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SDXC cards will be available in capacities up to 2TB

The Secure Digital (SD) format has come a long way since its original inception. Originally conceived as an offshoot of the Multimedia Card (MMC) format, SD cards have matured over the years into the Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) versions that are prevalent today for capacities greater than 2GB.

Current SDHC cards are artificially limited to just 32GB, which means that a new standard is being ushered in to boost capacities into the stratosphere. As a result, the new Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) format was introduced today at CES. SDXC cards have a theoretical maximum capacity of 2TB and theoretical maximum read/write speeds of 300MB/sec.

The first SDXC cards will hit the market during the first quarter of 2009; however, these first generation cards will have a maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/sec.

"SDXC combines a higher capacity roadmap with faster transfer speeds as a means to exploit NAND flash memory technology as a compelling choice for portable memory storage and interoperability," said Gartner's Joseph Unsworth, research director, NAND Flash Semiconductors. "With industry support, SDXC presents manufacturers with the opportunity to kindle consumer demand for more advanced handset features and functionality in consumer electronics behind the ubiquitous SD interface."

"SDXC is a large-capacity card that can store more than 4,000 RAW images, which is the uncompressed mode professionals use, and 17,000 of the fine-mode most consumers use. That capacity, combined with the exFAT file system, increases movie recording time and reduces starting time to improve photo-capturing opportunities," said Canon General Manager Shigeto Kanda. "Improvements in interface speed allow further increases in continuous shooting speed and higher resolution movie recordings. As a memory card well suited to small-sized user-friendly digital cameras, the SDXC specification will help consumers realize the full potential of our cameras."

We should expect to first seeing SDXC cards from the usual suspects such as SanDisk, Lexar, and Kingston. SDXC will more than likely carry a hefty premium over current SDHC cards, but expect to see that price differential close with time.

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Transfer Rate
By inighthawki on 1/7/2009 12:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
The first SDXC cards will hit the market during the first quarter of 2009; however, these first generation cards will have a maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/sec.

Is it just me, or is the way this is worded make it sound like its "only" 104MB/s, ha. Anyway, that is REALLY fast, I'd like to see the price, maybe they could make one of those SD>SATA adapters for these cards, what a fast, and large, hard drive that would make. Quite portable too...

RE: Transfer Rate
By Brandon Hill on 1/7/2009 12:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking in comparison to the 300MB/sec theoretical speeds ;)

RE: Transfer Rate
By PrazVT on 1/7/2009 1:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly...I think the most I've seen on sustained disk to disk transfers have been 80-90MB/s on two (newer) 7.2k rpm SATA II drives. But I've seen 55MB/s copying from a 8GB sandisk Ultra SD card to the HDD - and that was weird since it was plugged into a usb 2.0 card reader. Considering these are used for storage if the real speed is anywhere close to 104MB/s then it's all good.

Ultimately either the HDD or the flash memory is going to be the bottleneck right?

RE: Transfer Rate
By foolsgambit11 on 1/7/2009 6:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing the first cards will not have anywhere near 2TB of storage space, either. Do they say what the initial sizes might be, or just speeds?

RE: Transfer Rate
By Shadowself on 1/7/2009 12:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
There are some camera systems on the drawing boards that have raw data rates of almost 40 GB per second. Memory bandwidths still have a long way to go to catch up before we can use "standard" commercial-off-the-shelf memory hardware. It's coming along, but we need a factor of more than 10 improvement.

RE: Transfer Rate
By Jimbo1234 on 1/7/2009 1:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
My new Canon Rebel XSi takes shots in RAW+JPEG at 3.5fps. RAW images are about 12MB, and the JPEGS about 4-5MB. So 16MB*3.5/s = 56MB/s. Yes, I use a class 6 card, but at 20 or 30MB/s it is still a bottleneck at some point unless I use just JPEG mode.

Now 40GB/s??? Yeah, that's insane.

RE: Transfer Rate
By strikeback03 on 1/7/2009 2:30:37 PM , Rating: 3
The reason you can only take a few images at that speed though is that the buffer fills up, and the camera cannot write to the card at the same speed it can shoot at. DPReview measured transfer rates of around 9MB/s. They also stated the maximum RAW+JPEG rate for their test sample was 2.5fps.

RE: Transfer Rate
By Jimbo1234 on 1/8/2009 1:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
Right, that was my point. The fastest cards today can easily bottleneck the camera.

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