CARDSPEED - Card Readers and Memory Cards

Conditions of Use

This website is provided "as-is", no more, no less.

No questions about memory cards, no questions about card readers.
No firmware requests, no driver requests.


2011-11-08 - Renice Industrial Level CompactFlash
I just realized that I did not perform any CompactFlash tests for two years. No wonder that I had a hard time to find the devices, cables and adapters, remember the necessary test procedure steps and how to prepare the test results.

The reason was that I got the chance to test three different CompactFlash cards from  » Renice Technology . The benchmark results for direct read/write are available,

and the summary is added to the  UDMA CF Tests .

The results for the SLC cards of 96-98MB/s read and 91MB/s write are very impressive, and prove that at least the ExpressCard CF adapter is able to keep up with current UDMA-6 cards. More information how the other ways of accessing the cards behaved follows some time later...

2011-03-31 - Links to Special Pages
After a very long time, I finally managed to set up a page with links to various  Special Pages . The page is available through the section heading "Specials" in the menu. A few of the entries still have a menu entry below the heading, some had a menu entry once, and others were just linked from a news entry.

At the same time, I almost completed the  MS PRO-HG Cross-Comparison , the 8GB PRO-HG HX is currently in use, and the missing three test runs will be completed some time later...

2011-03-10 - Memory Stick PRO-HG Update
Some time ago, I got the SanDisk Ultra Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo 32GB for movie recording with my SONY DSC-TX7. Ultra is not exactly the speed type I would buy, but I knew that the SONY HX models are not that fast either. After the price dropped at least a little bit, I also got a SONY Memory Stick PRO-HG HX Duo 32GB. The read rate is almost as fast as with the SanDisk model, SONY 38.7MB/s versus SanDisk 40.2MB/s, but the write rate stays well behind the SanDisk model, SONY 18.8MB/s versus SanDisk 31.9MB/s. SONY seems to have moved the production to Korea, all previous models were labeled "Made in Japan", while the new card is labeled "Made in Korea", and the product code is "MS-HX32A//K".

The Benchmark results are now available for the  32GB SanDisk Ultra (SDMSPDH-032G)  and  32GB SONY PRO-HG HX (MS-HX32G) , and the  Memory Stick PRO-HG Page  is updated.
Regular test results can be seen on the  Memory Stick PRO-HG Cross-Comparison , where the  SONY MSAC-EX1  ExpressCard adapter is still the only reader that can make use of the full speed of the cards. In addition to the previous  SONY MSAC-UAH1  Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo reader, the  SONY MRW-F3  combines 8-bit PRO-HG and UHS SDHX/SDXC into one small USB 2.0 card reader stick - unfortunately with some compatibility issues among the UHS cards.

Why the current cards don't make use of the full speed of the Memory Stick PRO-HG standard, about 52MB/s real-world rate, remains a mystery. But if we ever happen to see 64GB Memory Stick XC-HG cards, transfer rates of at least 50MB/s would be appropriate.

2011-03-03 - SONY MRW-F3: MS PRO-HG and SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS USB 2.0 Card Reader Stick
The SONY MRW-F3 is a USB 2.0 single-slot Memory Stick PRO-HG and SDXC/SDHC/SD card reader stick with support for 8-bit Memory Stick PRO-HG / XC-HG and UHS-I SDHC / SDXC. It's a bit strange that SONY seems to be the first "big" company to release a card reader supporting the higher speed of UHS SD over USB 2.0. That's another step away from the own Memory Stick format towards the more popular SD card format.
The card reader uses a Realtek RTS5187 controller configured for Dual-LUN with the first drive for SD, the second drive for MS. Unfortunately, the controller does not detect the Panasonic UHS SDHC card. The Toshiba UHS SDXC works fine, and the transfer rate is at 33MB/s read, more or less the best you can get with USB 2.0 card readers. I can't tell much about the SanDisk UHS SDHC, because the card turned into a read only memory card. The data that can be read from the card does not give a hint about what went wrong. That's the huge downside of the move from MS towards SD: Less stability and reliabilty, more compatibility issues - more popular not necessarily means better!

 SONY MRW-F3 Test Results 

2011-02-23 - DeLock 61837 ExpressCard SDXC, Realtek RTS5209 Controller
Actually, I wanted to get a "retail" ExpressCard SDXC adapter in addition to my JMicron sample board. But it turned out that the DeLock 61837 Express/34 SDXC Adapter uses a different controller, the Realtek RTS5209. So much for the good news, the bad news is that the adapter does not recognize the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I 32GB card. Currently, the DeLock support has no other solution than suggesting to return the card to the dealer.

In the meantime, I created a special  UHS SDHC/SDXC  comparison page to show the difference between SD High Speed, UHS and the limited use of the SanDisk 30MB/s interface mode, that I will call "HS+" for better reference.

2011-02-16 - Panasonic GOLD UHS-I SDHC 8GB
To have a set of UHS cards from each of the "SD Group" members (Panasonic, SanDisk, Toshiba), I added the Panasonic GOLD UHS-I SDHC 8GB (RP-SDY-08G) to my test pool. The results from the  Direct Read/Write Tests  with the JMicron JMB389 based ExpressCard adapter showed 71.18MB/s (485x) read and 18.73MB/s (127x) write.

If I had carefully read all the text on the backside of the package first, the write rate would not have been such a bad surprise: The fine print already mentions a write rate of 18MB/s. However, the actual read rate of 71MB/s is almost 20% higher than claimed.

2011-02-12 - SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I 32GB
Only three weeks after the announcement, the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I 32GB (SDSDXP1-032G) is already available at retailers. I had to remove my first test results, because of a non-default setting in the driver, where the controller did not use the mode reported by the card. It looks like the card only reports UHS50 mode available, where the transfer rate is limited to the advertized 45MB/s 300X. The results from the  Direct Read/Write Tests  with the JMicron JMB389 based ExpressCard adapter at default settings showed 45.48MB/s (310x) read and 44.13MB/s (301x) write.
2011-02-07 - First Regular SDXC Test Result
The first regular test result with the  JMicron JMB389  and the integral/Toshiba SDXC is now available: 60.64MB/s read (413.9×) and 37.97MB/s write (259.2×). The write result is higher than announced, because there was too much CPU load during the pre-test. Compared to the direct write rate, this gives a write efficiency of 98.7% through the filesystem.
2011-02-05 - First SDXC Tests
The first 64GB UHS SDXC card to break the 200 Euro mark was the integral ultimaPRO SDXC 64GB (INSDXG64G10RU1). As special bonus, a very small Realtek based SDXC compliant USB 2.0 SD/microSD reader is included. The card turned out to be a Toshiba THNSU064G AA2BC.

The results from the  Direct Read/Write Tests  are already available. The card has an average read rate of 60.8MB/s and an average write rate of 38.4MB/s in binary calculation, where the write rate exceeds the advertized value by 10%.

The card comes pre-formatted with an exFAT filesystem of 128kB cluster size (256 sectors per cluster) and offers 59.8GB user space. The overhead for SD compliant partitioning and filesystem is 32.5MB. Please note that by default, exFAT uses only one FAT. Together with the large cluster size and the allocation bitmap, the actual average sustained write rate with filesystem involved is about 36MB/s, only slightly below the best rate.

Quick tests with current and older non-SDXC SDHC readers showed that many (maybe most) SDHC readers will mount the SDXC card. One of the checked readers mounted the media with 32GB less the actual size, i.e. the size modulo 32GB. Actually, non-SDXC readers should not mount the card, but it looks like the chaos lives on. I suggest that SD cards should be renamed to "NBT" cards, for "nothing but trouble"...

2011-01-21 - SD 3.0 seems to take up speed...
Now, two years after the announcement of SD 3.0 and UHS-I, the market finally seems to take up some speed. More and more UHS enabled cards hit the market, although many might be re-labeled Toshiba cards. So don't forget to visit the  SD 3.00 page  with the  Market Overview  from time to time.

2011-01-19 - SanDisk joins the UHS Club
SanDisk finally announced their first UHS cards, the  » SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC  series with 8GB (SDSDXP1-008G), 16GB (SDSDXP1-016G) and 32GB (SDSDXP1-032G) cards. The claimed transfer rate is 45MB/s read and write, only half the rate of the Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards. This could be due to the fact that they can only fit half as many flash modules inside the SD jacket.

At the same time, the  » SanDisk Extreme Pro ExpressCard 34 Adapter  (SDDR-300-RG56) with support for SDHC and SDXC UHS-I cards is announced. The adapter most likely uses the JMicron JMB389 controller, and seems to be the first retail product with UHS support.

2011-01-13 - The Need for Speed!
Lexar just announced the first 128GB SDXC card, but the interface seems to be "High Speed" only. This means that downloading a full card would take at least 90 minutes! More than one year after the launch of SD 3.00, there are still very few faster SD cards available. An actual speed of 22MB/s of currently 100MB/s possible, and the speed roadmap aiming at 600MB/s ist just ridiculous.

The situation with CompactFlash is completely different: Only one month after the announcement of CF 6.0 and UDMA-7, SanDisk announced the SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA-7 128GB CF card. This card could be downloaded in 22 minutes or less.

As a rule of thumb: If you want to copy a media in reasonable time, it should support at least 1MB/s per 1GB of size.

2010-12-13 - Card Pricing Information
It's time for another update regarding the card pricing.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards still keep their high price: 16GB at about 140 Euro, 32GB at about 240 Euro, and 64GB at about 460 Euro.
The are still no 128GB CF cards announced.
There was a significant price drop during the last four months, the current range for 64Gb SDXC is from 105 Euro to 360 Euro, but cards of decent speed are still at 300 Euro or more.
The 32GB Transcend Class 10 SDHC is at about 46 Euro, the lower end of the 64GB SDCX price range comes close to twice the 32GB price.
Memory Stick
Memory Stick PRO-HG are at about 120 Euro for the 32GB SanDisk Ultra and about 100 Euro for the 32GB SONY PRO-HG HX. The non-HG 32GB models are at about 90 Euro. There are still no 64GB Memory Stick XC announced. Together with the big price gap between SDHC and Memory Stick Pro-HG, the future of the Memory Stick standard does not look very bright.
2010-12-06 - CompactFlash 6.0 Summary
The CompactFlash Association continues to work on the previously abandoned CompactFlash standard. This time, the major update is an additional UDMA mode, increasing the theoretical data rate from 133M to 166M in decimal calculation. Based on these figures, a timing of 24ns is used. The new UDMA-7 mode allows a theoretical limit of 158.9MB/s in binary calculation, equivalent to 1085x.
2010-08-17 - Quick Update
I'm still trying to keep the most important pages up to date, but usually have no time to mention each update here.

2010-02-26 - CompactFlash 5.0 Summary
With CF 5.0, the CompactFlash Association finally included 48-bit LBA in their standard, to allow media sizes of more than 128GB. Another benefit is the increased transfer block size of up to 32MB. By including ATA Trim commands, CF cards could become fully featured SSDs. The Video Performance Guarantee with three targets of 10MB/s (HD), 20MB/s (Pro) and 75MB/s (4k) allows the use for true professional video applications.
Now there are only two faster transfer modes missing to keep CF cards future-proof.
2010-02-06 - SONY Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 - SONY goes SD
Yesterday I could pick up my SONY Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 that I pre-ordered right after the press release. The camera can work with Memory Stick Duo / PRO Duo / PRO-HG Duo, as well as SD/SDHC cards. There is definitely not enough room to use two separate slots, so I was curious to see how the dual media snap-in/snap-out slot would work. With MS Duo and SD cards having the pads at the same depth, this is tricky: The cards are inserted in opposite orientation, Memory Stick Duo with the pads towards the front side of the camera, SD cards with the pads towards the back of the camera. The wider SD cards release a guiding frame for MS Duo, pushing it towards the end of the slot. It looks like the extra space was taken from the battery space, so now I have three different T Series cameras (one of them retired) using three different batteries.
2010-01-20 - More Fast CompactFlash Card Series
In the meantime, most card and label manufacturers have new CompactFlash series with ratings from 400x to 675x. It will take some time to update the  List of Current UDMA CF .
Note: 888x would be the highest acceptable rating, the theoretical limit would be 868x with exact calculations. However, I would not trust any rating above 800x.
2010-01-18 - SDXC and SD 3.00
With the actual launch of SDXC and SD 3.00, the  SDXC / SD 3.00  page now replaces the former  SD Compatibility  menu item. The old page can still be reached through a link on the new page. Please note: Almost all pages can be reached within only one or two clicks from the menu!
2010-01-12 - Welcome to the Year 2010!
A short summary on upcoming things and events... Please note that I decided to spend more money in cameras and lenses, and less time and money in memory cards and card readers. But stay tuned, this will most likely remain the only place with reliable information and proper test results.
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Hans-Jürgen Reggel   ·   ·   2010-01-12 ~ 2011-11-08