. These maximum power level values are set by a host device to carefully manage how hot the card gets and ensure it can maintain its speeds over extended periods of time while transferring files.

SDA says memory cards built on this latest standard will be particularly useful for professionals in the creative industry who need to move massive amounts of files between devices on a regular basis. The cards will be geared to transferring slow motion video, raw data, 8K video as well as footage from 360-degree cameras, to name but a few use cases.

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Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Features Editor, ITPro

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is the Features Editor for ITPro, CloudPro and ChannelPro. He oversees the commissioning and publication of in-depth and long-form features, including case studies and op-eds, across a breadth of topics in the B2B technology space. He also contributes to a vareity of other publications including The Week Digital and TechRadar Pro. Keumars joined ITPro as a staff writer in 2018, and has expertise in a variety of areas including  AI, cyber security, cloud computing and digital transformation, as well as public policy and legislation.