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SanDisk Ultra II 32GB
More is more with 32GBs of Secure Digital flash storage

SanDisk is one of the top flash memory manufacturers in the world with products such as flash media in various formats including Secure Digitial, Memory Stick, and Compact Flash, USB thumb drives, and even high-performance solid-state drives using NAND flash memory. Even that is just a percentage of its total sales as many flock to purchase SanDisk's higher capacity offerings.

Because SanDisk is one of the main producers of flash media it must keep up with the industry in producing refreshes and updated capacities of its flash media products. Today SanDisk announces details on the pricing and availability of its additions to the Ultra II line of SDHC flash media.

SanDisk announced the development of its Ultra II 32GB SDHC card during the third quarter of 2007 and the capacity point has been awaited by enthusiast photographers and those looking for high-capacity SDHC cards in general since then. Photographers require this increase in storage capacity as more digital cameras are moving to the double digit mega-pixel range and RAW file sizes are not getting any smaller.

With higher file size comes the need for higher read and write speeds as more data has to be written to the media before the next shot can be taken. SanDisk claims the new Ultra II products feature read and write rates of up to 15MB/sec as opposed to the 10MB/sec read and 9MB/sec write rates of the previous generation Ultra II SDHC products, a 50-66% potential increase in performance.

SanDisk details 3 models in this launch with the 32GB and 16GB Ultra II SDHC cards along with an 8GB version in its Ultra II Plus line. The difference between the Ultra II and the Ultra II Plus lines is that the latter features a built-in USB connector hidden within the casing of the media for a wider range of applications.

Pricing on SanDisk's new offerings start at $100 for the 8GB Ultra II Plus, $180 for the 16GB Ultra II, and $350 for the 32GB Ultra II. The 16GB and 32GB Ultra II SDHC cards also come packaged with a SanDisk MicroMate USB 2.0 Reader, which SanDisk states is a $20 value.

The 8GB Ultra II Plus and the 16GB Ultra II should see the light of day this coming March while the 32GB Ultra II will be ready to scoop up high-quality digital photographs in April.

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What I would like
By fic2 on 1/31/2008 6:24:03 PM , Rating: 3
What I would like to see is just an empty HDD size box with 8 or 16 slots that I can fill with my own flash memory as prices come down and as my needs grow. I wouldn't buy a fixed size flash based drive.

RE: What I would like
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 6:58:08 PM , Rating: 5

What makes that more promising is the prospect of striping the disks so that each additional card adds to the array's overall performance. :D

According to this article on (which was referenced to by one of DT's daily hardware reviews btw), ...

...SSD performance scales at almost 100% efficiency when striped. The only bottlekneck is the controller card's speed.

So yea... A set of 8-16 SDHC cards connected to some sort of R / AID controller would work wonders!

RE: What I would like
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 6:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yea... Patent Pending!

RE: What I would like
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 7:18:12 PM , Rating: 1
Come to think of it, thats probably how current SSDs fundamentally work.

But, depending on the pricing structure of mobile flash compared to desktop SSDs, it might be more economically sound to invest in multiple SDHC cards and configure them in the aforementioned striped array instead of purchasing an SSD.

For instance if an 8GB SDHC UltraII Plus card costs $100 and reads at 15MB/sec you could purchase 6 of them for $600 and create a drive that could theoretically read at 90MB/sec, rivaling a similar performance SSD card that would cost somewhere in the range of $1000.

RE: What I would like
By GaryJohnson on 1/31/2008 7:46:35 PM , Rating: 3
You could have a device with 34 microSD slots, and fill it with $7.25 1GB, 9MB/sec cards for $246.50 and have something that can fully saturate the 300MB/sec SATA II bus.

RE: What I would like
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 7:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
$7.25 microSD cards can read at 9MB/sec? :O Thats some good thinking right there.

I'm sure I'm missing something though because if the potential does exists than surely it would have been exploited by now. Although Windows Vista ReadyBoost does come to mind...

RE: What I would like
By HrilL on 1/31/2008 8:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Thinking of that you can get 2GB ones for around 10 bucks and thats is a much better bang for the buck.

RE: What I would like
By PandaBear on 1/31/2008 8:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
$10 card get you probably 2MB/S, You will likely spend at least $20 to get 10MB/S and $40 to get $30MB/S performance per GB.

RE: What I would like
By AntDX316 on 1/31/2008 10:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
i just ordered a Sandisk 8GB SDHC Extreme III cause it cost 80 and does 20mb per second than the 16gb ADATA which cost 60 and does 6mb per second cause if u swap files back and forth from ur pc often such as movies it would suck to wait long especially if u fill it up to 16gb often at 6mb per second that should be at least 15 minutes per gb so with 16gb that would be at least a 240 minute wait

RE: What I would like
By jtesoro on 2/1/2008 12:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
What I don't understand is why the card has 15MB/s on the label, but at the same time only lists itself as a Class 4 card. The official speed class ratings as defined by the SD Association are Class 2 (2MB/s), Class 4 (4MB/s) and Class 6 (you guessed it: 6MB/s).

Sure there are qualifications on the classes, but if you're selling a card on its "15MB/s" capability yet can't even make the grade on the maximum official Class 6 rating, there's something wrong there. And you can get Class 6 cards on the market for much cheaper too.

RE: What I would like
By PandaBear on 2/1/2008 4:18:23 AM , Rating: 2
The 15MB/s is most likely a sequential speed of a large continuous transfer without any random access in FAT, the SD Speed class access probably use different profile.

Or maybe they just don't want to kill their Extreme III/IV line of products so they clip it with a lower rating.

RE: What I would like
By PandaBear on 1/31/2008 8:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Not going to happen, there is no standard in NAND IO at the moment and even if you can find a common denominator, the performance will suck and reliability will be bad. Just buy cards like CF and raid them yourself, cheaper that way.

RE: What I would like
By PandaBear on 1/31/2008 8:49:43 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, I though you were talking about the nand chip instead of the IO interface.

The problem with raiding the current CF card or SD card is going to be durability. In terms of the usage pattern you may not be able to go very high performance if you raid it that way. flash card usually have very bad small size access due to the large internal page size and small cache.

A custom design like Mitron will be needed to really take advantage of the performance of parallelism.

RE: What I would like
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 9:49:58 PM , Rating: 2
I see. I've never looked into the detailed specs of CF or SD cards, I only briefly skimmed across their sequential transfer rates & random iops / second. But I do recall some Compact Flash benchmarks that recorded impressive burst read speeds with 4k block sizes right up to 128k, compared to conventional 5400rpm 2.5" hdd's.

As to internal page and cache sizes and their impact on performance I'll take your word for it. I don't know enough about that to speculate. :*(

RE: What I would like
By PandaBear on 2/1/2008 4:26:17 AM , Rating: 1
4k block size is easy to do, because the nand is usually 4-8 sector (2-4Kbyte) per page and if you write less than that, you have to read, and write to a new place.

Every time you write you have to keep track of the LBA to physical address lookup table and it is a bitch to keep everything organized, fast, durable, and fail safe. Cheaper card from ADATA and Transend sometimes don't take care of the fail safe parts, or they use a very weak wear leveling, so they will get the simpler design done quickly but the card can't handle abuse, doesn't last long, or are heck of slow.

Larger vendors like Sandisk (now include M-System), Kingston (used to be OEM from M-System but now OEM from Toshiba and Samsung), and PNY usually does better. These larger company usually over test their design to avoid recalls that can damage their reputation.

Making HDD MP3 players obsolete?
By protosv on 1/31/2008 5:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
As pricing eventually comes down on SDHC cards with this kind of capacity, I could definitely see this making HDD based MP3 players obsolete due to higher power draw and higher failure rates. Besides, storage capacity could theoretically be unlimited. Out of space? Just pop in another 16/32GB card and you have more....

By blowfish on 1/31/2008 6:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
It should certainly help to make hard drive and tape camcorders obsolete. I note that these have startd to appear at last.

RE: Making HDD MP3 players obsolete?
By fic2 on 1/31/2008 6:21:57 PM , Rating: 1
My old (4+ year) mp3 player has an SD slot. Of course, it isn't an iBlob so I am not cool.

By kmmatney on 1/31/2008 7:41:37 PM , Rating: 5
No your not cool, because your 4-year old SD slot is most likely not SDHC compatible...

RE: Making HDD MP3 players obsolete?
By Alpha4 on 1/31/2008 6:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
...HDD based MP3 players obsolete due to higher power draw and higher failure rates.
Its the same argument for 1.8" & 2.5" SSDs for computers... Minus the performance factor as most mobile devices, except dSLR's which are already almost exclusively flashbased, probably don't come close to exceeding the speed threshold of hard disk storage.

The crux of the matter remains just how eventual the price drops are.

Fortunately, from what I've seen, the price of mobile flash storage seems to drop more rapidly than that of their larger SSD counterparts.

By PandaBear on 1/31/2008 8:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
That's because SSD need to worry about constant cycling of read and write while mobile and camera card usually don't need to worry about more than 30K cycles. Your camera will die way before that or the card will be obsolete by then.

RE: Making HDD MP3 players obsolete?
By rudy on 2/1/2008 12:42:11 AM , Rating: 2
Most companies don't do that because they need you to buy a new MP3 Player. So they fix the flash media to it.

RE: Making HDD MP3 players obsolete?
By Omega215D on 2/1/2008 1:17:20 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine putting the 16GB version into my 8GB Cowon D2 or my 16GB Creative Zen. Hell, imagine having these cards in the Asus EeePC. Now you can have a pretty good size XP installation and some media files no compromises.

By zsouthboy on 2/1/2008 2:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
I already have a 16GB Adata in my Eee 2GB.

Works like a charm.

Why you'd ruin a device like the Eee with an XP install, though, I don't know.

By acer905 on 2/1/2008 12:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
They are obsolete. And if you really want something nice, go get the Sandisk Sansa View, in the 16 gb capacity. Or as i like to say, the unlimited capacity due to the built in sdhc slot

Good to see price per GB ratio on high end
By sapiens74 on 1/31/2008 6:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
makes more sense to buy one 32GB then 4 * 8GB

Used to not be that way in times past where the biggest model was considerably more expensive.

Aren't the new Canon SLR using SD?

RE: Good to see price per GB ratio on high end
By rgsaunders on 1/31/2008 6:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just the low end version. Professional photographers would scream bloody murder if the high end product switched formats, they have significant amounts of money invested in high end CF media.

By rgsaunders on 1/31/2008 6:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Also keep in mind that smaller is not always better, personally I prefer the larger format for many reasons, including handling with gloves in cold weather when shooting outdoors in winter.

RE: Good to see price per GB ratio on high end
By InternetGeek on 1/31/2008 7:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
The new rebel XSI is SD. And it seems there'll be a move towards SD in coming models.

RE: Good to see price per GB ratio on high end
By rgsaunders on 1/31/2008 8:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, just the low end.

By PandaBear on 1/31/2008 8:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
True, because the larger size of CF means you can put more chips in there vs the smaller SD packages.

By sapiens74 on 1/31/2008 9:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
I have 2 cards for mine, one was kinda expensive for it's size but it works so much better when I am taking many shots

Then again I really don't know what I am doing

RE: Good to see price per GB ratio on high end
By tjr508 on 1/31/2008 11:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but some pretty decent 4GB SDHC cards are going for $20 online. I got mine a couple months ago and it's great. Also given the reliability of these things, I would much rather lose 4GB of data than 32.

By gradoman on 2/3/2008 3:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
How very true. Though, I think I need to step up to the 16GB model for my player.

By casteve on 1/31/2008 5:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
"Photographers require this increase in storage capacity as more digital cameras are moving to the double digit giga-pixel range and RAW file sizes are not getting any smaller."

perhaps you meant "double digit mega-pixel range"?

RE: gigapixel?
By DarthPierce on 1/31/2008 6:01:52 PM , Rating: 4

Apparently you haven't heard of the newly released Nikon D3000X with a 12.1 Gigapixel sensor and 32bits per color?

I'm especially enjoying the 0.1mm to 10,000mm optically stabilized F0.1 lens and ultra low noise 102400 ISO.

100000 FPS is pretty handy for photographing the gravity waves emitted by binary pulsars.

RE: gigapixel?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 1/31/08, Rating: 0
Priced Too High.
By teckytech9 on 2/3/2008 11:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
The cost per MB of this storage is too high today. A cheap 500GB hard drive could be purchased for under a hundred bucks. SD drives have a theoretical max capacity of 128MB at 20MB/s read/write. Also there is a limit to the number of read/write cycles, to about 10,000 worst case scenario.

That equates to about seven years till current flash technologies scale to the maximum. Then, prices will stabilize and become dirt cheap. Next, phase-change memory will take over and reign for a number of years. What follows may be a nano-crystal-bio architecture.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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