Sony presents CFExpress memory cards that rival NVMe SSDs for highest read/write speeds
Memory cards are primed to get substantial upgrades this year, as the SD Association already announced the next-gen microSD standard that brings write speeds of around 1 GB/s, and now the CompactFlash Association ups the ante with the CFExpress 2.0 standard that relies on the NVMe PCIe interface to provide impressive performance.
Just like the current USB standard, the CFExpress 2.0 stipulates the existence of three types of cards. Type-A CFE cards would get double the current highest speeds, so around 1 GB/s maximum read speeds from 1 PCIe lane that goes through the NVMe 1.3 interface. Type-B cards would get access to 2 PCIe lanes and thus hit read speeds of around 1.7 GB/s and write speeds of almost 1.5 GB/s, meaning that it is close to what the average NVMe SSD can provide these days. Finally, Type-C cards are the Thunderbolt 3 of the new standard, gaining access to 4 PCIe lanes and pushing the theoretical speeds to around 4 GB/s.
It is important to note that the new CFExpress 2.0 cards will only be supported by professional cameras, so smartphones will still stick to the SD and UFS standards. Additionally, the new CFE cards could also find a use as external SSDs for compute clusters or enterprise servers.
Sony will be first to implement the new standard in its memory card lineup. The Japanese company is planning to release 128 GB Type-B CFE cards, but 256 GB and 512 GB capacities should also be “in the cards.” Moreover, the first professional DSLR to benefit from the new CFE 2.0 standard is the Nikon Z6, which will soon get a CFE firmware upgrade.
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