Samsung announces the first SD Express microSD cards

Samsung has announced that it has started sampling its first 256GB SD Express microSD card. The company also announced a new 1 TB microSD card.

SD Express

SD Express is a standard for SD cards and microSD cards defined by the SD Association.  The current version of the standard requires that memory cards are connected via PCI Express 4.0 x1 interfaces. As a result, the maximum speed of an SD Express card is 1,969 megabytes per second. Until now, you would have needed an SSD to get these sorts of speeds. In addition, there are four SD Express speed classes: 150, 300, 450 and 600. These show the achievable speed in megabytes per second, both for reading and writing.

256GB SD Express microSD card

Samsung’s 256GB SD Express microSD card has a low-power design as well as firmware technology optimized for high-performance and thermal management. As a result, the card delivers sequential read speed of up to 800 MB/s. This is around 1.4 times faster than a SATA SSD and more than four times faster than a traditional UHS-1 memory card. The card also uses Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology to maintain the optimum temperature for an SD Express microSD card, even during long usage sessions. Currently, Samsung is still sampling the card which means it is not ready for mass production yet.

1 TB UHS-1 microSD card

Samsung’s new 1 TB microSD card stacks eight layers of the company’s 8th generation 1-terabit (Tb) V-NAND memory within a microSD form factor. The card has a UHS speed class of 3 and video speed class of V30. This means that the card has a minimum write speed of 30MB/s. In addition, the card’s design protects it from water, extreme temperatures and being dropped from over 16 feet. It also has protection against X-rays and magnetic fields.

What we think

Samsung’s new memory cards show that there is an exciting future for the microSD format. A SD Express microSD card with SSD read and write speeds is great for video use. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the full potential of the cards will only be realized when cameras with the required SD Express interface get released. With existing cameras and smartphones, you will be limited to current SD card speeds. While the 1 TB card doesn’t offer the fast transfer speeds of SD Express, its high capacity will be welcomed by anyone shooting 4K video.

Pricing and availability

Samsung’s 256GB SD Express microSD is still at the sampling stage of development. However, the company says it will be made available for purchase later this year. The 1TB UHS-1 microSD card is now entering mass production and is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2024. Samsung hasn’t released pricing for either card yet.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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