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JMicron could be the solution

Secure Digital (SD) and Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) flash memory cards are commonly used in devices like digital cameras, laptop computers, and camcorders. Their high capacity and low cost can be attributed to die shrinks as the pace of semiconductor technology moves forward.

SD cards have a maximum capacity of 4GB, while SDHC cards can go up to 32GB. Although this may seem like an extreme size, high-definition camcorders and digital photography enthusiasts have been pushing for a new format with higher maximum capacities and faster transfer speeds.

The industry answered earlier this year at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show with the Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) format, which has a maximum theoretical capacity of 2TB and could eventually reach speeds as high as 300 MB/s.

Although there were many promises made, there aren't really any SDXC cards that you can buy. A large part of the problem is due to the old chicken and egg paradigm; no one wants to produce a large, expensive, niche product if there are no SDXC card readers that can support the new format.

The SDXC format allows for backwards compatibility, meaning that readers should be able to use older SDHC, SD, and MMC cards. Development work has been slow, and the big push for products supporting SDXC won't occur until next year. The first wave of products will show up at this year's CES.

Many of those products will integrate SDXC card readers made by JMicron through a PCIe bus. JMicron's SDHC readers are commonly used in the industry and integrated into laptops, mobile phones, and digital cameras.

JMicron is also working on a standalone card reader that will be pluggable into a USB 3.0 slot. The company states that "PCIe or USB 3.0 interfaces are needed to unleash the full potential" of SDXC cards. Ultimately, read and write speeds will be determined by the flash memory card manufacturer, just as it is for SDHC cards.



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RE: Need
By mcnabney on 11/24/2009 12:13:59 PM , Rating: 0
And they didn't, until applications came along that needed more.

My point was that general consumer demand doesn't exist for it yet. There was certainly a need for capacity higher than 4GB, especially for HD video. But you can get 2 hours on a 32GB card, which meets the need for swapable storage. If you need more capacity in a handycam, get a hard disk-based device and save a ton of money. How much do you think 64GB cards are going to cost?

I am sure this standard will appear, but it isn't getting any traction now because of pricing reasons. That is the same reason why you can't go out and buy a 52" OLED HDTV. It can be made, but the market won't buy it yet. I would also say that it isn't the standard that is being shunned, it is a product using the standard which the electronics market doesn't believe they can sell yet.


RE: Need
By nafhan on 11/24/2009 12:24:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
general consumer demand doesn't exist for it yet
And that's where you go wrong. The article itself specifically mentions professional level prodcuts. There are people who will pay for this. Consumer demand will come later, once prices come down and card readers become more common.
An inexpensive, backwards-compatible controller chip is going to go a long way towards bringing these to the consumer level.


RE: Need
By mcnabney on 11/24/2009 12:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
That niche market is already being met.

You must not use this technology because you are unaware of Compact Flash. SD is for consumers.

666x Compact flash transfers at 100MB/s
Compact flash support capacities up to 128GB

So the very-high-end professional market is already being met. SD is for consumers and that market is nowhere near this level of performance.


RE: Need
By nafhan on 11/24/2009 5:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm aware of CF. However, SD's physical form factor has advantages over CF, including size and lack of easily breakable pins in the device (I hate pins).
SDHC is already making headway into low end SLR's and - with higher speeds and capacities - it's likely that SDXC will continue the transition from CF to SD in the professional space.


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