Computer storage space has certainly evolved quite rapidly over the years. I remember having assignments and codes on 3.5” stiffy drives that could only hold 1.4MB and I used to think that a few of those was enough to keep me going through school (yes I’m old). Then USB drives came out when I was at University and that suddenly increased the storage potential, along with the speed of transfer and those disks now seemed grossly inadequate. Still, these drives came in small sizes of 32MB and 64MB and I thought that was cutting edge. Fast forward 20 years and we are now easily storing thousands of times more than that on storage cards only a fraction of the size.
SD cards have been a revolution in the storage market, allowing for massive amounts of data to be stored in a small card that makes it perfect for mobile and portable devices, offering plenty of opportunities for extra data to be stored there. They may not be as fast as SSD drives, but their size certainly makes them fantastic solutions to storing and transferring large amounts of data.
That speed problem though is about to go away as the SD Association, the group that sets the standards for memory cards, announced a new SD 8.0 specification for SD Express memory cards. These new specifications will allow the cards to transfer data at a rate of nearly four gigabytes per second, utilizing PCIe 4.0 and NVMe interfaces commonly found in solid-state drives.
Current SD cards are capable of speeds of up to 985 megabytes per second if you have the latest ones build to the 7.0 and 7.1 specifications. With these new specifications that speed will jump to an incredible 3938 megabytes per second, which is incredibly fast and could see SD cards competing with SSD drives for speed and massively improve performance on mobile devices, cameras and other devices that rely on them heavily. The new specifications won’t see any change in storage sizes though as this will likely still continue to improve and increase as they find ways to reduce storage even further.
As fantastic as this news is though, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing these speeds anytime soon, as it will take a fair amount of time for manufacturers to adopt them. Not only will the SD card manufacturers themselves need to create new cards that meet these specifications, but all devices that read the cards will need to also make changes to take advantages of them. Still, in a year or two most new devices should be adhering to these standards and make SD cards an even more viable form of storage for both size and speed.
Last Updated: May 21, 2020